World Handicap System


Millions of golfers from over 35 countries around the world are now experiencing the benefits of WHS which is designed to be consistent, inclusive and modern.

Though many countries have already adopted WHS, others will be going live throughout 2020 to accommodate different implementation plans and variations in their golf seasons.

Scottish Golf will implement WHS on November 2 2020.

World Handicap System

What can Windyhill members do in preparation for WHS?


1) submit as many scores as you can before the season ends so that your eventual Handicap Index is a fair reflection of your current form.

This is particularly important for new members who have recently gained a handicap. The best 8 scores of your last 20 games will be used and, for golfers who have not managed to return 20 scores this year, the system will go back as far as 2017 to determine a Handicap Index.

2) watch out for the arrival of the Windyhill Course and Slope Ratings. This information is expected very soon as all golf courses are expected to post these details near the first tee. This is so that members and visitors can calculate their Course Handicap for any course they play.

3) download the Scottish Golf App to your phone and/or computer. It is free and available in Apple or Android form. This App will show your handicap and CDH number which reveals your Handicap Record over the past several years. It will soon contain your WHS Index and, over the coming year, will allow tee booking and many other features to do with playing at Windyhill. The News section provides various Scottish Golf updates eg the current information on Covid-19 and Golf Clubs.

4) read the following sections which explain some of the workings of WHS. The details have been copied from the various publications Scottish Golf have provided as a means of educating golfers about WHS

5) have a look at the WHS posters displayed on the club notice board outside the entrance to the locker room

World Handicap System

WHS Introduction


WHS will be launched in Scotland on November 2 2020 and will provide golfers with a unified and more inclusive handicapping system.

Developed by The R&A and USGA in close coordination with existing handicapping authorities, WHS will provide all golfers with a consistent measure of playing ability, with handicaps calculated in the same way wherever they are in the world.

A key objective of the initiative was to develop a modern system, enabling as many golfers as possible to obtain and maintain a Handicap Index. Golfers will be able to transport their Handicap Index globally and compete or play a casual round with players from other regions on a fair basis. It will also indicate the score a golfer is reasonably capable of achieving the next time they go out to play.

The WHS has two main components – the Rules of Handicapping and the Course Rating System.

The Rules of Handicapping are encompassed within seven Rules to inform administrators and golfers on how an official Handicap Index is calculated and administered, with some flexibility given to national associations based on how the sport is played and enjoyed in their region.

The Course Rating System, based on the USGA Course Rating System first adopted nearly 50 years ago and already adopted on nearly every continent, sets out a consistent method of determining a course’s difficulty.

Together, these components provide the foundation for determining a golfer’s Handicap Index.

World Handicap System

Key Features of WHS

Flexibility in formats of play, allowing both competitive and recreational rounds to count for handicap purposes and ensuring that a Handicap Index reflects demonstrated ability.

A minimal number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap; with the number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap being 54 holes from any combination of 18-hole and 9-hole rounds (with some discretion available for national or regional associations).

An average-based calculation of a handicap, taken from the best eight out of the last 20 scores and factoring in memory of demonstrated ability for better responsiveness/control.

A calculation that considers the impact that abnormal course and weather conditions might have on a player’s performance each day.

Timely handicap revisions.

A limit of Net Double Bogey on the maximum hole score (for handicapping purposes only).

A maximum handicap limit of 54.0, regardless of gender, to encourage more golfers to measure and track their performance to increase their enjoyment of the game.

World Handicap System

Advantages for the Golfer


Up to date, easy to understand and adaptable, WHS lets you play golf the way you always have, as well as giving you a handicap index that will travel anywhere you decide to play.

A handicap index - a measure of your golfing ability that you can take with you anywhere and use at whatever course you are playing

Course Rating and Slope Rating - every set of tees will have a course rating and slope rating based on course difficulty. These will normally be available on a look-up chart on the first tee or through an App.

Playing Handicap - depending on the tees you are playing from and your chosen format of play, your handicap index will be converted into a playing handicap, representing the number of strokes you will receive for the round.

Acceptable scores for Handicap Purposes - if you are ever in doubt about whether your score is acceptable for handicap purposes, or any of the Rules and procedures relating to handicapping, check with the club where you are playing.

Go out and play - enjoying the round as you always would.

Strokes received - while one bad hole might mean you don’t win the competition, you can still submit an acceptable score for handicap purposes.

Maximum Hole Score - if the format of play allows, you should pick up when you reach your maximum hole score, promoting a good pace of play.

Add up your score - including any penalty strokes and any applicable adjustments for holes not played or where you didn’t hole out.

Submit your score - as soon as possible after your round, providing you with an accurate up to date handicap index ready for the next day or soon after. The more scores you submit - the more accurately your handicap index will reflect your ability.

World Handicap System

Course Rating and Slope Rating

Handicap Index - The measure of a player’s demonstrated ability calculated against the Slope Rating of a golf course of standard playing difficulty

Course Rating - The difficulty of a course for the scratch player under normal conditions.

Slope Rating - The relative difficulty of a course for bogey players compared to scratch players

Scratch Player - A player with a 0.0 Handicap Index

Bogey Player - A player with a Handicap Index of about 20.0 for men; 24.0 for women

World Handicap System

What is a Course Rating?


•The evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for scratch golfers under normal course and weather conditions.

•Based on yardage and other obstacles to the extent that they affect the scoring difficulty of the scratch golfer.

•Expressed as the number of strokes taken to one decimal place.

World Handicap System

What is a Bogey Rating?


•The evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for bogey golfers under normal course and weather conditions.

•Based on yardage and other obstacles to the extent that they affect the scoring difficulty of the bogey golfer.

•Expressed as the number of strokes taken to one decimal place

World Handicap System

What is a Slope Rating?


•A Slope Rating is the number which indicates the relative playing difficulty of a course for bogey golfers, compared to scratch golfers

•It is the combination of the Course Rating and the Bogey Rating that allows the calculation of the Slope Rating of a set of tees

It is the diference between the Bogey Rating and the Course Rating multiplied by a constant factor.

It is expressed as a whole number from 55 to 155.

A golf course of standard relative playing difficulty has a Slope Rating of 113




World Handicap System

Playing Conditions Calculation


At the end of each day, a Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC) takes place automatically, behind the scenes, to determine if scores made at a course were significantly higher or lower than expected.

If scores were unusually low or high, a PCC adjustment between -1 and +3 will be applied to your score differential calculation to reflect the playing conditions on the day.

Once the PCC is determined, your final score differential will be calculated - representing the handicap you “played to” for that round relative to the difficulty of the course played, as determined by the Course and Slope Ratings, and the playing conditions.

This means a high score on a tough day may result in a lower Score Differential and has the potential to be a good score and one of the best 8 in your scoring record.
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