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A universal system for handicapping launching 2020

World Handicap System (WHS)

The World Handicap System is expected to launch in 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.

It will replace the six different systems currently used by over 15 million golfers in more than 80 countries.

It has been developed by The R&A and The United States Golf Association (USGA), supported by the world’s handicapping authorities, including CONGU, which represents the four home countries of Great Britain and Ireland.

To make the game more enjoyable, the new system will include:

  • Course rating and slope rating
  • Minimum number of scores to obtain a handicap
  • Competitive and recreational scores to count for handicap
  • Handicaps will be calculated from an average of recent scores
  • Maximum handicap of 54
  • Abnormal course and weather conditions adjustments

Progress so far

An international committee, led by The USGA and The R&A, with representatives from each handicap authority, Japan Golf Association and Golf Canada, is working hard to finalise the global system.

The committee has listened to feedback from golfers, administrators and golfing facilities.

Spreading the word

We’re telling people about the new system and spreading awareness within the golfing community.

This includes preparing resources for players.

Preparing for the launch

In GB&I, England Golf and the other Home Unions are working together to create a new Central Database of Handicaps (CDH), with a WHS computation calculator.

During 2019, we’ll also focus on training players and clubs. We’ll share helpful resources to help you get to grips with the new system. Meanwhile, testing and validation will continue.

Launch of universal handicapping system

When the new system is launched in 2020 it will be easy to use across cultures and will mean:

  • Golfers can compete or play with anyone on a fair and equal basis
  • The game has a single measure to represent golf ability worldwide
  • Players will have consistent handicaps within a global golfing community

“We are working with our partners and national associations to make golf more modern, more accessible and more enjoyable as a sport.” – Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A.