Update to Members from the match Committee on the New World Handicapping System

New World Handicapping System November 2020

World Handicap System

The World Handicap System will roll out across Great Britain and Ireland on November 2, 2020. It replaces the CONGU system we are currently using. The reason for this change is that, although the game of golf is the same all over the world (same rules etc), there are currently SIX different handicapping systems! These are all going to change to one system - WHS.

The stated aims of the R&A and USGA is to produce a unified handicap system that:

  • enables golfers of different abilities to play and compete on a fair and equal basis, in any format, on any course, anywhere around the world;
  • will be easy to understand and implement, without sacrificing accuracy
  • meets the varied needs and expectations of golfers, golf clubs and golf authorities all around the world and be adaptable to suit all golfing cultures.

The notes on the following pages are deliberately brief and are designed to give you the basic facts about WHS. If you need more detail then watch this video:


Or please refer to this written information provided by Wales Golf:


Course and Slope Ratings

A major change will be the introduction of course and slope ratings to replace standard scratch score (SSS).

Course Rating represents the difficulty of a golf course for a scratch golfer.

Baron Hill’s Course Ratings are:

  • White tees 67.4
  • Yellow tees 65.8
  • Red tees 70.0

Slope Rating represents the relative difficulty of a course for a bogey golfer (20 handicap) compared to a scratch golfer (0 handicap).

A hard course (long holes, narrow fairways, thick rough etc.) will have a high slope rating because these features are more of a challenge to bogey golfers compared to scratch golfers. Slope Rating can be anywhere between 55 and 155. 113 is the neutral value that is used in handicap calculations. The GB&I average Slope Rating is 125.

Baron Hill’s Slope Ratings are:

  • White tees 125
  • Yellow tees 111
  • Red tees 114

Handicap Index

Your current handicap will be replaced by a handicap index. PLEASE NOTE YOU USE THE HANDICAP INDEX IN A DIFFERENT WAY TO YOUR CURRENT HANDICAP AS EXPLAINED BELOW. The two most important things for the player to know in the World Handicap System are:

  1. How to use your handicap index
  2. How your handicap Index is calculated

Using Your Handicap Index. Every golf club will display a course handicap table usually near to the first tee. Our Table is attached.

You use this table to determine how many shots you receive playing that course from a particular set of tees. So, for example, let us say your handicap index is 13.6 and you intend to play the white tees at Baron Hill GC. You find your handicap index in the left hand column of the white tee section and read the corresponding course handicap from the right column. In this case it is 15. So you would receive 15 shots if you play off the white tees. If you were playing the yellow tees instead you do the same thing and see that you would receive 13 shots. The big change with this system is that it ensures you get more shots on harder golf courses. Each golf course will have a different table depending on that golf courses’ slope and course rating. So it is vital that you always look at the table on each particular golf course to ensure you know how many shots you receive on that day.

If you are a maths genius you can do it yourself as follows:

Course Handicap = Handicap Index X (slope rating/113) and round the result up or down to the nearest whole number.

Just as now, depending on the competition rules, the course handicap allowance may be reduced by a particular percentage (in Texas scrambles for instance).

All courses will still have stroke indexes for each hole just as now, so that you know where you get your strokes in a stableford for example.

Your handicap Index is calculated as a rolling average of the lowest 8 from your last 20 handicap qualifying scores adjusted for the course rating, slope rating and playing conditions (Don’t worry the clubs software does all the calculations). Each time a new score is submitted the average of the lowest 8 from the last 20 is re-calculated, which may or may not lead to a change of Handicap Index. I would guess Handicap Index will change more significantly than is currently the case with our present system so you need to keep checking your handicap index on a regular basis. In November Wales Golf will look at your handicap qualifying scores for the last 24 months to try and find 20 scores. If you do not have 20 handicap qualifying scores then your handicap index will be calculated as follows:

  • 3 scores: lowest score -2
  • 4 scores: lowest score -1
  • 5 scores: lowest score
  • 6 scores: average of lowest 2 scores -1
  • 7 to 8 scores: average of lowest 2 scores
  • 9 to 11 scores: average of lowest 3 scores
  • 12 to 14 scores: average of lowest 4 scores
  • 15 to 16 scores: average of lowest 5 scores
  • 17 to 18 scores: average of lowest 6 scores
  • 19 scores: average of lowest 7 scores

There are safeguards to ensure your handicap index does not fluctuate wildly because of a run of exceptionally bad or good form.

To gain an initial handicap index a player still needs to submit scores from 54 holes.

The maximum handicap index is 54. That is because the WHS is designed to be inclusive of all golfers regardless of age, gender or ability. Terms of competition are still set by the competition committees which for Sundays currently means you receive only 28 shots even if your handicap index suggests you should receive more.

Acceptable scores

This will remain the same; e.g. any single medal or stableford score over 9 or 18 holes played by the rules of golf over the full course is acceptable. But it is now expected that ALL singles competitions in authorised formats organised by the club will be submitted for handicap purposes. The recommendation is that scores from regular organised social events (e.g. roll-ups) in authorised formats are also submitted.

Supplementary cards will now be called social scores. As is the case at present players should register their intention to submit a score from general (non-competition) play before commencing the round. Until we are using the clubhouse again where a book for this purpose is available, players can contact Mike Lehane (mikelehane@outlook.com) directly to register their intention to submit.

The competition scratch score (CSS) will be replaced with a Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC). It operates in a similar fashion to CSS. PCC is calculated using all scores submitted on the course that day, as long as 8 or more golfers with a Handicap Index of less than 36 and a fully developed Scoring Record played. If a PCC cannot be calculated the handicapping system will use the course rating – i.e. no change from now when SSS would be used if no CSS was available.