World Handicap System – Has your handicap changed?

As golf has returned after the lockdown period, there has been some key changes to the way golfers handicaps are calculated and adjusted. There used to be 6 organisations that would calculate their players handicaps in a slightly different way. Now with the new World Handicapping System, handicaps will all be maintained and managed in the same way under one umbrella.

The system now works by taking your best 8 scores from your last 20 scores submitted over a 2 year period. This is called your Handicap Index and this will then be used to calculate the increase or decrease of shots that you will be entitled to on any given course, on your selected Tee for that day.

Using a rating system known as Course Rating, each course is calculated at a level of difficulty. You then combine your Handicap Index with the Course Rating and a calculation is done to find your actual handicap on that golf course. If you are playing at a harder course then your handicap is likely to increase and at an easier golf course, shots will be taken away. This should give a fairer test of golf when in a competition playing against people from other golf clubs.

Now that this has been in effect for over 6 months, has your handicap gone up or down? Having had conversations with many golfers, it does seem that people on average have seen changes to their handicap. It is likely that over the next 12 months as players submit their 20 competitive scores, handicaps will settle down and be a truer reflection of a golfers playing ability. It should give golfers a chance to get to a more accurate handicap in a much quicker amount of time. Previously if you played badly in 20 competitions you would only receive a 2 stroke increase to your handicap. Now players will be able to go down but more importantly up quicker, they will be able to achieve their correct handicap sooner.

Like any new system it will take some time to get used to, but over time the new system should create a fair playing field for all with the one centralised system. 

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