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World Handicap System

Golfer Education Hub

What is the World Handicap System?

The new World Handicap System (WHS) is designed to be more inclusive, accessible and to make golf easier to understand for all.

The WHS incorporates the Rules of Handicapping and the Course Rating System, (a consistent method to calculate a golf courses difficulty), to successfully determine a golfer’s Handicap Index.

The system, which comes into effect on 2 November 2020 will replace the six different systems currently used by over 15 million golfers, in more than 80 countries, to unify all golfers across the world.

This video explains the key changes for you and we will go into more detail on some of the changes below:

World Handicap System – what’s changed?

Your Handicap Index – what’s new?

  1. Put simply, your Handicap Index is calculated from your best eight scores from your last 20. With this being an average it is a much fairer calculation. You will no longer go up by 0.1 for not scoring in your buffer zone.
  2. Your Handicap Index can then be used to work out your Course Handicap, which means your Handicap will change to reflect the difficulty of the course and the set of tees you elect to play. Every golf club will have a chart available so you can quickly and easily work out your Course Handicap.
  3. Then just go out and play like you have always done. The WHS doesn’t change the way you play the game, it just makes taking score and measuring your ability fairer and more simple to understand.

Learn more about your Handicap Index

What is a Course Handicap?

For your Handicap Index to be effective and portable across different courses, it must be converted into a Course Handicap to determine the number of strokes you receive for the golf course or tee set that you are playing that day.

You will even be able to convert your Handicap Index to a course handicap for the tees you elect to play from when golfing overseas. If pre-registered, these scores can also be returned to your home club for handicap purposes.

How to calculate your Course Handicap

Submitting scores

Again, nothing will change when playing your game. When you have finished your round, complete your scorecard and this can be entered into the system your club has chosen for the submission of scores.

Recreational rounds

From 2 November 2020, you will now be able to return recreational rounds for handicap purposes by pre-registering your round as an acceptable score before you go out and play. If you are playing at a course other than your home club then you can still pre-register your score.

It's your choice...

You don't have to return a score every time you play golf. Unless you have pre-registered or are playing in a competition, you are not required to return your scorecard. The accuracy of your Handicap Index will be improved with every scorecard you submit.

Tracking your Handicap Index

Your Handicap Index will be calculated each night after you have returned a score that is acceptable for handicapping purposes. Any changes to your Handicap Index will be posted on your record from midnight of the day that you played or shortly after.

From 2 November 2020, you will be able to access your Handicap through the England Golf WHS Platform.  If you already have an England Golf account then we will invite you to register on the new WHS Platform when it is available.

If you don’t have an England Golf account already, register below for free.

Activate your Account

Videos: Key features of the WHS

The key features of the system are explained in a video series which you can access below. Explore everything from Course and Slope Rating to Acceptable Scores in each bite-size clip.

Got a question?

Your club has been trained on the World Handicap System and can answer your questions and soon they will be receiving resources to help educate you further on the World Handicap System. Look out for for further education appearing at your club soon.