World Handicap System – England Golf Update 16 September 2019

World Handicap System – England Golf Update 16 September 2019

I must say that England Golf are slow in coming forward with any information useful to Golf Clubs regarding the introduction of the World Handicap System.

They have introduced National WHS Workshops, but even information from these doesn’t seem to filter down to Club Members.

On 16 September 2019, England  Golf issued the following statement:

England Golf sign licence for World Handicap System ahead of November 2020 start date


The governing bodies of amateur golf in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales are delighted to announce they have signed the licence for the new World Handicap System 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 structures presently 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 additiont 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.

Under the new system a player’s handicap will be based on the average of eight best scores from their last 20 rounds.

WHS will also take into account factors currently not fully represented in the existing handicapping procedure through a course and slope rating system.

“We believe the introduction of the new World Handicap System will have a hugely positive impact for golf around the globe,” said England Golf CEO Nick Pink.

“Our team are working hard to deliver the transition from the current system to WHS and will continue to confer with the clubs, counties and our technology partners to ensure that everything runs to plan ahead of the start date.”

Sinead Heraty, Chief Executive of the ILGU said: ‘The Irish Ladies Golf Union and the Golfing Union of Ireland are delighted that the new World Handicap System will come into practice in November 2020.

“The transition from an incremental system to an averaging one will be period of great change, however once a planned education process is complete, the new system will make handicapping much more consistent globally.”

Pat Finn, CEO of the Golfing Union of Ireland added: “We look forward to meeting with our member clubs over the coming months to outline the World Handicap System. With CONGU adopting the system for Ireland and Great Britain from late next year we need to ensure golfers across Ireland are prepared for the change.”

Andrew McKinlay, Chief Executive of Scottish Golf, commented: “Following recent education seminars across the country, Scottish Golf is pleased to confirm that the new World Handicap System will be implemented on time on November 2, 2020. We believe that moving to a more unified handicap system will be beneficial to all golfers.

“The team at Scottish Golf will continue to liaise with, and support clubs across the country to ensure the transition between now and next year is as seamless as possible for everyone involved.”

The CEO of Wales Golf, Richard Dixon, is also delighted to mark another step on the road to WHS.

He said: “A lot of hard work has been going on behind the scenes in preparation for the launch of the World Handicap System and we are delighted that we have reached this key stage of the process.

“We are very excited about the positive benefits WHS will have to the game of golf in Wales and across the golfing world.

“The Wales Golf team look forward to working with our clubs, fellow home Unions, technology partners and the R&A over the next year to ensure that the transition is as seamless as possible for clubs and most importantly for golfers.”

CONGU, the United States Golf Association (USGA), Golf Australia, the European Golf Association (EGA), the South African Golf Association (SAGA) and the Argentine Golf Association (AAG) represent around 15 million golfers in 80 countries who currently maintain a handicap.

The aligning of all six handicapping authorities behind the WHS is a hugely significant step in the modernisation of golf across the globe.

WHS has been introduced under the auspices of the USGA and The R&A.

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A said: “The R&A’s purpose is to ensure golf is thriving in 50 years’ time and the World Handicap System (WHS) is one of the key ways in which we can ensure the long-term health of the sport.

“We all want to encourage more people to take up golf and having a handicap which provides an accurate measure of playing ability is one of the best ways of achieving that.”

Further information about the new World Handicap System can be found on the England Golf website at and also via the R and A website at

For details on England Golf’s educational workshops on WHS visit :

I will post more information as soon as I hear any.



Can a player really take a Mulligan while playing an Official Round of Golf?

Can a player really take a Mulligan while playing an Official Round of Golf?

Normally not in Stroke Play, but there is an exception to Rule 11.1b which states that when a ball played from a putting green accidentally hits any person, animal or movable obstruction on the putting green “the stroke does not count and the original ball or another ball must be replaced on its original spot”. Note that this is a MUST not an option.

So, in this circumstance, you don’t count your stroke and replay your stroke from, or as near as possible to your ball’s original position.

Just recently two professional golfers, Jesper Parnevik and Paul Casey found themselves in this position.

Jesper Parnevik had a short bogey putt at the par-3 3rd at Prestonwood CC, in North Carolina, when his ball lipped out of the hole and struck his foot.

He then tapped in for, what he believed was, a double-bogey five.

Unfortunately, Parnevik breached Exception 2 to Rule 11.1b, his ball having been on the putting green when he first putted and he ended up having to take a treble-bogey six.

Why? The first putt didn’t count but he should have replaced his ball on its original spot. The second putt, the tap in, did count but, he has now played a ball from a wrong place and picks up the general penalty, which is two strokes.

Earlier in the season, Paul Casey, at the Porsche European Open, had a similar experience when video footage showed his ball had rolled over a moving insect as it dropped into the hole.

But Casey was not penalised for not replaying his stroke; why?

He avoided a penalty because he wasn’t aware of the incident Rule – a defence that, unfortunately, was not available to Parnevik.

Another unusual rule that applies in Stroke Play which you may not come across during your regular rounds of golf, but nevertheless bear it in mind.

However this does not apply should your moving ball, on a putting green, strike a flagstick that has been moved from the hole or a person holding the removed flagstick.

This incident is dealt with under Rule 13.2b(2), where there is no penalty for striking the flagstick or a person holding the flagstick, and in this instance you MUST play your ball as it lies.

Enjoy your golf


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