World Handicap System

Taken from – Wales golf website –

Golf’s new World Handicap System, 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.

The governing bodies of amateur golf in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales are licenced to operate the for the new World Handicap System (WHS) which will come into operation on November 2, 2020.

As members of the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU), England Golf, the Golfing Union of Ireland, the Irish Ladies Golfing Union, Scottish Golf and Wales Golf have been driving forces in planning for the new system in alliance with The R&A and USGA.

The current Golf Handicapping System maintained by CONGU will be replaced by WHS which will unify the six different handicapping structures currently in operation throughout the world of golf.

With one single, global system in place for the first time, golfers will be able to obtain and maintain a handicap index and use this on any course around the world.

In addition they will be able to compete or simply play a casual round with fellow golfers anywhere on a fair and equal basis.

As well as encouraging players new to the sport to obtain a handicap with ease, the WHS will also modernise the game for those already well versed in the game of golf.

The new system will feature the following:

  1. A consistent handicap that is portable from course to course and country to country through worldwide use of the USGA Course and Slope Rating System, already successfully used in more than 80 countries
  2. An average-based calculation of a handicap, taken from the best eight out of the last 20 scores
  3. A calculation that considers the impact that abnormal course and weather conditions might have on a player’s performance each day
  4. Daily handicap revisions, taking account of the course and weather conditions calculation
  5. 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

Is your club ready for the forthcoming changes:

  1. How will you inform your members?
  2. Will your club be ‘IT ready’?

WHS Overview

If you have any questions please contact us at

World Handicap System Booklet

Course & Bogey Rating

R&A Player Reference Guide

Course Handicap

Handicap Index

Submitting a score

Slope Rating

Key Changes

R&A Rules of Handicapping effective January 2020

Educational Videos: