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How to use your handicap in general play and competitions

World Handicap System

The World Handicap System launched in England on 2 November 2020. It is designed to welcome more players, to make golf easier to understand and to give all golfers a handicap which is portable all around the globe.

On this page you can find help on understanding the new handicap system including how to find course and slope ratings and how to calculate your handicap for social and competitive rounds.

Course handicap data

Course and Slope Ratings

Golfers can find a full list of course and slope ratings using The R&A’s Course Rating and Slope Database.

Course Rating and Slope Database

Course Handicap Calculator

Want to calculate your course handicap ahead of your next round? You can do so simply by using the My England Golf App which you can download onto your mobile device via Apple or Android stores.

To calculate your Course Handicap for a social round you need just one calculation:

Handicap Index x (Slope Rating/113) = Course Handicap

You can find out more about how your handicap is calculated with the WHS Golfer Toolkit.

Find out more about the benefits of the My England Golf App here.

Apply for a new course rating

If you’re looking to update your club’s ratings due to planned course changes you can find the resources available to download on our WHS Club Resource page.

Social and General Play Scores

The World Handicap System now allows golfers to register scores for handicapping purposes during a general play round. Acceptable scores include those played with friends, colleagues and in societies. You can now submit social scores directly via the My England Golf App.

How do I submit a social score?

To post a general play score from any venue, a golfer is required to:

  1. Pre-register the round with the host club.
    This can be done on the My England Golf App, via the club’s own computer software or by simply telling the Pro/Club Manager of an intention to submit a score
  2. Play and enjoy the round in accordance with the Rules of Golf
  3. Enter the score using the My England Golf App or ask the host club to enter the score on your behalf either onto the WHS platform or their club software

Members can enter social scores directly via the app by clicking on the ‘Enter Score’ function at the foot of the dashboard screen and following the step-by-step instructions.

Please note, when using the MyEG app to submit a social score the following details will be active In order to protect the integrity of the handicap system:

  • Geo-location technology will ensure pre-registering the intent to post a score can only be done in close proximity to the course where the round will take place
  • A time lag will be in operation from the point where intent to play a round is registered to the stage when a score can be accepted
  • A golfer’s final score must be verified by a playing partner who has witnesses the round and is registered with the MyEG app for verification purposes.

How do I submit an away score?

A golfer should follow the same steps as above for submitting a score at an away venue.

If the host club at an ‘away’ venue cannot enter the score, the player should return the card to their home club as soon as possible for them to enter into the WHS Platform.

Submitting 9-hole scores

To add a social 9-hole score to your record you will need to pre-register the intention to post a 9-hole round before teeing off. If you set off for 18 holes, but fail to finish you must play at least 10 holes for that score to count towards handicapping.

Once you’ve finished a pre-declared 9-hole round the club can accept the card and input the scores for you, or if registered on the club computer, it should anticipate your entry of a 9-hole score yourself.

Competitive and Competition Handicaps

The Course Handicap converts to a Playing Handicap for competition purposes and changes depending on the format of play. The most important aspects of Playing Handicap to remember are:

  • It is only used for competition purposes
  • It ensures equity to calculate competition results
  • Golfers do not need to calculate it
  • It is a mandatory stroke allowance that must be implemented in competition play

To calculate your Playing Handicap for a competitive round you need just one calculation:

Course Handicap x Handicap Allowance = Playing Handicap

You can find out more about how your handicap is calculated with the WHS Golfer Toolkit.

How do I submit a competitive score?

The method for submitting scores within a competition remains the same as before. Golfers should provide their marked scorecards to the competition’s organising committee/host club who should collect and input all scores in line with the competition’s entry conditions.

Playing Handicap Allowances Table

You can find the mandatory handicap allowances for all competition formats using the playing handicap allowances table link below. This table includes the following competitions:

  • Stableford
  • Individual Par/Bogey (and best of 1/2/3/4 Par/Bogey)
  • Individual Maximum score
  • Fourballs
  • Foursomes
  • Greensomes
  • Pinehurst/Chapman
  • Scramble/Texas Scramble

Playing Handicap Allowances Table


World Handicap System Member FAQs

As part of the launch of the World Handicap System we developed a frequently asked questions document for members to help understand how the new system works. This can be used in conjunction with the golfer toolkit, and contains answers to general questions on the WHS, your handicap index and how it works and competition and general play:

World Handicap System Member FAQs

Useful player resources

If you want to understand better how your handicap is calculated under the World Handicap System you can find full details in the WHS Golfer Toolkit and the Rules of Handicapping Player Reference Guide which you provide you all you need to know:

WHS Golfer Toolkit

Rules of Handicapping Player Reference Guide


Preferred Lies

Details of the current Preferred Lies period can be found below. This includes updated wording for the long form (used by clubs on noticeboards and signage) and the short form (suitable for scorecards):

Preferred Lies