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World Handicap System

World Handicap System on Track for 2020 Launch

Golf’s new World Handicap System, which is designed to bring the game of golf under a single set of Rules for handicapping and provide a more consistent measure of players’ ability between different regions of the world, remains on track for implementation starting in 2020.

The governing bodies of amateur golf in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales have now signed the licence for the new World Handicap System (WHS) which will come into operation on November 2, 2020.

As members of the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU), England Golf, the Golfing Union of Ireland, the Irish Ladies Golfing Union, Scottish Golf and Wales Golf have been driving forces in planning for the new system in alliance with The R&A and USGA.

The current Golf Handicapping System maintained by CONGU will be replaced by WHS which will unify the six different structures currently in operation throughout the world of golf.

With one single, global system in place for the first time, golfers will be able to obtain and maintain a handicap index and use this on any course around the world.

In addition they will be able to compete or simply play a casual round with fellow golfers anywhere on a fair and equal basis.

As well as encouraging players new to the sport to obtain a handicap with ease, the WHS will also modernise the game for those already well versed in the game of golf.

The new system will feature the following:

  • Flexibility in formats of play
  • A consistent handicap that is portable from course to course and country to country through worldwide use of the USGA Course and Slope Rating System, already successfully used in more than 80 countries
  • An average-based calculation of a handicap, taken from the best eight out of the last 20 scores
  • A calculation that considers the impact that abnormal course and weather conditions might have on a player’s performance each day
  • Daily handicap revisions, taking account of the course and weather conditions calculation
  • A maximum handicap limit of 54.0, regardless of gender, to encourage more golfers to measure and track their performance to increase their enjoyment of the game

Check out these educational videos, highlighting some of the changes coming with the 2020 system.

World Handicap System – An Introduction



Minimum number of holes to obtain a Handicap Index and Maximum Handicap Index of 54.0



Basis of calculation of Handicap Index



Acceptability of scores for handicap purposes



Course Rating and Slope Rating



Calculation of a Playing Handicap



Maximum hole score for handicap purposes

Educational Workshops

Wales Golf  completed a series of workshops in autumn 2018 on the 2020 World Handicap System. Every affiliated club in Wales had the opportunity to send representatives and will be using the information to go back and educate their membership on the key changes coming in to affect. If you want to view the presentation from the day please see the downloads section below for the presentation. (World Handicap System presentation is the 2nd section of presentation) For any questions please use the email address below.

For specific questions please use handicapping@walesgolf.org

For additional information please check out the downloads below

Downloads