World Handicap System News

World Handicap System (WHS)

The Essentials

The WHS is to become effective 2 November 2020. This will change how golfer handicaps are calculated, based on their historical play and on the course/tees that they will play off. The following provides a concise summary of the factors affecting your handicap on a given day at a given course/set of tees. For more detailed explanation refer to the Golf England website.

Course Rating & Slope Rating

Course Rating replaces Standard Scratch (SSS) and represents the score that a scratch golfer is expected to achieve on the course.

Slope Rating is the relative difficulty of a course from a specific set of tees for a bogey golfer (course handicap approx. 20 for male & 24 for female) compared to a scratch golfer. A course with long carries, narrow fairways, lots of hazards and thick rough will have a high slope rating because these features are more of a challenge to bogey golfers. The Slope Rating can be anywhere between 55 and 155. 113 is the neutral value that is used in handicap calculations. The Barkway Park Golf Club Slope Rating is 131.

Click to see a short video about Course Ratings and Slope Ratings


Acceptable Scores for Handicap Purposes

  • All 9 hole and 18 hole Singles Competition Rounds in Authorised Formats must be submitted for handicap purposes, subject to the competition being played to the Rules of Golf and over the measured length of the course.

  • Scores from team competitions, match play and mixed tees will not be acceptable although this may change in the future.

  • The recommendation from England Golf is that scores from regular organised social events (Swindles and roll-ups) in authorised formats are submitted.

Handicap Index

  • A Handicap Index is a measure of a player's demonstrated ability calculated against the Slope Rating of a golf course of standard playing difficulty. It represents a golfer's playing handicap on a course with a Neutral Slope Rating of 113.

  • It is calculated as a rolling average of the lowest 8 from the last 20 score differentials.

  • Transition Handicaps - Player's that already have a current CONGU Handicap will be allocated an initial Handicap Index when the new system comes into effect. The Transition Handicap should be visible in October 2020.

  • To ensure a player has only one Handicap Index, the golfer will nominate a home club. The home club is determined by the player, but for practicality it is recommended this is where the player typically submits the most of their scores.

  • Click to see a short video about Handicap Index

How do I know my handicap for a given course on a given day

All this seems confusing, what do I do to just play a round of golf?

The Course Handicap for a player is the number of strokes that a player will receive based on their handicap and the specific course and specific set of tees they will be playing on a given day.

To achieve this, each player should on the day of play:

  1. Establish their current handicap index. The easiest way to do this is to check on How Did I Do or other system that your club may use for score submission purposes.

  2. Establish what their course handicap is for that day on the course/tee that they are going to play. To make life easier for players, they do not need to know the specific Slope Rating and/or Course Rating; simply cross-reference their handicap index against the pre-prepared Course Handicap Tables that will be available in the clubhouse/pro shop/website or a golfing application.

  3. Go play golf (Wow, I can still do that?!)

Entering your score

If you have played a round that has produced an Acceptable Score, then enter your scores into How Did I Do to add it to your last 20 rounds for handicap calculation purposes. This will generate a new Handicap Index by the end of the day to be used for your next round.

Further Viewing

Want to know a little more, then follow this link to see videos on the various aspects of WHS

Course & Slope Ratings for Barkway Park: