The World Handicap System (WHS) is ready to be launched from January 2020 and will provide golfers with a unified and more inclusive handicapping system for the first time.  Though many countries are planning to adopt the new system in January, the system will go live in other parts of the world throughout the year to accommodate different implementation plans and variations in the golfing calendar.  The UK will adopt the WHS towards the end of 2020.

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 key features of the WHS are:

  • Flexibility in formats of play, allowing both competitive and recreational rounds to count for handicap purposes and ensuring that a Handicap Index reflects demonstrated ability.
  • A minimal number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap; with the number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap being 54 holes from any combination of 18-hole and 9-hole rounds (with some discretion available for national or regional associations).
  • An average-based calculation of a handicap, taken from the best eight out of the last 20 scores and factoring in memory of demonstrated ability for better responsiveness/control.
  • A calculation that considers the impact that abnormal course and weather conditions might have on a player’s performance each day.
  • Timely handicap revisions.
  • A limit of Net Double Bogey on the maximum hole score (for handicapping purposes only).
  • 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.

To learn more about the World Handicap System please visit WHS.com.

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