The World Handicap System

On 2 November 2020, the governing bodies of amateur golf in the UK introduced the new World Handicap System (WHS).  The CONGU system has been replaced by WHS which unified the six different structures previously operational throughout the world of golf.  With the new system a golfer can obtain and maintain a handicap index and use this on any course around the world.

 

As well as encouraging players new to the sport to obtain a handicap with ease, the WHS also modernises the game for those who have been playing for longer.  Under the new system, a player’s handicap is based on the average of eight best scores from their last 20 rounds. WHS also takes into account factors currently not fully represented in the existing handicapping procedure through a course and slope rating system.

 

What are the features of WHS?

The WHS system is based on Course Rating, Slope Rating as well as Handicap Index and Course Handicap.

Terminology

Course Rating represents the difficulty of a golf course for a scratch golfer (0 Handicap Index), calculated to the nearest 0.1.

Slope Rating represents the relative difficulty of a course for a bogey golfer (20 to 24 Handicap Index) 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.

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.

Cupar Golf Club’s Course and Slope Ratings are:

Ratings effective from 16/09/2020.

Handicap Index and Course Handicap

A Handicap Index is the measure of your demonstrated ability, based on a golf course of standard difficulty (i.e. a golf course with a Slope Rating of 113). This is the number you would tell people if they ask “What’s your handicap?”.  This will be updated based on your best 8 scores from your last 20 scores.

Your Handicap Index converts into a Course Handicap, which is the number of strokes you will receive on the golf course from a specific set of tees. This is determined by the difficulty of that golf course, based on its rating.  It is necessary because your Handicap Index has been calculated in reference to a Slope Rating of 113 (slope rating for a standard or neutral course); if you are playing a course with a Slope Rating different from 113 then your Handicap Index needs to be re-calculated determined by the Slope Rating of that course.

Your course handicap is different for each course you play based on the slope rating of the particular course of set of tees you play from.  This provides you the number of stokes you need to help play tot your handicap given the difficulty of the course.

This is worked out with a simple calculation:

Example -

Player A’s handicap index is 12.7 playing from the medal tees at Cupar which has a slope rating of 118. Calculation 12.7 x (118 /113) = 13.26

Course handicap is 13.

 

However if player A played at the Old Course in St Andrews which has a slope rating of 132 from the black tees then their course handicap would be 15.  Calculation would be 12.7 x (132/113) = 14.83

 

The slope rating of all courses can be found at https://www.randa.org/chc-lookup

A Course Handicap look up table will be available in the clubhouse and is detailed below for Cupar.  You simply select the tees you want to play from and look up your Handicap Index to ascertain your Course Handicap.

Playing Handicap

The Playing Handicap is adjusted for any handicap allowances or format of the competition and represents the actual number of strokes the player gives or receives for the format of golf being played.

Playing handicaps are calculated in accordance with the World Handicapping System as follows before rounding to the nearest integer:

Playing handicap = [Handicap index x (Slope rating/113)] x Handicap allowance.

Playing Handicaps are calculated using true Course Handicap values retained to machine precision before rounding to an integer value.

Handicap Allowance

 The percentage of a Course Handicap recommended to create equity for all players participating in a specific format of play. See below a list of all formats of play and the recommended Handicap Allowance.

Further details can be found at

https://www.randa.org/Home/WorldHandicapSystem-RESOURCES or https://scottishgolf.org/handicapping-homepage/