World Handicap System

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Scroll down for an overview of the WHS

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Introduction

The World Handicap System is a modern handicap system for all golfers everywhere

The World Handicap System (WHS) will provide all golfers with a unified and more inclusive handicapping system for the first time.

Developed by The R&A and USGA, the WHS will provide all golfers with a consistent measure of playing ability, with handicaps calculated in the same way wherever they are in the world.

A key objective of the initiative was to develop a modern system, enabling as many golfers as possible to obtain and maintain a Handicap Index. Golfers will be able to transport their Handicap Index globally and compete or play a casual round with players from other regions on a fair basis.

It will also indicate the score a golfer is reasonably capable of achieving the next time they go out to play.

The system takes into account not only the player's ability but also the difficulty of the course and the conditions under which it is being played.

The WHS is planned to be up and running from November 2020 and the team at the Lodge is currently undertaking the necessary preparatory work to adopt it.

Check this space out regularly, look out for information around the club and of course updates and information will be sent directly to members.

(Scroll down to Section 6 for Definitions)

1. Course Rating & Slope Rating

Course Rating represents the difficulty of a golf course for a scratch golfer (0 Handicap Index), calculated to the nearest 0.1.

Slope Rating represents the relative difficulty of a course for a bogey golfer (20 to 24 Handicap Index) compared to a scratch golfer.

A course with long carries, narrow fairways, lots of hazards and thick rough will have a high slope rating because these features are more of a challenge to bogey golfers.

Slope Rating can be anywhere between 55 and 155. 113 is the neutral value that is used in handicap calculations. The GB&I average Slope Rating is 125.

You can look up the ratings for other courses anywhere in the World on the USGA course rating & slope database.

A golfer's handicap for a specific course is determined by multiplying their Handicap Index by the Slope Rating and dividing by 113, as described on the Course and Playing Handicaps page.

How Slope Ratings are calculated

MEN

A male scratch golfer is defined as someone who hits the ball about 250 yards with a driver and 230 yards with a fairway wood. The course assessors calculate what a male scratch golfer should average on the course.

A male bogey golfer is defined as a typical 20 handicapper who hits the ball about 200 yards with a driver and 170 yards with a fairway wood.

Subtracting the Scratch Rating from the Bogey Rating and multiplying by a Constant of 5.381 gives the Slope Rating

WOMEN

A female scratch golfer is defined as someone who hits the ball about 210 yards with a driver and 170 yards with a fairway wood.

A female bogey golfer is defined as a typical 24 handicapper who hits the ball about 150 yards with a driver and 130 yards with a fairway wood.

Subtracting the scratch rating from the bogey rating and multiplying by a Constant of 4.240 gives the Slope Rating.

(Scroll down to Section 6 for Definitions)

2. Acceptable Scores for Handicap Purposes

All 9 hole and 18 hole Singles Competition Rounds in Authorised Formats must be submitted for handicap purposes, subject to the competition being played to the Rules of Golf and over the measured length of the course.

Scores from team competitions and match play will not be acceptable initially, although this may change based on feedback from other jurisdictions that include those formats

Pre-registration
Players are required to register their intention to submit a score from general (non-competition) play before commencing the round

Scores submitted from general play are called Social Scores and are similar to the current Supplementary Scores

Minimum Number of Holes.

Scores may be submitted over 9 holes or 18 holes.

All 9 holes must be played to submit a 9 hole score. It is anticipated that two 9 holes scores will be combined to produce one 18 hole score on the Scoring Record (awaiting clarification from CONGU).

An 18 hole score will count as long as 10 or more holes have been completed. Holes not played are recorded as Net Par or (Net Par + 1), depending on the number not played.

Adjusted Gross Score.

For handicap purposes a big score on any hole is reduced to Net Double Bogey, using the player's Course Handicap. Holes started, but not completed are also recorded as Net Double Bogey.

Score Differential
The Adjusted Gross Scores is compared with the Course Rating and is "de-sloped" to give the Score Differential for the round, which is added to the player's Scoring Record

Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC)

Determines if course and weather conditions on the day differed from normal to the extent that they significantly impacted players’ performance.

Calculated using all scores submitted on the course that day, as long as 8 or more golfers with a Handicap Index of less than 36 and a fully developed Scoring Record played.

It is conservative in nature and can increase the Adjusted Gross Score by 1 in easy conditions or decrease it by 1, 2 or 3 in difficult conditions

9 Hole Scores

A 9 hole Score Differential is calculated as = [ 113 / 9 hole Slope Rating ] x [ 9 hole Adjusted Gross Score - 9 hole Course Rating - (0.5 x PCC) ]

(Scroll down to Section 6 for Definitions)

3. Handicap Index

Handicap Index is a measure of a player's demonstrated ability calculated against the Slope Rating of a golf course of standard playing difficulty

It represents a golfer's playing handicap on a course with a Neutral Slope Rating of 113

It is calculated as a rolling average of the lowest 8 from the last 20 Score Differentials

Each time a new score is submitted the average of the lowest 8 from the last 20 is re-calculated, which may or may not lead to a change of Handicap Index

There are additional safeguards to ensure that a player's handicap does not rise too quickly when a player is going through a spell of poor form.

Low Handicap Index (LHI)
A player's lowest Handicap Index during the last 12 months is used as an Anchor Point to limit increases in Handicap Index

Soft CAP: Potential increases of Handicap Index to a figure greater than (LHI + 3) are limited by half the amount over three, e.g. 5 is limited to 4, 6 is limited to 4.5, etc.

Hard CAP: The maximum that the Handicap Index can increase to is (LHI + 5).

Exceptional Scores:
• An adjustment to the Handicap Index after a very low score has been posted
• A reduction of -1 for scores between 7 and 9 below Handicap Index
• A reduction of -2 for scores 10 or more below Handicap Index
• The reduction is applied to the last 20 scores on the Scoring Record and drops off gradually over the next 20 rounds.

New Handicaps
A New Player's Handicap Index is initially allocated at 2 less than the best of the Adjusted Gross Scores from 3 x 18 hole cards submitted. Cards can be submitted as 6 x 9 holes or some other combination. Subsequent Handicap Index calculations change as more scores are entered:
• 3 scores: lowest score -2
• 4 scores: lowest score -1
• 5 scores: lowest score
• 6 scores: average of lowest 2 scores -1
• 7 to 8 scores: average of lowest 2 scores
• 9 to 11 scores: average of lowest 3 scores
• 12 to 14 scores: average of lowest 4 scores
• 15 to 16 scores: average of lowest 5 scores
• 17 to 18 scores: average of lowest 6 scores
• 19 scores: average of lowest 7 scores
• 20 scores: average of lowest 8

Transition Handicaps
Player's that already have a current CONGU Handicap will be allocated an initial Handicap Index when the new system comes into effect as described on the Transition Handicaps page.

(Scroll down to Section 6 for Definitions)

4. Course and Playing Handicaps

Course Handicap

Course Handicap is the number of handicap strokes a player receives before Handicap Allowances, on a specific course and from a specific set of tees, as determined by the Slope Rating

There will be tables on display where you can look up your Course Handicap

It is Course Handicap that is used to determine Net Par and Net Double Bogey adjustments in calculating Adjusted Gross Scores and in assessing scores for Unplayed Holes.

A player's Course Handicap is determined by multiplying their Handicap Index by the Slope Rating and dividing by the neutral Slope Rating of 113.
Handicap Allowance

Handicap Allowance is the percentage of Course Handicap specified for a particular format of play and/or specified in the
Terms of the Competition

Playing Handicap
Playing Handicap is the Course Handicap adjusted for any Handicap Allowance. It represents the actual number of strokes the player gives or receives for the round being played. The calculation uses the exact Course Handicap (nearest 0.1). This will change to use the rounded Course Handicap (nearest 1).

It is Playing Handicap that is used to determine Competition Results.

The Process

Before starting a round of golf the player must register their intention to enter a Competition or submit a Social Score and establish their Course Handicap and Playing Handicap for the particular set of tees being used.

Scores must be submitted as soon as possible after the round and before midnight on the day of playing, which is when their Handicap index will be re-calculated

9 Hole Handicaps

When submitting a 9 hole score:
9 hole Course Handicap = [ Handicap Index / 2 ] x [ 9 hole Slope Rating / 113 ] + [ 9 hole Course Rating - 9 hole Par ] (to be confirmed)

9 hole Playing Handicap = [ 9 hole Course Handicap ] x [ Handicap Allowance ]

(Scroll down to Section 6 for Definitions)

5. Transition Handicaps

In order to move from CONGU to WHS handicaps, all players' current Handicap Records will be reprocessed using the WHS principles. The calculation will identify the best 8 of the last 20 Qualifying Scores, if posted since January 2018, and factor in:

* The adjusted Gross Score (Score Differential)
* The Course Rating (or SSS)
* Any PCC (or CSS) adjustments
* The Slope Rating of the tees played

If a player has submitted less than 20 scores in the last 2 years, the calculation will be done in a similar manner to the method of allocating new handicaps, as shown below.
Players will be able to see their expected Transition Handicap and their Low Handicap Index (Anchor Point) at the PSI screen when the handicapping software is updated around October 2020.

Players are encouraged to submit plenty of scores between now and November 2020 so that their Transition Handicap Index is a good reflection of current playing ability. 9 hole scores are acceptable and clubs are encouraged to run 9 hole competitions to help with this.

If less than 20 Qualifying Scores posted in the last 2 years

* 3 scores: lowest score -2
* 4 scores: lowest score -1
* 5 scores: lowest score
* 6 scores: average of lowest 2 scores -1
* 7 to 8 scores: average of lowest 2 scores
* 9 to 11 scores: average of lowest 3 scores
* 12 to 14 scores: average of lowest 4 scores
* 15 to 16 scores: average of lowest 5 scores
* 17 to 18 scores: average of lowest 6 scores
* 19 scores: average of lowest 7 scores
* 20 scores: average of lowest 8 scores


No Scores
If a player has no Qualifying Scores posted in the last 2 years, the Transition Handicap will be calculated on the basis of the 3 lowest scores being equal to their current playing handicap. So a player with a 20 handicap will have scores of 20, 20 and 20 on their Scoring Record and their handicap at Transition will be (20 - 2) = 18.

So there's an incentive to get at least 3 Qualifying Scores in by November!

(Scroll down to Section 6 for Definitions)

6. Definitions

Acceptable Score
A score from an authorised format of play which meets all the provisions set out within the Rules of Handicapping.

Adjusted Gross Score
A player’s gross score, including any penalty strokes, adjusted when:
• The player exceeds their maximum hole score,
• A hole is not played, or
• A hole is started but the player does not hole out.

Authorised Format of Play
A format of play eligible for handicap purposes, as determined by the Authorised Association where the round is played.

Bogey Player
A player with a Handicap Index of approximately 20.0 for men and approximately 24.0 for women.

Cap
The procedure that reduces or limits the amount by which a player’s Handicap Index can increase when measured against the player’s Low Handicap Index.

Course Handicap
The number of handicap strokes a player receives, before handicap allowances, from a specific set of tees as determined by the Slope Rating.

Course Rating
An indication of the difficulty of a golf course for the scratch player under normal course and weather conditions.

Exceptional Score
A Score Differential which is at least 7.0 strokes better than the player’s Handicap Index at the time the round was played.

General Play
When an organised competition is not being contested and golfers are playing:
• A casual round; or
• Competitively, but not in an event organized by a Committee.

Handicap Allowance
The percentage of a Course Handicap recommended creating equity for all players participating in a specific format of play.

Handicap Index
The measure of a player’s demonstrated ability calculated against the Slope Rating of a golf course of standard playing difficulty (Slope Rating 113)

Low Handicap Index
The lowest Handicap Index achieved by a player during the 365 day period preceding the day on which the most recent score in their scoring record was played.

Net Double Bogey
A score equal to the par of a hole plus two strokes and adjusted for any handicap strokes applied on that hole. A net double bogey is a player’s maximum hole score for handicap purposes.

Net Par
A score equal to the par of a hole adjusted for any handicap strokes applied on that hole.

Par
The score that a scratch player would generally be expected to achieve on a hole under normal course and weather conditions, allowing for two strokes on the putting green.

Penalty Score
A score posted at the discretion of the Handicap Committee for a player who does not submit an acceptable score when required.

Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC)
The statistical calculation that determines if conditions on a day of play differed from normal playing conditions to the extent that they significantly impacted players’ performance.

Playing Handicap
The Course Handicap adjusted for any handicap allowances or Terms of the Competition. It represents the actual number of strokes the player gives or receives for the round being played.

Score Differential
The difference between a player’s Adjusted Gross Score and the Course Rating, reflecting the Slope Rating and the Playing Conditions Calculation. It is the numerical value attributed to a score achieved on a golf course on a specific day that is posted into the player’s scoring record. A Score Differential must be an 18 hole value or its calculated equivalent.

Scoring Record
A history of a player’s acceptable scores along with:
• The player’s current Handicap Index,
• The player’s Low Handicap Index,
• Other details about each round (such as, the date the round was played), and
• Any applicable adjustments (for example, an exceptional score).

Scratch Player
A player with a Handicap Index of 0.0.

Slope Rating
An indication of the relative difficulty of a golf course for players who are not scratch players compared to players who are scratch players.

Stroke Index
The value assigned to each hole on a golf course to indicate where handicap strokes are given based on assessed difficulty.