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 Handicap Calculator
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.
How do I submit a score?
To post a general play score from any venue, a golfer is required to:
- Pre-register the round with the host club. This can be done via the club’s own computer software or by simply telling the Pro/Club Manager of an intention to submit a score
- Play and enjoy the round in accordance with the Rules of Golf
- Ask the host club to enter the score on your behalf either onto the WHS platform or their club software
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 (for whatever reason) 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
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:
- Individual Par/Bogey (and best of 1/2/3/4 Par/Bogey)
- Individual Maximum score
- Scramble/Texas Scramble
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:
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:
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):