World Handicap System

England Golf welcomes world handicap plan

England Golf has welcomed plans unveiled today to develop a single World Handicap System for the sport.

The USGA and The R&A have announced they are working with golf’s handicapping authorities to develop a universal system which will apply all over the world. Firm proposals will be made later this year.

Currently there are six different systems around the world, providing handicaps for over 15 million golfers in more than 80 countries. Handicaps reflect a player's skill and mean golfers of different abilities can play and compete together on equal terms.

England Golf Chief Executive Nick Pink said:  "We are delighted by today's announcement and fully support this plan, which recognises that golf is a global game. Simplifying the system is very good news for golfers and will increase their enjoyment in the sport and, hopefully, encourage many more players to get a handicap and play regularly."

The announcement follows an extensive review of existing handicap systems administered by Golf Australia, the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) in Great Britain and Ireland, the European Golf Association (EGA), the South African Golf Association (SAGA), the Argentine Golf Association (AAG) and the United States Golf Association (USGA).

Golf organisations from different parts of the world have also been engaged with the current handicap authorities for the past two years to help shape the proposed system, which takes into account the many different golf cultures and most common formats of play. Research conducted to date has also reviewed systems and best practices inherent to handicapping, such as course rating and administration.

A joint committee led by the USGA and The R&A has been formed, including representatives from each handicap authority as well as the Japan Golf Association and Golf Canada. The joint committee plans to announce its proposals later this year.

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “We have been concerned for some time that many golfers find the handicapping landscape to be complicated and can be frustrated when it is not always applied in the same way in different parts of the world.

“We are working closely with the existing handicapping bodies to benefit from their insights as we try to formulate a system that will be easy to understand and can be applied consistently on a global basis. We very much appreciate their support for this initiative.”

Mike Davis, Executive Director and CEO of the USGA, said, “One wonderful aspect of golf that separates it from other sports is the ability of players of differing abilities to play on an equitable basis through handicapping. With one global system, golf courses will be rated and handicaps calculated in a like manner everywhere in the world. Reducing borders or barriers to provide an easy way for all to play together is great for the game and golfers everywhere.”

Bob Carrick, Acting Chairman of CONGU, said: “The Council of National Golf Unions welcomes the R&A/USGA’s initiative to develop a single Worldwide Handicapping System for the sport. We think that this is an exciting opportunity for standardising the system and for more players to obtain an official handicap. We will be delighted to work closely with other handicap authorities to ensure a smooth implementation.”

 
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