World Handicap System 2020

The way that handicaps for golfers around the world are calculated is to be transformed by a system developed by The R&A and the USGA. The WHS will be introduced by the Home (CONGU) Unions on 2nd November 2020.
Features of the World Handicap System (WHS) will include:
• A consistent handicap that is portable from course to course and country to country through worldwide use of a modified version of the Course and Slope Rating System that is already in use in the USA and much of Europe.
• An average-based calculation of a handicap, taken from the best eight out of the last 20 scores, but with a safety mechanism to ensure that a player's handicap cannot increase by more than 5 shots during a 12 month period.
• A calculation that considers the impact that abnormal course and weather conditions might have on a player’s performance each day.
• Handicap revisions processed on the day of playing, not reliant on the closure of the competition.
• A limit of Net Double Bogey on the maximum score for a hole (for handicapping purposes only)
• A maximum handicap limit of 54, regardless of gender
Click for further information on the R&A website. and FAQ's from England Golf FAQ

A course assessment has been completed at Ludlow to establish the Course Rating and Slope Rating from each set of tees.
Course Rating replaces Standard Scratch (SSS) in the new system and represents the score that a scratch golfer is expected to achieve on the course. There is no change from the previous 18 hole SSS for men from the White tees (70) and from the Yellow tees (69). The ratings for the ladies from the Red tees have decreased by one to 72. When the WHS begins, the Course Ratings will be to the nearest 0.1 (70.4, 68.9, & 72.3 respectively).

Slope Rating represents the relative difficulty of a course from a specific set of tees for a 'bogey golfer' compared to a 'scratch' golfer. Different courses are also now recognised as having differing factors of difficulty (a player with a 10 handicap index from the White tees at Ludlow may find difficulty in playing to a 10 handicap at say Carnoustie from their medal tees) and the system is designed to recognise and adjust for this factor.
A course with many hazards, long carries and thick rough will have a higher slope rating because these features are more of a challenge to bogey golfers. A golfer's handicap for a specific course is determined by multiplying the player's Handicap Index by the ratio of the course Slope Rating divided by the 'neutral' slope of 113.
The Slope Rating for Ludlow Golf Club has been assessed as 125 White, 119 Yellow and 123 Red

There will be conversion tables on display at all clubs as above, so you will not have to be a maths expert to work out what the playing handicap will be!
Slope Rating can be anywhere between 55 and 155 rounded to the nearest whole number.
113 is 'neutral'. The GB&I average is 125.


• Bogey golfer - A male bogey golfer is a typical 20 handicapper who hits the ball about 200 yards with a driver and 170 yards with a fairway wood. A female bogey golfer is a typical 24 handicapper.
• Handicap Index - A player's personal handicap on a course of neutral slope 113. Calculated to the nearest 0.1.
• Course Handicap - A player's handicap index adjusted to reflect the difficulty of a specific course. Calculated to the nearest 0.1.
• Playing Handicap - The handicap to be used in a specific competition on a specific course. For Stroke Play it is anticipated that it will be calculated as 95% of Course Handicap and rounded to the nearest whole number.
• Stableford Adjustment - For handicap purposes only, any big scores on a hole are rounded down to Net Double Bogey (as in the current system).
• Course Condition Adjustment (CCA) - Similar to the current CSS adjustment but more conservative. Can be between -1 and 3, but more often than not it will be 0. Calculated using all scores submitted on the course that day (even if in different competitions using different tees and number of holes) as long as 8 or more golfers with a handicap Index of less than 36 and a fully developed Handicap Record (20 rounds) have played.
• Anchor Point - A player's lowest Handicap Index during the last 12 months
• CAP - A suppression mechanism that limits increases in Handicap Index relative to the Anchor Point when a player is going through a spell of poor form.
• Soft CAP - Potential Handicap Index increases to a figure greater than (Anchor Point + 3) are limited by half the amount over 3, e.g. 5 limited to 4, 7 limited to 5, etc.
• Hard CAP - the maximum a Handicap Index can increase to is Anchor Point + 5.
• Extraordinary Scoring Reduction (ESR) - an adjustment to the Handicap Index after a very low score has been posted (-1 for between 7 and 9 under, -2 for 10 or more under). This reduction sits behind the Handicap Index average calculation and 'drops off' after 20 rounds.
• New Player Handicaps are initially allocated at 2 less than the best of 3 x 18 hole cards submitted. Cards can be submitted as 6 x 9 hole or some other combination. Subsequent Handicap Index calculations change as more scores are entered. e.g.
4 to 5 scores: lowest -1
7 to 8 scores: average of best 2
13 to 14 scores: average of best 4, etc.
• Transition Handicap - The initial Handicap Index that will be calculated when the new system comes into effect. The average of the best 8 scores from the last 20 in the players current Handicap Record. Players will be able to see their expected Transition Handicap on screen when the handicapping software is updated prior to introduction of the WHS. Players are encouraged to submit plenty of scores between now and November 2020 so that their Handicap Index is a good reflection of current playing ability. 9 hole scores are acceptable and clubs are encouraged to run 9 hole competitions to help with this.

• Handicap records are updated at midnight (local time) even if a competition on that day has not been closed.
• Handicaps won't lapse if a player has a break from the game or is not a current member of a golf club
• The Annual Revisions process will be similar to present.


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