World Handicap System 2020 – Data Requirement 29 September 2020
Well, just over 4 weeks to go before the World Handicap System launches in GB&I on Monday 2 November 2020.
It has been a difficult time for Golf Clubs to prepare for this launch, but I hope they have run through their WHS Checklist and have everything in place for a smooth transition.
In preparation for the launch of the World Handicap System (WHS) England Golf have sent communications to support all golf clubs with their transition to the WHS. This notice outlines the necessary steps to ensure that your Golf Club’s handicapping software and member data is prepared for launch on Monday 2 November 2020.
Golf clubs in England must provide two key pieces of information to ensure their members obtain a handicap index for the start of the WHS on 2 November.
A member’s email address
A member’s date of birth
*This information should be logged on golf club handicapping software systems by 5 October 2020 in preparation for it to be transferred across to the central WHS database.*
Without this information, golf club members will not receive a handicap index when the transition from the current CONGU handicapping system to WHS takes place.
It is advisable that every member has her/his own personal Email Address, this will help England Golf to identify and prevent duplicate CDH entries.
England Golf will be moving to a higher integrity level of handicapping for and on behalf of its affiliated members with the introduction of WHS.
The initial transfer of information is required to ensure player identification and to eliminate the duplication of handicap records.
Ongoing communication with affiliated members will be for handicap purposes and will be fully compliant with GDPR regulations.
Junior members without an email address of their own may use an email address of a parent or guardian. SafeGolf procedures as well as GDPR regulations remain of paramount importance in such cases.
If you are concerned about providing this information to England Golf and wonder why they require it and how they are going to use it, you can download a copy of the Data FAQs by clicking on the Download Button below:
Please co-operate with your Club as much as you can, they have a difficult job to do.
With COVID-19 restrictions having made it impossible to hold Educational World Handicap System seminars at Golf Clubs I have placed in this post and on the My Golf Website a series of Videos produced by England Golf that may help you to understand the forthcoming Handicapping System due to be introduced on Monday 2 November 2020.
Despite the COVID-19 Pandemic England Golf have reassured us that the new World Handicap System will be rolled out in Great Britain & Ireland on Monday 2nd November 2020.
They have embarked on a ‘Know the Score’ campaign to educate Golf Club Committees and Golfers on aspects of the new World Handicap System and issued every Golf Club with a Digital Education Toolkit, a copy of which you can download by clicking on the Download button below:
From that date your handicap will be based on the average of your best 8 scores from the last 20 rounds, and will vary depending on the difficulty of the course being played, as described below.
Next season your handicap will be known as your “handicap index”,
No more Qualifying Rounds, Buffer Zones or 0.1 increases.
If you don’t have the full 20 scores at transition your handicap index will still be allocated and continue to be developed by the same process as an initial handicap. The more cards you put in this season the better your “handicap index” will reflect your current playing ability. Don’t forget you can put in as many supplementary scores as you like.
If you can look at your own handicap record on your club website you may see it now shows your last 20 scores which will be used to calculate your “handicap index”. Later in the year your record should also show your “handicap index” alongside your current handicap so you can see how they compare . For most golfers there will be little difference.
Your “handicap index” will not lapse as long as you are a member of a golf club. Annual reviews by the handicap committee will still take place .You should note that unlike some other parts of the world the system in GB&I will not require all your social golf rounds to be pre-registered and count for handicap purposes.
Wherever you play you will use your “handicap index” to work out your “course handicap”. This is done simply by looking at a chart which will be available by the first tee (Apps and online calculators will also be available to prepare in advance!)
Your “course handicap” will vary depending on the difficulty of the course you are playing on ( known as its “slope rating”) The system is designed to enable us to compete or play recreationally with anyone else on a fair and equal basis .
Put simply, on a more difficult course than your Home Course your “course handicap” will be higher, on an easier course than your Home Course your “course handicap” will be lower. This will make matches fairer.
It is a good idea to begin to familiarise yourself with the changes before next season. There is a wealth of information available on the England Golf website including an excellent and straightforward “Rules of Handicapping Player Reference Guide” which is available at the bottom of this page or on the My-Golf website.
The main reasons for the Handicap changes are to bring the calculation of all handicaps, worldwide, into line so that they are comparable wherever you play. A typical home example is when you have a 20 handicap at your Home Club and you play another 20 handicap golfer from another Club, where the course may be a lot more difficult than your Home Course.
Under the new World Handicap System all handicaps (Handicap Indexes) will be based on a golfer playing a Standard Course which will be the same one for ALL golfers.
This will be a lot fairer allowing all golfers to play with or against each other on an even playing field (or Golf Course!)
A second reason for introducing the World Handicap System is that the current CONGU Handicap System, with its Buffer Zones and 0.1 increases etc., gives an indication of your playing potential and is not a true representation of your current playing ability. We all know only too well that if we get cut following a good round, it is difficult to play to our new handicap. Under the new WHS, with it being an average based system your handicap will not see-saw so much and in some cases may not be affected at all depending on your most recent scores recorded.
A third reason is that there will no longer be any Qualifying or Non-qualifying Competitions. There will no longer be Competition or Non-competition Handicaps, you will not have to submit a minimum of 3 scores in order to maintain your handicap, so long as you remain a member of an Affiliated Golf Club you will ne er lose your handicap indx.
The system will also have a mechanism (Capping) to ensure that your handicap does not go up or down too quickly within a 12 month period, unless you do record an exceptional score at some time; but, again this is dealt with sympathetically.
Although all this sounds quite daunting there is no real need to be overly concerned, all calculations should be performed by your Golf Club’s Handicap Software and in terms of day to day playing, in all honesty, not too much changes; all you will need to know is your Course Handicapor, if you are playing in a Competition, your Playing Handicap, before you start each round because these change depending on which Golf Course, Teeing Area or Competition Format you are using.
All Golf Clubs will provide a Course Handicap Table, in the ProShop, Clubhouse, First Tee or Mobile App from which you can determine the Course Handicap before you play, but during your round, and following it, there are no noticeable changes, just enter your score according to your Golf Club’s required procedure, as you do currently, and you will be notified of any change to your Handicap Index overnight.
Course Rating, Bogey Rating and Slope Rating
Course Rating replaces Standard Scratch (SSS) and represents the score that a scratch golfer (Handicap 0) is expected to achieve on the course.
Bogey Ratingrepresents the score that a Bogey golfer (Handicap for Men around 20 and for Ladies around 24) is expected to achieve on the course.
Below is a series of images that may help those of you who would like more detail and help you to further understand the WHS now you are aware of some of the new terms and definitions, or you may download a copy by clicking on the download button at the bottom of the page.
With the World Handicap System up and running in most countries you can now search for the Slope Rating of many Golf Course, worldwide.
Introduction of the World Handicap System in GB&I is still on track for 2nd November 2020.
All Golf Clubs have been issued with digital educational material allowing them to organise club information sessions .
If you want to know your Golf Course’s, or any Golf Course’s, Slope Rating, follow the link below to the USGA Course Rating and Slope Database (TM) where you can, by entering details of a Golf Course, search for the Slope Rating of any Golf Course Worldwide which has had its Slope Rating issued for 2020. For England enter Country as ‘England’ NOT ‘UK and Leave the Club State field blank. Note that the layout you see will be different for Windows and iOS (iPad, iPhone) best layout is Windows:
Will cards need to be kept for handicap under the new world handicapping system?’
With the World Handicap System being just around the corner, for some countries anyway, questions are being raised about some points that golfers have heard of or have become aware of and are wondering what, if any, impact they may have on their golf.
One such question is how social games will be affected and whether scores from these games will need to be submitted.
I received the following query the other week:
‘We currently have a weekend roll up at our club, we play for £3, off the yellow tees. Will cards need to be kept for handicap under the new world handicapping system?’
The situation with the , World Handicap System, as it stands to date, is that ,in GB&, the date for its introduction is 2 November 2020 and information from England Golf, at the moment, is at best sketchy.
Being an average-based handicap system, as opposed to our present potential ability-based system, England Golf will be encouraging players to submit as many scores as they can.
The requirement, at the moment, for submitting the results of any Club roll-up, as suggested by England Golf, is that the roll-up must be organised by Club Members under the Rules of Golf and must consist of at least 12 players who have paid to play in the Roll-up and prizes are to be awarded.
The more scores that are submitted means a better representation of a player’s current playing ability.
England Golf are busy running WHS Workshops Nationally and hope to provide all Clubs with full information packs early in 2020.
Meanwhile the information that I have been able to elicit to date, on what will be considered as an Acceptable Score – similar to the current Qualifying Score, is that it will include any:
Social Scores (the new name for Supplementary Scores), and can include
Scores submitted in Society events (if conforming with the Rules of Golf) and
informal roll-ups/swindles organised by members if conforming with the Rules of Golf, have at least 12 players who have paid to play and prizes, of some description, are awarded.
CONGU will not, however, be making it mandatory to submit scores from casual golf, as is currently the case in the USA; this may change in the future to bring GB&I into line with the rest of the world.
Players must pre-register on the computer, at the Club where the round will be played, prior to the round for a score to count. it is anticipated that scores from better-balls competitions may be included at some point in the future.
I am working on publishing more information on the WHS on a webpage on My-Golf.uk, and will email you details as soon as it is complete but hope this information helps to answer any questions you may have on submitting scores from social games
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 https://www.englandgolf.org/article/world-handicap-system-whs and also via the R and A website at https://www.randa.org/WorldHandicapSystem
Some players seem a little concerned about England Golf’s decision to enforce CONGU Clauses 4.5b and 8.12 of the CONGU Unified Handicapping System and the effect it may have on their handicap.
– Clause 4.5b allows the Union to require a player to return to the Home Club information regarding scores in Non-Qualifying Competitions as provided by Clause 8.12.
– Clause 8.12 states that the player must provide to his Home Club information regarding scores in Non-qualifying Competitions.
In a statement made by Gemma Hunter, Handicap and Course Rating Manager of England Golf, players should not be overly concerned because the submission of theses away scores do not impact directly on their handicap.
The reason for making players submit these away scores is to gather evidence on the performance of players playing Competitions away from their home club.
Over recent years, England Golf has been aware of a number of cases of players who protect inflated handicaps, only to repeatedly collect high-value rewards when playing in competitions away from home and at this stage it is
purely an information gathering exercise to provide clubs with evidence to support handicap reviews.
The ruling has been introduced for members of English golf clubs to stop what England Golf calls rogue players manipulating the system to their advantage.
Because it is difficult to identify individual players the new stipulation requires that everyone playing in non-qualifying competitions away from home must return their scores to their home club. Players who ignore this responsibility could even have their handicap suspended.
England Golf has introduced this clause of the CONGU handicapping system to provide clubs with evidence to support handicap reviews.
The new system will highlight players who, for example, take part in as many competitions as possible at home and whose handicaps creep up 0.1 on every occasion – but who repeatedly win prizes away from home. Similarly, it will
show up the players who play the bare minimum of competitions at home, but who are known for their away successes.’
Following a Continuous Assessment Report or an Annual Review, if there is suspicion over a player’s handicap and known playing ability then looking at a player’s submitted Non -qualifying scores may provide evidence that her/his current Handicap is not a true reflection of their playing ability and a Handicap adjustment is justified.
The new rule applies to all stroke play scores returned under competition conditions, including team events.
Individual scores or Team results must be returned in all Singles, Am-Am and 4BBB with the exception of Texas Scrambles, Foursomes and Greensome competitions, or casual social rounds.
Another comment by Gemma Hunter, states, “We’re not talking about a sleeve of balls. These are big prizes including luxury trips overseas, sets of clubs and electric trolleys. It’s essential to do this to protect the integrity of the system. We can’t sit back and let people manipulate the system, but without evidence clubs can’t take any action.
It’s not about recording every score in a Fourball Better Ball but returning the team score.
If the same individuals or teams keeping winning or coming near the top of leader boards at events away from home, that should at least indicate to their club’s handicapping officials that further investigations are required – and the only way to achieve that is by asking for all the scores
to be reported.
Social golf is not affected, but clubs are advised to be aware of performances in swindles which the handicap committee could take into account at the annual review.
England Golf also recommends that clubs which run non-qualifying open competitions should inform the prize winners’ home clubs of their scores.”
Individual scores or Team results must be returned in all Singles, Am-Am and 4BBB with the exception of Texas Scrambles, Foursomes and Greensome competitions, or casual social rounds, failure to return these scores by the
player could result in loss or suspension of handicap under clause 24.1.
If and when the New world Handicap System comes into operation these non-qualifying scores should be recorded automatically and rogue players identified by the Handicap Software ‘factoring in memory of demonstrated ability for better responsiveness and control’, which means it will pick up players whose recorded scores may indicate a playing ability different from that expected from their handicap, either better or worse.
You can download a copy of England Golf’s Recording of Non-qualifying Scores by clicking on the download button below:
You can download a copy of England Golf’s Reporting Non-Qualifying Scores Q&A by clicking on the download button below:
So enjoy your golf, but play fair and help root out these bandits.
I received a question recently as to the status of Shotgun Starts and whether they could be run as Qualifying Competitons for Handicap Purposes
Under the Rules of Golf, a Committee is at liberty to set any teeing ground where a player will start her/his round and can stipulate the order in which holes are to be played in that round, so covering split tee starts and shotgun
Under the CONGU Unified Handicap System Decision 1(g) Shotgun Starts may be played as Qualifying Competitions so long as the course being played conforms to Competition Playing Conditions
Definition: Competition Play Conditions
Competition Play Conditions prevail during Stroke Play, Par/Bogey and Stableford competitions over 18 holes and for competitions played over a Designated Nine-Hole Course under the Rules of Golf from Competition Tees.
Competition Play Conditions shall not prevail when the length of the course played varies by more than 100 yards (91 metres) from the length of the Measured Course.
Note 1: Special rules apply when the length of a Measured Course has been temporarily reduced or increased – see Clause 13.
Note 2: Special rules apply to Nine-Hole Qualifying Competitions – see Clause 22.
Decision: Dec.1(g) Status of a competition in which shotgun starts are employed or competitors are authorised by the Committee to start other than at the first tee.
Competitions in which competitors are authorised by the Committee to commence play elsewhere than from the first tee will be Qualifying Competitions for handicap purposes provided all other requirements of the
UHS are satisfied. This includes ‘Shotgun Starts’.
So the answer is yes, Shotgun Competitons can be organised as Qualifying Competitions.
England Golf Update on Golf World Handicap System – 2 May 2019
Golf’s new World Handicap System (WHS) remains on track for implementation starting in 2020, according to The R&A
However, it is now anticipated that England will not implement it until the Autumn of 2020.
The system 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,
Education has begun with events being held in Singapore, South Africa, Great Britain and Ireland, Japan, Argentina, Brazil, Continental Europe, Canada, the Caribbean and the USA.
A secure resource portal, accessible via whs.com, has also been launched to provide national associations with a library of materials that they can use to help support their own education efforts.
Coinciding with this release, The R&A and the USGA are launching a social media video campaign to remind golfers of the eight key features of the new Rules of Handicapping and to reveal more details. These features include:
Minimum number of scores to establish a Handicap Index and maximum Handicap Index of 54.0
Basis of calculation of Handicap Index
Acceptability of scores for handicap purposes
Course Rating and Slope Rating
Calculation of a Playing Handicap
Maximum hole score for handicap purposes
Adjustments for abnormal playing conditions
Frequency of updating a Handicap Index
Significant progress has been made in preparation for the rollout of the new system, which includes building a library of education materials, finalising the new Rules of Handicapping, release of the technical specifications and the continuation of testing. Many national associations around the world are busy ensuring that their golf courses are rated in accordance with the Course Rating System and working to update local software platforms so that they are ready to apply the new Rules of Handicapping.
While many countries will be ready to transition to the WHS early in 2020, given both the magnitude of the change for some jurisdictions and varying seasonality throughout the world, it is anticipated that some will need more time.
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “There are many ways in which it is important for golf to modernise and become more appealing for people thinking of taking up the sport and handicapping is clearly one of them. The World Handicap System is a major new initiative for the sport which will establish a clearer and more consistent handicapping process for golfers throughout the world.
“We are working closely with national associations, as we do across all our core activities, to ensure they are fully prepared for the introduction of the new system as soon as possible after it becomes available for implementation.”
“The World Handicap System is the latest example of our work to make the game more welcoming,” said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA. “Golfers throughout the world will be able to play equitably, measure their success and more fully enjoy and engage with the game. After working with national associations across the world on Course Rating throughout the past 30 years and now the World Handicap System, this monumental collaborative effort will benefit everyone in golf.”
Since its conception, the development of the WHS has focused on three key goals: to encourage as many golfers as possible to obtain and maintain a Handicap Index; to enable golfers of differing abilities, genders and nationalities to transport their Handicap Index to any course around the world and compete on a fair basis; and to indicate with sufficient accuracy the score a golfer is reasonably capable of achieving on any course around the world, playing under normal conditions.
The system has been devised following extensive consultation with the six existing handicapping authorities: Golf Australia, the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) in Great Britain and Ireland, the European Golf Association (EGA), the South African Golf Association (SAGA), the Argentine Golf Association (AAG) and the USGA. The Japan Golf Association and Golf Canada have also been closely involved in developing the new system.
Widespread support for the WHS was expressed in an international survey of 52,000 golfers with 76% in favour of the new system and a further 22% saying they were willing to consider its benefits. Focus groups were also held in different regions of the world to elicit detailed feedback on the features of the new system, which have contributed to the finalised Rules of Handicapping.
You may read the England Golf Autumn Presentation by clicking on the link below:
Or Download a copy by clicking on the Download Button below:
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