World Handicap System - November 2020


Pat Collins, Mark Pearce and I will be attending a further presentation by England Golf on the new World Handicap System, which was originally due for introduction in January 2020, but has now been delayed until November 2020 at the earliest. That may still seem some way off, but, given the fact that the changes will alter every players’ handicap overnight on the date the system comes live, and that players will need to adjust their handicap for each different course played, it is in everybody’s interest to gain some understanding of the new system before the start date.

The World Handicap System

The current process for calculating a players’ handicap will be discontinued, and will be replaced by a completely new system.
The new players handicap will be calculated from the average number of shots above par recorded on the best eight qualifying rounds of the last 20 such rounds by an individual. The resulting number will be referred to as the players ‘Handicap Index’, and will replace a players current ‘Exact Handicap’. The calculation is a continuous averaging assessment, which will be updated automatically on a central system every time a new card is submitted, players being notified by email of their new ‘Handicap Index’, as is currently the case on the Howdidido system.
So what difference will it make to your current handicap? Well you can calculate that yourself by looking at your last 20 rounds and working it out. I’ve just done mine. My current Exact Handicap stands at 13.2, and my WHS Handicap Index works out to 14.6. Not much difference.
I have also looked at one or two other players. One, who is currently playing off 17.1 and playing very well, would have a WHS Handicap Index of 17.75. Another who currently plays off 8.5 and is very consistent, would have a WHS Handicap Index of 8.75. So the results are variable regarding the initial switch over, but having looked at a few handicap records now I feel that the resultant handicap from the new method of calculation may be more reflective of current performance and movement is likely to be much less volatile.
It is hoped that from about June 2020 a players new ‘Handicap Index’ will be shown on the Club V1 app and on Howdidido alongside their current ‘Exact Handicap’ to give you an idea of how the two will relate.

Slope System

By the time the new ‘Handicap Index’ system is introduced, all golf courses in the UK, will have been inspected and each ‘Measured Course’ (ie White, Yellow, Red and Shey Copse) allocated both a ‘Course Rating’ and a ‘Slope Rating’ by England Golf.
All the courses at Hoebridge (with the exception of the Maybury) have now been measured and rated.
A ‘Course Rating’ is similar to the current course SSS, in that it is a figure representing the gross score likely to be achieved by a scratch golfer playing the course. The more difficult to understand is the ‘Slope Rating’. This is calculated from a combination of the ‘Course Rating’ and a separate figure representing the relative difficulty of the course for a ‘Bogey Golfer’ when compared to a scratch golfer. A ‘Bogey Golfer’ for this purpose is defined as a golfer with a current handicap of between 18 and 22.
A ‘Slope Rating’, which is a number between 55 and 155, is produced for each set of tees, and represents the difficulty of each course o every other course in the country. There are about 2,500 of them!) The higher the number the more difficult the course. This means that the White, Yellow, Red and Shey Copse courses may all have a different ‘Slope Rating’. What that is we are yet to discover as, whilst the courses have been measured and rated, England Golf have not yet advised us of the actual number allocated to each course. We wait with baited breath.
For simplicity of use by us mere mortals the ‘Slope Rating’ for each course will be used to create a table for each course, which must be available to all players prior to playing a Qualifying or Pre-Registered round. (The latter is a new expression for Supplementary Round, but the conditions remain the same.)
The table will comprises list of ranges in the ‘Handicap Index’, and allocates a ‘Playing Handicap’ for each player relevant to their ‘Handicap Index’, and this may be higher or lower than the players ‘Handicap Index’ depending on the rated difficulty of the course played, but will be the handicap that will be used when playing the course.

The table will look will look something like this:-

So if I was playing this course with my WHS Handicap Index of 14.6 I would get 18 shots. I’m loving this already, although I suspect that the course at Eagle’s Bluff Country Club may be rated as a little more difficult than Hoebridge!
The eagle eyed amongst you will note that this chart only goes up to 36.4. However, never fear ours will go up to 54 handicap!
I can already hear the clamour of questions that will follow this article, and I am happy to do my incompetent best to answer any questions that you may wish to pose. But attending one or two presentations doesn’t make me an expert on the subject, so you may also like to make use of the plethora of articles on the subject that can be found on the internet. Just search type World Handicap System into your search engine and stand back!
Happy reading.
Andy Richardson
Handicap Secretary

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