GW EX­PLAINS… Global hand­i­caps

From 2020, the World Hand­i­cap Sys­tem will gov­ern all golfers glob­ally. Here’s what it will change.

Golf World (UK) - - THE SPIN -


From 2020, in a move de­signed to en­cour­age more golfers to mea­sure and track their per­for­mances, the hand­i­cap limit will be set at 54.0, re­gard­less of gen­der.

The min­i­mum num­ber of scores needed to ob­tain a new hand­i­cap will be 54 holes, from any com­bi­na­tion of 18-hole and 9-hole rounds you choose.

Un­der the new sys­tem, both com­pet­i­tive and recre­ational rounds will count for hand­i­cap pur­poses, a change de­signed to en­sure a golfer’s hand­i­cap is more re­flec­tive of their po­ten­tial abil­ity.

An av­er­age-based cal­cu­la­tion of a hand­i­cap will be taken from the best eight out of the last 20 scores.

From 2020, the im­pact ab­nor­mal course and weather con­di­tions might have on a player’s per­for­mance will be fac­tored in – and the round cal­cu­lated more sym­pa­thet­i­cally if played in a gale.

From 2020, ex­pect daily hand­i­cap re­vi­sions, tak­ing ac­count of the course and weather con­di­tions cal­cu­la­tion.

Un­der the World Hand­i­cap Sys­tem, for hand­i­cap­ping pur­poses, a limit of Net Dou­ble Bo­gey on the max­i­mum hole score will be set.

From 2020, all golfers will use the USGA Course and Slope Rat­ing Sys­tem.


This is a sig­nif­i­cant jump up from the cur­rent max­i­mum hand­i­cap of 36.4 for men and 40.4 for women.

Cur­rently, hand­i­caps are gained by sub­mit­ting three signed 18-hole cards or six signed nine­hole cards.

Only com­pe­ti­tion rounds or, in some cases, a limited num­ber of sup­ple­men­tary score­cards against the course’s Stan­dard Scratch Score, can af­fect your hand­i­cap. Many clubs only hold com­pe­ti­tions a max­i­mum of once per week and most up­ward changes oc­cur in in­cre­ments of 0.1 re­gard­less of how high your score.

Hand­i­caps only change af­ter a com­pe­ti­tion or sup­ple­men­tary card is sub­mit­ted and a con­sis­tent pe­riod of good or bad scores will still only be counted on a round-by-round ba­sis. If you record seven con­sec­u­tive rounds over hand­i­cap, how­ever, your hand­i­cap will be re­viewed.

This sim­ply im­proves on the cur­rent Com­pe­ti­tion Scratch Score cal­cu­la­tion, which ad­justs the par for com­pe­ti­tions based on the con­di­tions.

Hand­i­cap ad­just­ments within CONGU take place af­ter ev­ery qual­i­fy­ing score – in some coun­tries it hap­pens ev­ery two weeks.

Net Dou­ble Bo­gey is cur­rently the max­i­mum un­der CONGU, so there’s no change here.

There is no uni­ver­sal hand­i­cap sys­tem – go to the US and your hand­i­cap will not trans­fer, for ex­am­ple. Which is why the World Hand­i­cap Sys­tem will be brought into play.

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