On January 1, 2020, the USGA Handicap System was officially replaced with the World Handicap System (WHS). 


The WHS unifies six different handicap systems into a single system and enables golfers of different ability to play and compete on a fair and equitable basis, in any format, on any course, anywhere in the world. 


While many of the Rules of Handicapping will remain the same, there are some significant changes that you need to be aware of when posting scores. We have highlighted the more important changes below. 


We’ve also posted this information, along with a couple of attachments from the USGA with a more detailed explanation of all of the changes on our Golf Course Information web page. 


Changes to the Handicap System

  • Your Handicap Index will be calculated differently: The Handicap Index calculation has been altered so that it is more responsive to good scores, which will allow a player’s Handicap Index to better represent their demonstrated ability, as well as the consistency of their scores. 
    • Your Course Handicap will change: In the new system, your Course Handicap will be the number of strokes needed to “Play to the Par” from the “Tees Being Played.” Par is a term that resonates with golfers, so setting “Par” as the benchmark for a Course Handicap adds simplicity to handicapping. 
    • Playing Handicap: When competing, you will also have what’s referred to as a “Playing Handicap” which will represent the number of strokes a player receives in a competition as it factors in other variables, such as different formats and Handicap Allowance. 
    • Your Handicap Index will be revised DAILY: Handicaps will now be revised daily in order to provide a fairer indication of a player’s ability in the moment. Note: A daily handicap revision also eliminates the need for a trend handicap. 
    • Maximum Hole Score for Handicap Purposes: (replaces Equitable Stroke Control): The maximum hole score for each player will be limited to a NET DOUBLE BOGEY. The calculation is simple. Par + 2 + any Handicap Strokes you receive on that hole. Please take special note: Net Double Bogey is based on your “COURSE” Handicap for the given course/tee you are playing. It is NOT based on your Handicap “Index” NOR your “Playing Handicap” (above). This means that you need to know your “Course Handicap” when posting scores. 
    • A 9-Hole Handicap Index (N) will no longer exist: In the new system, 9-hole scores are combined in the order that they are received and used to produce an 18-hole Score Differential. A player’s Handicap Index will be interchangeable for both 9-hole and 18-hole play and the method for calculating a Handicap Index will now be the same whether a player submits all 9-hole scores, 18-hole scores or a combination of both. Please take special note: In order to submit a 9-hole score, a player must play 7 to 13 holes under the Rules of Golf. When 14 or more holes are played, the score submitted qualifies as an 18-hole score. 
    • Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC): The new system has an adjustment to all scores submitted for a particular course if abnormal course or weather conditions cause scores to be unusually high or low on a given day. The PCC is an automatic procedure by the computation service that compares the scores submitted on the day against expected scoring patterns. Since the PCC will use scores submitted daily, it is crucial that scores are posted on the same day of play. 
    • PCC and Course Ratings: The PCC will also be used to identify if the Course Rating of a golf course needs to be reviewed by the local Authorized Golf Association. Because the PCC is designed to be conservative, if adjustments are taking place more frequently, the Course Rating may not be accurately representing the difficulty of the golf course. This is another reason why scores should be posted the same day you play. 
  • No more Adjustment when Competing from Different Tees: The new course Handicap Calculation will allow players to compete from different tees without any additional adjustment since all players will have the same benchmark. It’s worth noting that if the tees were to have a different Par an additional adjustment would be necessary. But this is not the case at Hobbit’s Glen Golf Club, as all of the tees have a Par of 72. 
    • Timely Submission of Scores: Due to the implementation of Daily Revisions and the PCC, the importance of TIMELY SUBMISSION OF SCORES will be a vital part of ensuring the integrity of the new Handicap System. By submitting scores the day you play, you ensure that your Handicap Index will be a responsive and up-to-date indicator of your ability. No excuses anymore, please be sure to post all of your scores the same day you play! 
  • New Handicap Controls: The new system will make handicap manipulation more difficult by limiting an extreme upward movement of a Handicap Index with an automatically and immediate reduction in a Handicap Index when a player records an exceptional score (not just a tournament score) of least 7 strokes better than their Target Score. The controls include soft and hard caps along with exceptional score reductions. Tournament scores are no longer a distinction. These safeguards will help provide greater integrity within the system and promote fun and fair play for all golfers. 
  • Handicap Monitoring: A player must have a Handicap Index to be eligible for competition. It’s important to remember that having a Handicap Index is not a right, it is a privilege. Moving forward, the Handicap Committee will be making a concerted effort to monitor each member’s handicap and may move to adjust handicap, suspend or withdraw tournament playing privileges, if warranted. 

Helpful Links: 

USGA WHS Changes Summary 

USGA WHS Changes with Images