9th September 2020

World Handicap System and the Carlyon Bay Golf Club

The new World Handicap System goes live on 2nd November 2020 and has been designed to attract more players to the game, make handicapping easier to understand and to give all golfers a Handicap Index that is transferrable from club to club. Developed by The R&A and USGA in collaboration with existing handicap authorities, the benefit of the WHS over the current system is it combines the Rules of Handicapping and the Course Rating System.

We have created this page to keep all members and visitors updated with the latest information and how it will affect you in the future.

Why has the WHS been created?

To make golf a more inclusive and equitable sport and allow as many golfers as possible the opportunity to:

  • Obtain and maintain a Handicap Index and reduce barriers of entry
  • Use their Handicap Index on any golf course around the world
  • Compete, or play recreationally, fairly regardless of where they play

The WHS was therefore developed with consideration given to club golfers who play both sporadically and more regularly. With all golfers only initially required to submit scorecards for 54 holes to acquire a Handicap Index, the new WHS is less formidable for new players.

How does the WHS work?

For golfers in England, calculating a new Handicap Index will be front of mind when adopting the WHS. The process will begin in the same way throughout the world – by accurately measuring a player’s golfing ability.

  • For regular golfers, this will be done by the WHS Software calculating the average of the eight best scores from the previous 20 rounds
  • For new golfers, they will have to submit scorecards of 54 holes to the Handicap Committee.

From this, they will be provided with an initial Handicap Index. After a player has achieved 20 scores, a ‘fully developed’ Handicap Index can be calculated to provide the most accurate representation of a player’s ability.
To ensure a player has only one Handicap Index, the golfer will nominate a home club. The home club is determined by the player, but for practicality, it is recommended this is where the player typically submits the most of their scores.

Course Rating, Bogey Rating & Slope Rating

The Carlyon Bay Golf Club has been assessed with the following ratings:

  • Men's White Tees - Course Rating 71.7 Slope Rating 129
  • Men's Yellow Tees - Course Rating 69.7 Slope Rating 121
  • Women's Red Tees - Course Rating 73.5 Slope Rating 122

But what does this mean? 

Golf Course Rating will be used to measure the playing difficulty of a golf course. It measures how many strokes a Scratch Golfer (a player who can play to a Course Handicap of zero on all rated golf courses) should take on any given course. The rating does this by assessing two main types of challenges which, when combined, result in a common base from which to compare players’ abilities: The playing length of the course and the obstacles that a player will encounter such as the size of the greens and other hazards.

A Bogey Rating is a measure of playing difficulty from a set of tees when played by a Bogey Golfer (a player who has a Course Handicap of approximately 20 for a male and 24 for a female).
Knowing the Course Rating and Bogey Rating allows the WHS to assess and rationalise the relationship between the two. From this, the difficulty of the course for all other levels of ability can be deduced.

The Slope Rating is the number which indicates the relative playing difficulty of a course for Bogey Golfers, compared to Scratch Golfers. It is the difficulty comparison between a Bogey Golfer and a Scratch Golfer from the same set of tees. In simple terms, it is the combination of the Course Rating & Bogey Rating which allows the calculation of the Slope Rating for a set of tees.

The use of Slope allows a player’s Handicap Index to be portable from course to course and country to country. It also enables acceptable scores from any rated golf course in the world to be submitted for a player’s handicap purposes.
The Slope Rating is a key component in calculating the number of strokes each player receives to play a particular golf course.

Each set of tees will have a Slope Rating value between 55 and 155 and 113 is the Slope Rating value where all players play from their Handicap Index (i.e. the course is as equally hard for both Scratch and Bogey players).

Carlyon Bay Golf Club Offical Certificate

The official certification of the Championship course

The Course Handicap Tables

The Carlyon Bay Course Rating & Rating Slope for each of the tees

Handicap Index

The most important element of the WHS for a golfer is their Handicap Index.  

The Handicap Index will:

  • Measure the ability of a player
  • Be portable from course to course
  • Allow players to complete fairly and therefore promote inclusivity within the game

A Handicap Index is calculated from the best eight scores from the last 20 rounds. As a new score is submitted, a player’s Handicap Index will automatically update to the most recent 20 scores. A player’s Handicap Index will update promptly overnight after the submission of an acceptable score and be ready before the next time they play.

How to obtain a Handicap Index? When the new system comes into play most golfers can have a Handicap Index generated, based on their existing records. For new golfers to gain their Handicap Index they will have to submit a minimum of 54 holes (using any combination of 9 and 18 holes). Their Handicap Index will be the lowest of their three rounds minus two strokes and continue to be built until the 20 scores are achieved.

Safeguards have been built into place to ensure that if you suffer a temporary loss in form, you will not move too far from your actual ability or any manipulation of handicaps.

Course Handicap

Before any player starts their round they must convert their Handicap Index into a Course Handicap. The Course Handicap will determine the number of strokes a player will receive for any set of tees on a course.

To work out your course handicap, Golfers simply have to choose the tees they are playing off that day and crossreference their Handicap Index on the Course & Slope Rating table to ascertain their Course Handicap. It really is as simple as that - they’re then ready to get out on the course and play!

You will find Course & Slope Rating Tables placed throughout the Clubhouse as we get closer to the time.

Playing Handicap

Playing Handicap is a stroke allowance that is implemented in order to maintain the integrity of the WHS when used in competition. It allows golfers to compete on a level playing field, regardless of their Handicap Index. The Course handicap converts to a Playing Handicap for competition purposes and changes depending on the format of play.

The four most important aspects of Playing Handicap to remember are: 

  • It is only used for competition purposes
  • It ensures equity to calculate competition results(via Handicap Allowances)
  • Golfers do not need to calculate it (it is generated before their round)
  • Golfers should continue to play in the mindset of their Course Handicap in competition rounds

The Playing Handicap is calculated using the Course Handicap X Handicap Allowance

The WHS has been designed with the enjoyment of recreational golf at the forefront. The WHS will allow golfers to play with freedom, therefore changing the nature in which they play the game. The focus for golfers should not be on their Playing Handicap.

General Play & Competition Rounds

How to submit a score? After the completion of a competition round, a player has to submit their scorecard as soon as possible in order for their Handicap Index to be updated. Preferably, scores should be posted at the venue being played and on the same day, as this will be when a player’s Handicap Index will be updated. Posting of scores is possible by players utilising the technology available at Carlyon Bay Golf Club.

How to verify a score? In order to verify a score and for it to count towards a players WHS, it must be played:

  • In accordance with The Rules of Golf
  • In an authorised format of play
  • Over a minimum number of 10 holes
  • With at least one other person
  • On a course with a current Course Rating and Slope Rating

How does your score count towards the WHS? Acceptable formats of play for submitting a score towards a player’s Handicap Index include:

  • Pre-registered general play ‘social’ scores
  • All individual competition rounds, both 9 and 18 holes, whether played at home or away

Non-Acceptable formats of play for submitting a score towards a player’s Handicap Index include:

  • Scores from fourball better ball
  • Other matchplay events

For golfers playing in recreational rounds with friends, either in teams or pairs, even when there is no intention of submitting a score for handicap purposes, they will need to calculate their Course Handicap prior to their round.

The Handicap Committee Role

Every golf club is required to have a Handicap Committee. They play a vital role in maintaining the integrity of the WHS. Handicap Committee members should have a good working knowledge of the new WHS. The Handicap Committee role can be summarised as follows:

  • Record, maintain and update the Handicap Index of their members
  • Notify members of any changes to their Index
  • Ensure all acceptable scores are uploaded
  • Responsible for reviewing the Handicap Record

We will shortly be integrating a digital system that allows golfers to register their round before they play and return scores.

Data Protection & How It Affects You

Under the WHS, England Golf needs access to some of your personal data. Here you will find their Privacy Notice.

For More Information

Keep up to date on how things are moving on the England Golf website and ensure you follow us on social media.