Golf Australia

New handicapping system on track

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Golf’s new World Handicap System (WHS), which is designed to bring the game of golf under a single set of Rules for handicapping and provide a more consistent measure of players’ ability between different regions of the world, remains on track for implementation starting in 2020.

Education has begun with events being held in Singapore, South Africa, Great Britain and Ireland, Japan, Argentina, Brazil, Continental Europe, Canada, the Caribbean and the USA. 

Significant progress has been made in preparation for the rollout of the new system, which includes building a library of education materials, finalising the new Rules of Handicapping, release of the technical specifications and the continuation of testing. Many national associations around the world are busy ensuring that their golf courses are rated in accordance with the Course Rating System and working to update local software platforms so that they are ready to apply the new Rules of Handicapping.  

While many countries will be ready to transition to the WHS early in 2020, given both the magnitude of the change for some jurisdictions and varying seasonality throughout the world, it is anticipated that some will need more time.

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “There are many ways in which it is important for golf to modernise and become more appealing for people thinking of taking up the sport and handicapping is clearly one of them. The World Handicap System is a major new initiative for the sport which will establish a clearer and more consistent handicapping process for golfers throughout the world.

“We are working closely with national associations, as we do across all our core activities, to ensure they are fully prepared for the introduction of the new system as soon as possible after it becomes available for implementation.”

“The World Handicap System is the latest example of our work to make the game more welcoming,” said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA.

“Golfers throughout the world will be able to play equitably, measure their success and more fully enjoy and engage with the game. After working with national associations across the world on Course Rating throughout the past 30 years and now the World Handicap System, this monumental collaborative effort will benefit everyone in golf.”

Since its conception, the development of the WHS has focused on three key goals: to encourage as many golfers as possible to obtain and maintain a Handicap Index; to enable golfers of differing abilities, genders and nationalities to transport their Handicap Index to any course around the world and compete on a fair basis; and to indicate with sufficient accuracy the score a golfer is reasonably capable of achieving on any course around the world, playing under normal conditions.  

The system has been devised following extensive consultation with the six existing handicapping authorities: Golf Australia, the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) in Great Britain and Ireland, the European Golf Association (EGA), the South African Golf Association (SAGA), the Argentine Golf Association (AAG) and the USGA. The Japan Golf Association and Golf Canada have also been closely involved in developing the new system.

Widespread support for the WHS was expressed in an international survey of 52,000 golfers with 76% in favour of the new system and a further 22% saying they were willing to consider its benefits. Focus groups were also held in different regions of the world to elicit detailed feedback on the features of the new system, which have contributed to the finalised Rules of Handicapping.

The World Handicap System will unite the golf world under one single set of handicapping rules and will be governed by the USGA and The R&A, with support from the existing six handicap authorities.

As an extension of their support of the Rules of Golf worldwide, Rolex has made a commitment to support The R&A’s and the USGA’s efforts to implement the World Handicap System.

Click here to view details of how the World Handicap System will be implemented in Australia.


Posted by Jim at
16/08/2019 07:38 AM
What a great idea tax free subs. More people outdoors healthy exercise less pressure on the health system the Govt. saves and we are better off.
Posted by Bob at
01/07/2019 10:05 AM
I am sure you are still going to have to take into account the SS for mixed gender and players off different sets of tees.Am I right?
Posted by kerry at
06/06/2019 07:07 PM
Make subscriptions Tax deductable for ordinary members
Posted by Ron Newton at
20/05/2019 09:57 AM
G,day Clubs in my area are doing it tough. Economy,weather and member loss to SGA could send us to the wall. I was VERY serious when I asked about Greg Ashe's ideas to attract new members.In fact I would like to hear any suggestions.Glitz and glamour has its place but we cannot afford to lose the"mums and dads grassroots clubs" like the ones that nurtured Greg' Carrie and Jason. Ron
Posted by Ron Newton at
16/05/2019 10:56 AM
ld be looking at practical innovations to assist aust clubs. especially the ones doing it tough
Posted by Geoff Kelly at
08/05/2019 11:06 AM
Looking forward to it as the WHS will eliminate the need for multi-course and mixed gender score adjustments, making it easier for all golfers to understand how such competitions can be conducted fairly.
Posted by Gregory Ashe at
08/05/2019 09:21 AM
Excellent news will attract new players to the game.Well done R& A
Posted by brian at
02/05/2019 05:47 AM
Make he hole bigger.

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