The R&A and USGA unveil plans for a universal handicap system


There are currently six different handicap systems in the world, with 15 million golfers across the globe possessing a handicap.

The aim of the new system is to make your handicap applicable wherever you are the world, a move that will be heralded by travellers of the game.

A review into the six handicap systems, including Golf Australia and the European Golf Association has been undertaken.

The process has been ongoing for the last two years, with authorities discussing the different formats and golf cultures used by golfers all over the globe, from Sydney right across to Seattle.   

Research into the best practices with regards to handicapping has also been conducted, with key areas such as course rating and administration reviewed.

The 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 opportunity for 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 consistent manner everywhere in the world. Removing borders to provide an easy way for all to play together is great for the game and golfers everywhere.”