The 5 Things You Need to Know About the New World Handicap System (WHS)
Beginning in 2020 a brand-new set of Rules for Handicapping will be introduced globally
1. Your Handicap Index may change.
But that’s ok! Finally, players around the world will have an apples-to-apples handicap. Your new
Handicap Index will be more responsive to good scores by averaging your eight best scores out of
your most recent 20 (currently, it’s 10 out of 20 with a .96 multiplier). In short, your Handicap Index
will be determined by your demonstrated ability and consistency of scores. In most cases for golfers
in the U.S., it will change less than one stroke.
2. You need to know your Course Handicap.
In the new system, your Course Handicap will be the number of strokes needed to play to par. This
will result in greater variance in that number and presents a change, as historically it has
represented the number of strokes needed to play to the Course Rating. This is a good thing, as par
is an easy number to remember. Target score for the day? Par plus Course Handicap. The Course
Rating will now be inherent within the calculation to be more intuitive and account for competing
from different tees.
3. Net Double Bogey.
The maximum hole score for each player will be limited to a Net Double Bogey. This adjustment is
more consistent from hole to hole than the Equitable Stroke Control procedure. Net Double Bogey is
already used in many other parts of the world and the calculation is simple: Par + 2 + any handicap
strokes you receive.
4. Your Handicap Index will be revised daily.
One way that handicapping is being modernized is a player’s Handicap Index will update daily (which
will provide a fairer indication of a player’s ability in the moment), if the player submitted a score
the day before. On days where the player does not submit a score, no update will take place.
5. Safeguards in the new system.
The new system will limit extreme upward movement of a Handicap Index, automatically and
immediately reduce a Handicap Index when an exceptional score of at least 7 strokes better is
posted, and account for abnormal course or weather conditions to ensure that scores reflect when a
course plays significantly different than its established Course Rating and Slope Rating.
These safeguards help maintain accuracy of a Handicap Index, greater integrity within the system
and promote fun and fair play for golfers of all abilities.
If you have any questions about handicaps and the WHS, please come talk to us in the Pro Shop or visit nhgolfassociation.com