UK date confirmed for World Handicap System roll out

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The governing bodies of amateur golf in the UK have confirmed that the new World Handicap System will be implemented on November 2, 2020

The governing bodies of amateur golf in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales have announced that they have signed the licence for the new World Handicap System, which will come into operation on November 2, 2020.

The current Golf Handicapping System maintained by CONGU will be replaced by WHS, which will unify the six different structures presently in operation throughout the world of golf.

With one single, global system in place for the first time, golfers will be able to obtain and maintain a handicap index and use this on any course around the world.

Under the new system a player’s handicap will be based on the average of eight best scores from their last 20 rounds. 

“We believe the introduction of the new World Handicap System will have a hugely positive impact for golf around the globe,” said England Golf CEO Nick Pink.

“Our team are working hard to deliver the transition from the current system to WHS and will continue to confer with the clubs, counties and our technology partners to ensure that everything runs to plan ahead of the start date.”

What will the new World Handicap System means for you?

◆ The maximum handicap limit is 54.0, regardless of gender.

◆ Your handicap will be average-based from the best eight of the last 20 scores. England Golf report that the handicap index of most players will be within one stroke of their current CONGU handicap.

◆ A player will need to be a member of a club and return 54 holes worth of scores to be allocated an initial Handicap Index. Any combination is acceptable over nine or 18 holes.

◆ If a player has an existing handicap record, that will be used to generate their first handicap index.

◆ Once a player is allocated an index based on 54 holes, the system will start to build the record based on an adjusted average, relative to the number of scores that have been submitted.

◆ As long as you retain membership of an affiliated golf club designated to manage and maintain your handicap, your handicap will remain valid.

◆ To maintain an accurate handicap, it is recommended that players should return at least 20 scores over a two-year period.

◆ All singles competition scores must be submitted, but you will have the choice to submit social/recreational rounds as well. All scores will have to be pre-registered.

◆ A maximum hole score of nett double bogey (for handicapping purposes only) will remain in place.

◆ If a player pre-registers a round but fails to return their card, the score will be classed as a No Return (NR). However should the score be known, it will be posted by the Committee. If unknown, the Committee has discretion to apply a penalty score if the NR was for the purposes of manipulating a handicap.

◆ Your handicap will change depending on the course’s slope rating. This will indicate the difficulty of a golf course for the ‘bogey’ golfer relative to the scratch player.

◆ If you are playing a harder course (determined by slope rating), you may get extra shots, and if playing an easier course, get less.

◆ Each set of tees will have a course rating and slope rating. These will be displayed at the club, either in the pro shop or by the first tee/starter’s box. It will also be available on the England Golf website.

◆ Handicaps will be adjusted at the end of each day, using a Course Conditions Adjustment (similar to CSS). This will look at how players have performed compared to their expected performance on that golf course.

◆ An annual handicap review will still apply.

Click here for our full guide to what the World Handicap System means for you