World Handicap System


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

Player Responsibilities

A player is expected to:

- Act with integrity by following the Rules of Handicapping and to refrain from using, or circumventing, the Rules of Handicapping for the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage.

- Attempt to make the best score possible at each hole.

- Submit acceptable scores for handicap purposes as soon as possible after the round is completed and before midnight local time.

- Submit acceptable scores to provide reasonable evidence of their demonstrated ability.

- Play by the Rules of Golf.

- Certify the scores of fellow players.

World Handicap System

Handicap Index

Its purpose is to enable as many golfers as possible the opportunity to:

•Obtain and maintain a Handicap Index.

•Use their Handicap Index on any golf course around the world.

•Compete, or play recreationally, with anyone else on a fair and equal basis.

For a Handicap Index to be portable, it must be converted into a Course Handicap to determine the number of strokes a player receives for the golf course being played.

For equity to be achieved amongst two or more players, a player’s Course Handicap must be converted into a Playing Handicap as determined by the format of play and the applicable handicap allowances.

World Handicap System

Handicap Index

Calculation of a Score Differential

The Score Differential is defined as :-

The difference between a player’s adjusted gross score and the Course Rating, reflecting the Slope Rating and the Playing Conditions Calculation.
It is the numerical value attributed to a score achieved on a golf course on a specific day that is posted into the player’s scoring record.
A Score Differential must be an 18-hole value or its calculated equivalent

An 18-hole Score Differential is calculated as follows and rounded to the nearest tenth, with .5 rounded upwards.

Score Differential = (113 / Slope Rating ) X ( adjusted gross score - Course Rating - Playing Conditions Calculation adjustment)

(Note: A golf course of standard relative playing difficulty has a Slope Rating of 113)

The above formula is used as a Handicap Index is calculated from the lowest Score Differentials in a player’s scoring record. For most golfers, the Handicap Index will be calculated on the average of the lowest 8 Score Differentials from the last 20.

World Handicap System


World Handicap System

Handicap Index Calculation

As yet, no information is available as to how members will be informed of their individual Handicap Index. This is the responsibility of Scottish Golf.

However, members who have the Scottish Golf App will have noticed that it shows a section which reads My WHS Index (Coming Soon). As the App also shows current handicap and CDH number and clicking on this takes you to your CDH Handicap Record stretching back several years, this suggests Scottish Golf has more than enough information to produce a Handicap Index. Perhaps this section of the App will reveal your Handicap Index at some point before 2nd November.

In the meantime, it is possible to work out a possible Handicap Index for yourself.

The Course and Slope Ratings are now known and HowDidIDo can provide you with your last 20 gross scores. From there you can select your best 8 scores, total them and work out an average score.

You have the formula to work out the -

Score Differential = (113 / Slope Rating ) X ( adjusted gross score - Course Rating - Playing Conditions Calculation adjustment)

You will have to make a few assumptions :-
1) your adjusted gross score = gross score (with WHS the recommended a Handicap Allowance for stroke play will be 95%)
2) The Playing Conditions Calculation = 0
You will also need to check if your best 8 scores were all played at Windyhill and whether they were played from the white or yellow tees as the Ratings are different.

Assume the average score of your best 8 is 80.4
You played them all off the white tees at Windyhill.
The Slope Rating is 124.
The Course Rating is 69.8..

Score Differential = 113/124 X ( 80.4 - 69.8 - 0)
Score Differential = 0.91 X 10.6
Score Differential = 9.6

9.6 would be your Handicap Index.

World Handicap System


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


World Handicap System


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


World Handicap System

Windyhill Slope & Course Ratings

These Look Up Charts apply to the White & Yellow Courses

The Course Handicap calculation converts a Handicap Index to the number of strokes a player requires to play any golf course with a Course Rating and Slope Rating.

Course Handicap = Handicap Index X (Slope Rating/113)
If a player had a Handicap Index of 9.6, the Look Up Chart would tell him that his Course Handicap would be 11 for the White Tees and 10 for the Yellow Tees.

A Playing Handicap is calculated by applying the appropriate handicap allowance to a player’s Course Handicap. It is rounded to the nearest whole number, with .5 rounded upwards.

Playing Handicap = Course Handicap X Handicap Allowance

With a Course Handicap of 11, the Playing Handicap for the White Tees would be 11 X 0.95 (95% being the Handicap Allowance for Stroke Play) ie 10.4 ie 10.

For the Yellow Tees, the Playing Handicap would be 10 X 0.95 = 9.5 ie 10.

World Handicap System

Windyhill Slope & Course Ratings

This Look Up Chart applies to the Red Course

World Handicap System


World Handicap System

Understanding Slope

Where did the concept of ‘Slope’ come from and how did it become part of the World Handicap System (WHS)?

The development of Slope is largely attributed to Dean Knuth who was appointed the USGA Senior Director of Handicapping in 1981. After much testing Slope was integrated into the USGA Handicap System in 1989. It was subsequently adopted in 2000 by the European Golf Association in its inaugural handicap system and by Golf Australia in a modernised upgrade to its handicap system in 2010. The wide acceptance of Slope through much of the world of golf handicapping was acknowledged by its inclusion into the WHS.

Although Slope was not at any time adopted by CONGU, for many years the Standard Scratch Scores have been established by use of the USGA Course Rating System and Slope Ratings concurrently calculated (although not used other than by overseas visitors required to return the Slope adjusted score to their handicap authority).

What is the purpose of Slope?

Slope is intended to address the so-called portability problem when golfers play at courses other than their own. If a handicap golfer plays at a course with a Slope Rating higher than that of their home club, their course handicap increases and conversely, at a course with a lower Slope, they receive fewer strokes. Slope is also used to establish equitable handicaps from different tee sets on the same course.
In WHS handicapping, Slope is used to convert a Handicap Index to a Course Handicap by use of the formula:

Course Handicap = Handicap Index multiplied by (Slope Rating divided by 113)

In the above illustration, the player with the Handicap Index of 10 plays from a Course Handicap of 10 at the course of Slope 113 (course of standard difficulty). This increases to 12 when playing the tougher course of 141 Slope Rating and decreases to a Course Handicap of 8 at the easier course of Slope 92.
The Slope effect is more pronounced for the less talented player with a Handicap Index of 20 who adjusts to a Course Handicap of 24 when playing the toughest course, Slope 141, dropping to 16 at the course of Slope 92. When playing the course of standard difficulty, the Course Handicap again equates to the Handicap Index i.e. 20. The only time a golfer plays to their Index is at a course of standard difficulty (Slope Rating 113).
When any scratch golfer rating is plotted graphically against the equivalent bogey golfer rating the line joining these two points is sloped – hence the name Slope.

How is a Slope Rating derived?

The Course Rating and Slope Rating are products of the USGA (now WHS) Course Rating System. Resulting from the course rating process, a Course Rating and a Bogey Rating are established. The Course Rating is an indication of the difficulty of a golf course for the scratch player under normal course and weather conditions. The Bogey Rating is the expected average score of the bogey player with a Handicap Index of approximately 20.0 for men and 24.0 for women under the same playing conditions. Slope Ratings are calculated as follows:

Slope Rating = (Bogey Rating minus Course Rating) multiplied by 5.381 (men) and 4.24 (women)

For example, a course rating from the white tees produced a Course Rating for men of 70.5 and a Bogey Rating of 93.2. The Slope Rating is: (93.2 – 70.5) x 5.381 = 122.
Currently, the range of Slope Ratings in Scotland is 79 to 145 for Men and 80 to 149 for Women.

How can Slope Ratings be compared one club to another?

The short answer is that such comparisons should not be made!

The Slope Rating is a measurement of the relative playing difficulty of a golf course for players who are not scratch golfers compared to the Course Rating i.e. compared to the difficulty of the course for scratch golfers. It is the relativity of the Scratch and Bogey Ratings that determines the Slope Rating. Slope is not a measurement of course playing difficulty. One course having a higher Slope Rating than another does not necessarily mean it is ‘harder’ or more difficult. In the same way, two courses with the same Slope are not necessarily of equal difficulty. A course with a rating of 71.5/125 is about two strokes more difficult than a course of 69.6/125 at every handicap level. It is ill-advised to be tempted to compare the difficulty of golf courses based purely on their Slope Rating.
Tees Length (yards) Course Rating Slope Rating
Championship 7255 76.9 142
Green 7013 75.8 140
Blue 6462 73.3 136
White 6223 72.3 130
Red (Men) 5692 69.8 123
On average Slope does increase with increasing course length (as does Course Rating) as illustrated by the following ratings from different sets of tees of a championship golf course.

Now that Course and Slope Ratings have been issued to member clubs will these ratings ever change?

The most likely time for a change to Course and Slope Ratings is when a course is re-rated. WHS requires this to take place at least every ten years. The SGL re-rating schedule is phased such that 10% of the member club courses are re-rated in a normal year i.e. if the country returns to something like normality in 2021 10% of our courses will be re-rated with the potential for change.
There are numerous reasons for these rating changes at periodic re-rating which include evolutionary changes to the course such as growth (or removal) of trees or changes to course maintenance practices such as cutting back the rough or altering the average green speeds. Modifications to the Course Rating System can also influence ratings. The introduction of Penalty Areas at the 2019 Rules of Golf revision necessitated the introduction into the course rating system. of Lateral and Crossing Obstacles in place of the previous Out of Bounds and Water Hazard obstacles.
Length has a major influence on Scratch and Bogey ratings and SGL should continue to be advised of such changes in playing length as soon as they are introduced.
With the possibility of Course and Slope Ratings changes member clubs should be wary of incurring undue expenditure on scorecards bearing Course and Slope Rating information and the purchase of course furniture with that type of information.

World Handicap System


World Handicap System


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.

World Handicap System


World Handicap System


World Handicap System

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