GW EXPLAINS… Global handicaps
From 2020, the World Handicap System will govern all golfers globally. Here’s what it will change.
THE NEW RULES
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.