Three Rivers Golf Members
On 2nd November 2020 the way handicaps are calculated and used will dramatically change. Over the past year
or so we have all heard about the World Handicap System. On the 2nd November the World Handicap System
(WHS) goes live in the UK.
At present we have a handicap which we use at any course that we play irrespective of whether that course is
considered easy or hard to play. Take for example our Club; we have 2 courses the Kings and the Jubilee. At
present we use the same handicap on both courses although many would argue that the Kings is more
In its simplest form the WHS addresses this issue. With its introduction, handicaps will vary depending on the
degree of difficulty of the course being played. At our Club we will have a different handicap when playing on the
Kings or Jubilee course. Your handicap may even vary depending on which Tee set you play from.
As its name suggests, the WHS is a world-wide initiative to standardize the way that handicaps are used. It does
this by using two new concepts – Handicap Index, and Slope Rating. Handicap Index reflects the individual
players golfing ability. Slope Rating reflects the difficulty of the course to be played. Combining the two will
determine the handicap that the player will use on that day and on that particular course.
New World Handicap System goes live on 1 November 2020
Written with the help of Ian Bullock :
Club Member and County Handicap Advisor, Essex Golf Union.
Published : 09/09/2020
The higher the Slope Rating the more difficult the course therefore the more additional strokes will be needed for
players with less ability to be able to play it. The lower the Slope Rating the less strokes will be needed.
Let’s see how this will work out in practice. Let’s take for example a member of the Kings Course with a current
CONGU handicap of 17.2. Assuming that his 20 most recent scores are fairly typical, his Handicap Index would
work out to be 15.8. If he played the Jubilee Yellow Tees in the morning, he would play with a handicap of 14.0. If
he went on to play the Kings Yellow Tees in the afternoon, his handicap would be 18.0.
You will not need a mathematical brain or calculator to work all this out. With the implementation of the WHS
each Club will display a conversion table showing the handicap to be used for the course and each tee positions
for different Handicap Indexes. When you arrive at the course you will need to use this table to find out your
course handicap for the round. The England Golf website will also show the conversation tables for all UK Clubs.
At midnight on the 1st November your CONGU handicap will be converted to a WHS Handicap Index. This will be
done automatically by England Golf and fed back to the Club’s handicap computer system. Our new WHS
Handicap will be available on and from the 2nd November.
After playing in a competitive round of golf, you will need to enter your score into the software system before
midnight on the day of your game for it to be recognised and processed. Your Handicap Index will then be revised
overnight and be available to view the following morning.
The current requirement to submit a minimum number of competitive rounds in orders to maintain a
“Competition” handicap will disappear. Each competitive round of golf will update your most recent 20 scores
from which the average of the best 8 will be taken.
The new system has been designed to accurately reflect your current playing ability by averaging the best 8 of
your most recent scores. However, the accuracy of your handicap is dependent on the returns you make. Those
submitting relatively few scores to their playing record will find that their Handicap Index is unlikely to reflect their
current ability and may be based on scores stretching back a number of years.

Most courses in the UK will have been fully Slope Rated by November.  The Slope Ratings for our courses have been assessed and are :

Handicap Index

Your Handicap Index will be calculated by averaging the best 8 of your most recent 20 scores over the past 2 years.  If you don’t have 20 qualifying scores in this period then your Handicap Index will be based on an adjusted calculation.  Once you have a full record of 20 scores your Handicap Index will be based on the ‘Best 8 from 20’ principle.


These scores will then be used and adjusted to reflect a handicap benchmarked on a statistically perfect, average course.

Slope Rating

The Slope Rating of a course is derived by combining two elements, Course Rating and Bogey Rating.  Both these elements reflect the playing difficulty of the course from different Tee positions.


Course Rating is the score a ‘scratch’ player is expected to achieve in normal playing conditions while a Bogey Rating is the score that a player with a handicap of 20 for men and 24 for ladies is expected to achieve in normal conditions.  It is the difference between the two ratings that produces the Slope Rating.

The following videos provide more insight into the changes.

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