Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC) – Updated August 2022

Update on the Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC) August 2022

At the end of each day, the playing conditions calculation takes place automatically to determine if scores made at the course were significantly higher or lower than the expected scores of the players who made them, primarily due to weather and/or course set up.

If scores were abnormally low or high, a PCC adjustment between -1 and +3 will be applied in the calculation of Score Differentials™ of everyone who played that day. A negative (-) adjustment means the course played easier than expected and a positive (+) adjustment means the course played more difficult than expected. A PCC of 0 means the course played as expected, which will be the case on most days.

The PCC:

  • Uses scoring data so no action is required by the club/course staff or golfer (except for posting scores),
  • Includes only scores made by players with a Handicap Index® of 36.0 or below,
  • Considers both 9-hole and 18-hole scores in the calculation, and
  • Only takes place if at least 8 scores were posted on a given day.
  • (Rule 5.6, Rules of Handicapping)

Date published: 22 Aug 2022

Since the launch of the World Handicap System in November 2020, England Golf has received feedback from golfers, clubs and counties on a wide range of topics.

One of the most talked about aspects of WHS has been the Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC) and its lack of movement compared to the old Competition Scratch Score (CSS).

England Golf have been analysing this very carefully across GB&I and have presented this to The R&A to help with their own research and that of other countries on this topic. As a result of this work, we can report that a change will be made to the algorithm that calculates PCC.

Statement from The R&A/USGA

Analysis of scoring data provided from 24 countries around the world indicates that a change to the rounding method used within the current PCC algorithm would increase the instance of an adjustment for abnormal conditions by an average of 5%.

For example, in countries where an adjustment for PCC only occurs on average 10% of the time on eligible days, this change will increase the average to about 15%.

This small change, recently approved by the Handicap Operations Committee, is in response to feedback from national associations that the current PCC algorithm is too conservative.

While this may feel like a small change, we expect the impact to be significant in highlighting days where a player’s performance was significantly different from that expected by the system.

Please note that there will be no change to the visibility of the calculation. This is an algorithm built within the WHS and is not available to clubs.

This change will not be made retrospectively and will take place on or around Monday 22 August 2022.

Mixed and Multi-Tee Events – Handicap Adjustments

Mixed and Multi-Tee Events – Handicap Adjustments

Following the introduction of the WHS it is becoming more prevalent that clubs are allowing mixed competitions and play from different tees, according to a player’s playing ability or designated non-gender tees within the same competition.  One of the intentions of the WHS was to encourage Mixed Tee events, seeing them as the future of golf competitions.

In such cases additional adjustments to playing handicaps are required to make play equitable.

Where players are playing from tees that have been allocated CRs, an adjustment MUST be applied to the handicaps of players playing the course with the higher CR. These adjustments are calculated differently depending on whether the format is Medal Strokeplay or Stableford (and Par/Bogey), 18-hole or 9-hole Competitions.

Many of you, however, are still having concerns as to how and why these adjustments are necessary.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to the number of strokes, in Medal Play, or the number of points, in Stableford or Par/Bogey Competitions, that you are required to score to play to your Course Handicap.

A frequent question that is asked is, “When players are competing from different tees, why do we have to make a second adjustment (Handicap Adjustment)?”

Now there are a number of reasons for it, which players are not always aware of. Namely:

  1. When organising Mixed competitions of any type, stroke play or match play, it must be realised that the competition is effectively being held over separate courses as all the tees will each have their own Course Ratings albeit that they may share common fairways and greens.
  2. It is important to remember, that golf handicaps level the playing field when competing from the SAME tees, unless it is a mix-gendered competition. Handicaps in golf, though, do not level the playing field when players play from different sets of tees or from the same tee with different Course Ratings (i.e., men and women’s ratings).
  3. It would be entirely unfair if this difference is not accounted for by making an alteration to the handicaps of the players playing the harder course (that with the higher Course Rating) hence the requirement that handicaps MUST be adjusted.  
  4. Course Rating is, by definition, the score a Scratch player would be expected to return over a particular course. All handicaps are then adjusted relative to players’ performances against that score. It may seem obvious to state (but seems to be a point not appreciated by a good number of players and committees) that for instance the Ladies’ Course Rating is determined against the performance of a Scratch handicap lady player and the Men’s likewise for a Scratch man.

As you will know from the performance of professional golfers in both Europe and the USA, the best ladies cannot return scores that compare with the best men. As there is no compensation allowed in professional golf, ladies and men do not (generally) compete in mixed events for a single prize, or if they did the winner would only be a man. It could be argued that a club running a competition without making the adjustment for any difference in the Course Ratings is introducing a Condition of Competition that is, at best outside the spirit of, and at worst contrary to, Rule of Golf 3.3b (which does not allow a player to declare a handicap higher than that to which they are entitled). The argument being that if an upward adjustment is not applied to the player on the harder course (higher Course Rating) those on the easier course are effectively playing off too high a handicap, contrary to Rule of Golf 3,3b

To provide equity, then, when competitors are playing from 2 or more different sets of tees, adjustments MUST be made to the Playing Handicaps of some players.

NOTE: These adjustments are used solely to determine competition results and do not affect the player’s Scoring Record or Handicap Index calculation.

On another point, following the introduction of the World Handicap System, many players, also, question the adjustment where players are competing from different sets of tees, or men and women are competing from the same set of tees considering the tees have been allocated a Course Rating and a Slope Rating for both genders.

This can be a difficult concept to understand, and I hope that what follows may help you to understand the position better.

So, we need to define what the Slope Rating does, as many players think the different Slope Ratings automatically take care of the difference in the two sets of tees.

This is a myth. The Slope Rating is used to convert your Handicap Index to a Course Handicap, which allows you to receive the number of strokes you need to play to the level of a scratch golfer for a particular set of tees.  In other words, it is the number of strokes you need to play to the Course Rating for that particular set of tees, i.e., what score you need to Play to your Handicap from that particular set of tees.

With Stableford, Par/Bogey Competitions it will be the number of points you need to play to your handicap for the particular set of tees you are playing.

As an illustration:                                                                                                               

James and John are playing against each other. They each have a 15.8 Handicap Index.

John plays from the White tees which has a Course Rating of 68.5, a Slope Rating of 121 and Par of 70. If you were to look at a handicap table, you would find that John’s Course Handicap is 17.

James plays from the Yellow tees, which has a Course Rating of 64.6, a Slope Rating of 107 and a Par of 69. James’s Course Handicap is 15.

So, what do they each need to score to ‘play to their handicap’?

To find this number we can use what is called a target score, which is the Course Rating added to their Course Handicap. In our example the target scores would be as follows:

For Medal, Gross Score & Maximum Score (18 hole)

John’s Target Score = 68.5 + 17 = 86                          

James’ Target Score = 64.6 + 15 = 80

For Stableford, Par/Bogey Competitions where point count is used:

John’s Target Point Score = 36 – (68.5 – 70) = 37.5 (Rounded to 38)                        

James’ Target Point Score = 36 – (64.6 – 69) = 40.4 (Rounded to 40)

For Medal, Gross Score & Maximum Score (18 hole)

If John scores 86 playing exactly to his handicap his Net will be 69.

If James scores 80, again playing to his handicap, his Net will be 65.

James wins every time.

This is because the course rating is 3.9 (rounded to 4) strokes different from the White tees to the Yellow tees. So, if players compete from different tees a second adjustment needs to be made to equalise their handicaps by adding the difference in the Course Rating to John’s handicap or subtracting the difference in Course Ratings to James’s handicap.

In equity they should both end up with the same Net score if they play to their handicaps.

To adjust ‘off the lower rating’ you would give John a Course Handicap of 21 (17+4), which will now produce the following results: Table 16

NameGross ScoreCourse HandicapNet Score
John8621 (17+4)65
James801565

Or adjust using ‘off Higher Course Rating’, and give James a Course Handicap of 11 (15-4), which will now produce the following results:

NameGross ScoreCourse HandicapNet Score
John861765
James801165

For Stableford, Par/Bogey Competitions where point count is used (18-holes):

NameStableford PointsPoints to Play to HandicapScore
John383838
James404040

James wins every time

This is because the points required to play to handicap is 1.9 (rounded to 2) points different from the White tees to the Yellow tees. So, if players compete from different tees a second adjustment needs to be made to equalise their handicaps by adding the difference in the Points Required to Play to Handicap to John’s handicap or subtracting the difference in Points Required to Play to Handicap to James’s handicap.

NameStableford PointsAdding Adjustment for Difference in Points to Play to HandicapNet Score
John38+240
James40040

NameStableford PointsSubtracting Adjustment for Difference in Points to Play to HandicapNet Score
John38038
James40-238

Adjustments for 9-Hole Competitions are different because the calculation takes into account (Course Rating – Par), which in GB&I it does not for 18-hole Competitions.

Medal, Gross Score and Maximum Score (9-Holes)

A player competing from a set of tees with a higher Par receives additional strokes equal to the difference in Pars

Stableford and Par/Bogey (9-holes)

No adjustment is required. It is accounted for in the calculation of a 9-hole Course Handicap.

In the illustrations above, we have reached our desired goal, where both players have scored to their Course Handicap and their net scores result in a tie.

In some jurisdictions it is recommended that the adjustment be made to the smaller group of players. Example: A tournament has 48 players; 40 are playing from the harder rated tees and 8 are playing from the easier rated tees. An adjustment is made to the course handicap of the 8 players playing the easier rated tees and no adjustment needs to be made to the larger group of players.

Nowhere in the above example has the word par been mentioned. Players often try to throw par into the mix when trying to figure if scores are equal. Par is of little relevance in the handicap system and is a poor indicator of predicting score. For example, one course may be 5500 yards long and have a par of 72 and another may be 7200 yards long and have a par of 72. It is highly unlikely that scores on these two courses would be equal for any level of golfer.

In the example, we have used both Course Rating and Slope Rating. The point is that Slope Rating by itself has little meaning within the Handicap System. There must be a Course Rating standard to connect to the Slope Rating in order for there to be any meaning. If there is one thing to remember from all of this, it is that the Slope Rating is used to convert your Handicap Index to a Course Handicap for a particular set of tees, which allows you to receive the number of strokes you need to play to the level of a scratch golfer for that particular set of tees.

There is then the question of ‘Which Courses to use?’

WHS states quite clearly that each set of players should play a course for which the Course Rating (CR) has been allocated for them, whenever possible. Normally this will mean that the men play from the Men’s Tees using the Men’s CR and the ladies from the Ladies’ Tees using the Ladies’ CR. Even then a handicap adjustment must be applied if the Ladies’ and Men’s CRs are different.

Which card to use in Mixed Foursomes and Four-Ball formats?

  • In Foursomes competitions from mixed tees, when a single ball is in play, the Committee must specify in the Terms of the Competition which single set of tees will determine the Pars and Stroke Index that are to be used but it is recommended that the Ladies’ Par and Stroke Index is used. This does not then require Ladies to play holes that have a lower Par than would be recommended. It does mean that Men may return somewhat higher scores than against their own Par, however, to do otherwise would militate against Ladies making an appropriate contribution.
  • In Four-Ball formats from mixed tees, where players play their own ball, individual players score using the card and Stroke Index appropriate for the tee they are playing from

How do Handicap Allowances and any other adjustments get applied in an 18-hole mixed/multi-tee event?

  • The WHS facilitates play between golfers of any gender, ability or age, as players can compete for the same prize in a competition playing from any rated set of tees
  • When playing in an 18-hole mixed or multi-tee event, whatever the format of play, the first step is for each player to calculate their own individual Course Handicap
  • Next, the applicable Handicap Allowance for the format of play is applied to the Course Handicap, giving the player their Playing Handicap
  • Next, those players playing from a set of tees with a higher Course Rating add additional strokes to their Playing Handicap – equal to the difference between the Course Rating of the tees they are playing from and the tees being played with the lowest Course Rating
  • In Four-Ball formats, strokes are only allocated after each player has calculated their individual Playing Handicap. Strokes are then taken from the player with the lowest Playing Handicap
  • In Foursomes and Greensomes, any adjustment for the difference in Course Ratings would be half of the combined adjustment for each side

A few further examples and summary.

To make competitions from tees with different Course Ratings fair, an adjustment to players’ Course Handicap must be made. An upward adjustment in handicap for players playing from tees with higher Course Ratings (Option 1) or a decrease in handicap for player playing from tees with lower Course Ratings (Option 2) can be applied.

As a Rule of Thumb, when golfers compete from tees that have different Course Ratings, either add OR subtract strokes…

A Two-player example:

In this two-player competition, Roy plays from the White tees and Tom plays from the Yellow. In a simple situation where you just have two players, the RULES OF HANDICAPPING recommend adjusting the Course Handicap of the player playing from the tees with a higher Course Rating. In this case, John is playing from the White tees with the higher Course Rating of 71.3, so you would add the difference in Course Rating (rounded to nearest whole number) to John’s Course Handicap of 12.

White Course Rating – Yellow Course Rating = Difference in Course Rating
71.3 – 68.7 = 2.6 rounded to 3

ItemRoyTom
TeeWhiteYellow
Handicap Index11.216.7
Slope Rating125116
Course Rating71.368.7
Course Handicap1217
Handicap Adjustment (Option 1)+30
Playing Handicap (Option 1)1517
Handicap Adjustment (Option 2)0-3
Playing Handicap (Option 2)1214

A Three-player example:

In this three-player competition, Roy plays from the White tees, Tom plays from Yellow and Jane plays from Red tees. In a simple situation where you just have two players, the RULES OF HANDICAPPING recommend adjusting the Course Handicap of the players playing from the tees with higher Course Ratings. In this case, Jane and John playing from the White and Red tees with the higher Course Rating of 72.7 and 71.3, so you would add the differences in Course Ratings (rounded to nearest whole number) to Jane and John’s Course Handicap of 12 and 17.

Red Course Rating – White Course Rating = Difference in Course Rating
72.7 – 71.3 = 1.4 (Rounded to 1)

Red Course Rating – Yellow Course Rating = Difference in Course Rating
72.7 – 68.7 = 4

ItemRoyTomJane
TeeWhiteYellowRed
Handicap Index11.216.721.2
Slope Rating125116126
Course Rating71.368.772.7
Course Handicap121724
Handicap Adjustment (Option 1)+10_4
Playing Handicap (Option 1)131728
Handicap Adjustment (Option 2)-3-40
Playing Handicap (Option 2)91324

In a Competition situation where you have many players, you can determine what the most efficient route to adjust handicaps would be: adjusting handicaps of player playing from higher Course Ratings or lowering the handicaps of players playing from tees with lower Course Ratings. The effect is the same.

In the above three-player example, if we chose to lower the handicaps of players playing the two sets of tees with the lower Course Ratings (Yellow and Red), then John’s playing handicap would remain at 12, Tom’s would lower to 14 and Dave’s would lower to 15.

A Men and Women competing from same tees with different Course Ratings Example:

In this two-player competition, John plays from the Yellow tees and Jane plays from the Yellow. In a simple situation where you just have two players, the RULES OF HANDICAPPING recommend adjusting the Course Handicap of the player playing from the tees with a higher Course Rating. In this case, Jane is playing from the Yellow tees with the higher Course Rating of 72.8, so you would add the difference in Course Rating (rounded to nearest whole number) to Jane’s Course Handicap of 18.

Yellow Course Rating for Women – Yellow Course Rating for Men = Difference in Course Rating:


72.8 – 68.7 = 4.1 (Rounded to 4)

ItemJohnJane
TeeYellowYellow
Handicap Index11.216.7
Slope Rating116119
Course Rating68.772.8
Course Handicap1122
Handicap Adjustment (Option 1)0+4
Playing Handicap (Option 1)1126
Handicap Adjustment (Option 2)-40
Playing Handicap (Option 2)722

If you have a Competition with, say, 100 players and 88 play from the White tees (like John) and 12 play from the Yellow tees (like Tom), it may be less work for a Competition Committee to adjust the 12 players’ handicaps than the 88 playing from the White tees. In such a case, the RULES OF HANDICAPPING say you can adjust the 12 Yellow tee players’ Course Handicaps downward by 3 strokes. The effect being the same.

Medal, Gross Score & Maximum Score (9 hole)

A player competing from a set of tees with a higher Par receives additional strokes equal to the difference in Pars: 

Playing Handicap  =  [ Course Handicap  X  Handicap Allowance ]  +  Difference in Pars Table 24

TeesMen's TeesMen's ParWomen's TeesWomen's ParWomen's Extra Strokes
Front 9White34Red35+1
Front 9Yellow34Red35+1
Front 9Blue33Red35+2
Back 9White36Red37+1
Back 9Yellow36Red37+1
Back 9Blue36Red37+1

Stableford & Par/Bogey (9 hole)

No adjustment is required. It is accounted for in the calculation of 9-hole Course Handicaps.

To summarise…

If your competition includes two sets of tees or women and men competing from the same tee which has different Course Ratings, either add strokes to the players playing from the higher Course Rating (increase their handicaps) OR subtract strokes from the golfers playing from the lower Course Rating (decrease their handicaps).

If your event includes more than two sets of tees or includes players playing from more than two different Course Ratings, then keep the Course Handicap for the players playing from the lowest Course Rating and add strokes, or increase handicaps for players playing from higher Course Ratings. Alternatively, keep the Course Handicap for the players playing from the highest Course Rating and subtract strokes, or decrease handicaps for players playing from lower Course Ratings.

This article was intended to explain why Handicap Adjustments are necessary in Mixed Tee Events and provide a few illustrative examples.

You can download a document that helps in the understanding of Mixed Tee Handicap Allowances by clicking on the Download Button below:

It has not been possible to cover all competition formats here, without making the article too long.

However, you can download a document that provides details on all Handicap Calculations by clicking on the download button below.

Implementation of Playing Handicap Calculations

Implementation of Playing Handicap Calculations

Handicap Calculations
It is important that these calculations are done in a consistent manner. As well as applying appropriate allowances (which are mandatory in GB&I) the calculation of adjustments for players playing from separate tees needs to be done consistently.

This document provides direction on how Course Handicaps, Playing Handicaps and Multi-Tee Adjustments must be calculated to be consistent with the WHS requirements.

You can download a copy of the document by clicking on the Download Button Below:

Reviewing and Adjusting a Player’s Handicap Index

Reviewing and Adjusting a Player’s Handicap Index

The WHS has been 10 years in its development, based on the USGA system that has been in use for over 50 years, it will be an excellent system for managing handicaps.

I say ‘will’ because although it launched in GB&I in November 2020, because of the COVID-19 Pandemic it really didn’t get up and running until July 2021, which means it has only been running for 8-9 months.

Because it is an average-based system it works best the more data input it has; because it has only been running for a short period of time, the data for GB&I is limited and so some anomalies with players’ Handicap Indexes may occur. Given time these anomalies should be resolved or sort themselves out naturally.

It is not helped, in GB&I, by players not being required to submit all scores and so we must put up with these anomalies until the System has been running for a year or two.

Unfortunately, some Committees are trying to adjust Handicap Indexes for what they see with players who win competitions regularly. This is not the way to go about it because, in doing this frequently and only for a few players, they are manipulating the system for their own devices and could be providing players with a Handicap Index that may not be an accurate representation of their current playing ability.

Committees must also be aware that any review of Handicap Indexes must also consider any player whose Playing Ability may be declining.

Perhaps Committees would spend their time better in encouraging players to submit more scores, which would include General Play scores as well as ‘qualifying’ competition scores.

Under the WHS, there is a responsibility for your Handicap Committee to ensure that players’ allocated Handicap Indexes correctly represent their current level of playing ability. They must perform an Annual Review every year between 1st October and 31st March.

However, at any time that they feel, or are informed, that your Handicap Index may be incorrect, often indicated by your rapid improvement or decline in performance in competitions, then they can conduct a review of your Handicap Index before the Annual Review.

The circumstances under which a Committee may review your Handicap Index are outlined under Rule 7 of the Rules of Handicapping and there is a correct procedure for reviewing and adjusting your Handicap Index which must be followed and is given in Appendix D of the Rules of Handicapping.

All adjustments must be made through the WHS Platform.

ADJUSTING A HANDICAP INDEX

If your Handicap Index does not reflect your demonstrated playing ability your Handicap Committee should conduct a handicap review. Using all available evidence, including handicap software and reporting for analysis, the Handicap Committee may adjust or freeze your Handicap Index. Your Handicap Committee should continue to monitor your scoring record and further adjust the Handicap Index if needed. An adjustment to your Handicap Index must be, at minimum, a one stroke difference from their current Handicap Index. This adjustment must not last for longer than a one-year period. The Handicap Index will be identified with the letter “M” (e.g., 16.3M).

ADJUSTING A LOW HANDICAP INDEX

When your Handicap Index has been adjusted or frozen by your Handicap Committee, it may impact your Low Handicap Index value, thus potentially triggering a soft cap or hard cap. Your Handicap Committee should review and consider resetting your Low Handicap Index to a new value unless a lower Handicap Index value becomes eligible. An adjustment to your Low Handicap Index must be, at minimum, a one stroke difference from your current Low Handicap Index. This adjustment must not last for longer than a one-year period. Your Handicap Committee should continue to monitor your scoring record and further adjust the Low Handicap Index value if needed. An adjusted Low Handicap Index will be identified with the letter “M” (e.g., 15.0M)

Clicking on the links below will take you to the relevant references in the Rules of Handicapping:

Committee Actions (randa.org) – Rule 7

The R&A – Appendix D – Handicap Review (randa.org)

England Golf have also produced a Guide to Conducting a Handicap Review, which you can read below or download a copy by clicking on the Download Button.

 

Update to CONGU Mixed Tee Handicap Calculator – Version 1.10

New Release of CONGU Mixed Tee Handicap Calculator

 

CONGU have just released an updated version 1.10 of CONGU Mixed Tee Handicap Calculator, which corrects an error noted for 9-hole individual match play.

Please click on the Button below to download a copy:

Using the R&A Course Handicap Calculator and Handicap Allowances

I recently received the following comment:

‘Why do we now have two different calculation systems dependant upon whether we are in GB&I or elsewhere? The RandA handicap calculator has a bizarre statement “with course rating minus par” …or “without……….” [for GB&I].

I thought the WORLD handicapping System was meant to bring us all together??

If you go to the USGA handicap tables, they are markedly different from the RandA calculations. That won’t confuse anybody will it?

And as for the 95% issue for Strokeplay and stableford….give me strength!

So an American and a Brit playing on a course in Turkey (covid-permitting), may have the same handicap index but different playing handicaps. To misquote Churchill : “Two countries separated by a common handicapping system!”’

With reference to:

‘Why do we now have two different calculation systems dependant upon whether we are in GB&I or elsewhere? The RandA handicap calculator has a bizarre statement “with course rating minus par” …or “without……….” [for GB&I]., and

 ‘So an American and a Brit playing on a course in Turkey (covid-permitting), may have the same handicap index but different playing handicaps. To misquote Churchill : “Two countries separated by a common handicapping system!”’

Your Handicap Index is calculated in exactly the same way as for all players worldwide, all Handicap Indexes are therefore comparable. It is not dependent upon the jurisdiction in which the Handicap Index was allocated. A 14.7 Handicap Index in the US is the same as a 14.7 Handicap Index in England, Spain or Turkey.

Differences, however, do arise in the Calculation of Course Handicaps depending on the location of the course being played, because some jurisdictions have not adopted the WHS in toto.

The R&A Course Handicap Calculator offers you an opportunity to see what a Course Handicap might be at different courses that you may like to play.

Depending on where you are playing your round and/or who you are playing with – you may or may not be required to include Course Rating and Par in this calculation. Check with the golf club, the Committee, or the Authorised Association.

When you use the R&A Course Handicap Calculator, determine the location of the course you wish to play.

From the location, determine whether Course Rating minus Par is used:

  1. Without Course Rating minus Par – (GB&I)
  2. With Course Rating minus Par – (Rest of the World bar Australia)
  3. Australia uses the Course Rating minus Par but then applies a 0.93 Multiplier so the R&A Calculator will not work for Australian Courses.

So, using the example above, the R&A Course Handicap Calculator:

  1. Choose between a 9-Hole Round and an 18-Hole Round
  2. Choose with Course Rating minus Par for your Course in Turkey
  3. Enter, Handicap Index, Course Rating, Par and Slope for your Course, if you do not know them Select the ‘Look Up’ Option
  4. Select ‘Calculate’ once you have entered all the information.
  5. Hey Presto! You will find that both players will play off the same Course Handicap for the same course.

RE: ‘And as for the 95% issue for Strokeplay and stableford….give me strength!’

The whole idea of Handicap Allowances is to provide a fair and equitable way of determining winners in competitions, they do not affect scores submitted for Handicap Purposes

Under the WHS, equity is now based on a top 10% finish, previously it was a top 25% finish. In singles match play, the previous Handicap System slightly favoured the lower handicap player, however it is closer to 50/50 equity with the WHS.

For four-ball and other team formats, the handicap allowances have been slightly reduced to offset the increase in standard equity for individual formats. Essentially, a slight increase in equity for singles match play, as mentioned above, results in a higher handicap player having an advantage in team events. As a result, a reduction in most team formats is appropriate.

Today, a larger number of scores and/or simulations, than previously used, have been used to determine and validate the handicap allowances used in the WHS because of the access to much more data, worldwide, the USGA and R&A were able to generate handicap allowances that met the desired equity.

Previous handicap allowances were validated in the early 2000’s, however no significant changes were warranted at the time. With the opportunity to run completely new tests for handicap allowances with updated scoring data, the R&A and USGA have been able to determine the best handicap allowances to use in the current playing environment.

The WHS is a sound and fair handicapping system, based largely on the USGA system that has proved popular and stood the test of time, having been in operation for over 40 years.

My advice is to work with the system and don’t try to overthink it.

Go out, experience your golf on different courses and most  of all enjoy playing it.

Tony

World Handicap System – WHS Winter Golf

World Handicap System 2020 – WHS Winter Golf

The approach suggested by the World Handicap System is that acceptable scores for handicap purposes should be posted throughout the year.

However, this is not really feasible when winter courses are in play, especially courses which are not sand-based; the advice is that when course conditions are poor then it is not reasonable to be submitting qualifying (Acceptable) scores.

Regardless of the season, acceptable scores can only be submitted on a rated course (which would include a temporary rating where necessary).

If a Club does not have such a course (for whatever reason) then clearly such scores cannot be submitted.

Appendix G of the Rules of Handicapping is solely for when there are temporary adjustments to a course for reasons such as emergency maintenance on a tee etc. and does not include a winter course.

So, if a club wants to offer Acceptable Scores during the winter period when winter tees are in use, then the course being played needs to have a rating, whether that is a full rating or a temporary rating.

A Club must apply for this rating and it is up to the appropriate County to provide this service (albeit at their convenience – they are all volunteers!).

Whilst the aim is to allow submission of Acceptable Scores all year, a level of realism is required on courses that are clearly sub-standard due to weather conditions (as they would have been in previous years).

This situation may not just be for winter, it would not be unreasonable, even in the Summer playing season, that a club could prevent the return of Acceptable scores (competition and social/General Play) if the course is not in a good condition – examples of this could be when the greens have been hollow-tined or heavily top dressed.

To sum up:

Acceptable Scores – Winter Competitions

To run Competitions and want scores to be acceptable for Handicap Purposes:

  • Competitions must be run over 9 or 18 Holes.
  • Rounds must be played in accordance with Rule 2.1 of the Rules of Handicapping Page 26.
  • Preferred lies are allowable under the guidance below.
  • Scaling up is allowed in accordance with Rule 3.2 of the Rules of Handicapping (Page 36/37).

If a Club cannot run Competitions that are acceptable for Handicap Purposes, it can still run Non-acceptable Competitions that can be set up using Club Software or Manually to record Scores and Winners.

The following procedure is quite permissible, and several Clubs are following similar ones.

Non-Acceptable Scores – Winter Competitions

To run Competitions where scores are not acceptable for Handicap Purposes, but where results can be processed, a neutral slope of 113 and a Course rating equal to the Par of the holes being played can be used.

This will mean a Chart to generate the Course Handicap is not required (i.e., your Course Handicap is your rounded Handicap Index).  The scores cannot be Acceptable for handicap purposes, but it does allow non-qualifying competitions to be run during this period (lockdown notwithstanding).

    • If your Club uses Software to run the competition you can follow the guidelines within the software to cater for unrated courses.
    • If your Club runs its competitions manually, you can use the Handicap Index as the basis for the calculation of a Course Handicap and/or Playing Handicap which should then be adjusted relative to the number of holes being played.

In answer to the questions that I put to CONGU regarding guidance for clubs running ‘non-qualifying’ rounds during adverse weather conditions CONGU say:

‘As this is not for a qualifying round, CONGU will not provide such advice – indeed, going forward, CONGU as an organisation will be changing and any handicapping advice/directions will be provided by each Home Union.  This reflects the change from the CONGU system to the WHS and no longer having the role of managing and changing/updating the handicapping system.

The sensible approach would be for clubs to have their winter course rated.  Clearly that will not happen quickly, but they might be able to speak to their County and have a temporary Slope Rating generated.

In terms of what might be appropriate, it is not possible to make a suggestion as each course will vary.’

So, what can we learn from these comments?

  1. Clubs ought to have their Temporary/Winter courses rated.
  2. Clubs, which do not have winter/temporary tees rated, however, are being left to their own devices when it comes to running ‘non-qualifying’ competitions during the winter period or other periods of adverse weather conditions.
  3. In many respects, as long as a club feels comfortable with the approach it takes in running these competitions, it really doesn’t matter to anyone else – the scores will not be used for handicapping, no handicaps will be reduced/increased, you simply get a competition result.

So, how are some clubs coping with Winter Tees?

I have come across several solutions that clubs have adopted to deal with running competitions over non-rated courses and list them below.

  1. Use Course Rating, Slope Rating and Par of tees rated for each gender closest to your club’s Temporary/Winter Tees.
  2. If you think these values are too generous, then you can adjust Handicap Allowances for a format being played, e.g., for individual competitions consider changing the 95% allowance to:
    1. 75%, when Winter/Temporary Tees and normal Putting Greens are in use
    2. 65%, when Winter/Temporary Tees and 4/5 Temporary Putting Greens are in use.
  3. Compare the yardages of your Winter/Temporary Course with your normal Course yardage and adjust the Slope Rating accordingly. E.g., if the course changes from 6000 to 5400 yards, that would represent a 10% reduction in length.  If the Slope Rating was 126, you could reduce it by 10% giving 113ish.  That might be too much, so perhaps reduce the percentage to 5%?
  4. Use 113 as the Slope Rating, keeping the Course Rating and Par of tees rated for each gender closest to your club’s Temporary/Winter Tees. One advantage of using 113 as the slope would be that players simply play from their Handicap Index (rounded of course) which would reduce the calculation issues.

A point, also, to remember, is that in Mixed Tee competitions, even if players tee-off from the same Winter/Temporary tee, if there is a difference in the Course Ratings or Points to play to Par, then a Handicap Adjustment MUST still be made to Player’s Handicaps who are playing the higher rated course.

England Golf have also issued guidelines on Winter Golf – England Golf Winter Golf Checklist:

You can download a copy of the England Golf Winter Golf Checklist by clicking on the Download Button below:

Guidance on the Preferred Lies Period

Preferred Lies – Model Local Rules E-2 and E-3.

In England, Wales and Scotland the Preferred Lies Period runs from 1st October to 30th April while in Ireland, the Preferred Lies period is from November 1st to April 30th.

Clubs can run competitions where scores are acceptable for handicapping purposes during this period when both Model Local Rule E-2 and E-3 are in force.

It is recommended that a Local Rule permitting preferred lies in the general area outside of the preferred lies period should be used only in extreme circumstances where scores will not be accepted for handicapping purpose (WHS Guidance document Appendix H).

The purpose of preferred lies as described in Model Local Rule E-3 is to protect areas of the course cut to fairway height or less.  This Model Local Rule allows players to lift, clean and place the ball within six inches in the General Area cut to fairway height.  It is recommended that the ball should be marked before lifting.  The ball must be placed in the relief area within six inches of the reference point.

However, it is not recommended that this Rule is routinely adopted for the General Area as a whole because it could give a player an unfair advantage by offering her/him free relief from an unplayable lie, e.g., a ball located behind a tree or under a bush.

There is another Model Local Rule, E-2, that may be adopted which allows balls to be cleaned in the General Area when conditions such as wet ground throughout parts of the course may cause mud to stick to the ball.

The purpose of Model Local Rule E-2 is to allow players to clean the ball in the general area (which would include the Rough) when conditions throughout parts of the course cause mud to stick to the ball.  This allows the ball to be cleaned and replaced and should be limited to those parts of the course where needed, not to the whole course. The ball must be marked before lifting and cleaning and must be replaced on its original spot before playing.

During the Preferred Lie period scores may not be returned for handicapping purposes if any of the following local rules or restrictions apply: –

    1. Preferred lies in the general area or where the relief area exceeds 6 inches.
    2. The ball is lifted from the fairway and placed or dropped in the semi-rough
    3. The competition is over less than 18 holes but is not a 9 hole competition
    4. If the competition is played using winter tees or greens and a temporary modification to the course and slope ratings has not been approved by the area authority
    5. Where the use of fairway mats does not follow the rules provided in the WHS Guidance document Appendix H GH/2.

You can download a copy of this advice by clicking on the Download Button below:

World Handicap System MIxed-Tee Handicap Calculator and Coronavirus Updates

WHS MIxed-Tee Handicap Calculator

Well Christmas is nearly upon us and the end, I hope, of an extraordinary year.

What had all the promise of an exciting golfing year with the launch of the

World Handicap System proved to be exciting in a way we did not expect.

I feel sorry, not just for the disruption to everyone’s golf but to the year that many Captains of all sections had planned and were looking forward too.

But what I have seen is that many adapted to the unprecedented circumstances and became quite enterprising in adapting their golfing calendar and competitions.

AGMs and Captains’ Drive-ins also had to be adapted, but I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone of you have taken on a position within your club this year and wish you every success for 2021.

Despite the COVID-19 Restrictions it is good to see many of you able to play golf and organise or participate in competitions.

The drive to introduce Gender Neutral Tees and also to encourage more mixed competitions, has , from the number of emails I have received,  been taken up worldwide and actually includes many Clubs in England.

This has led to more Mixed-tee Competitions being organised.

However, with the complex nature of calculating Mixed-tee Playing Handicaps under the World Handicap System, many have struggled with the new Handicap Calculations.

CONGU have come to the rescue and produced a WHS Mixed-Tee Handicap Calculator, set out in a Microsoft Office Excel Spreadsheet for everyone to use it covers:

    1. 18 Holes – 2 Tees
    2. 18 Holes – 3 Tees
    3. 9 Holes -2 Tees
    4. Foursomes and Greensomes
    5. Scrambles
    6. Team Competitions, including Best of 4 and Best f 3

To read more about the WHS Mixed-tee calculator, how to use it and Download your own copy click on the link below:

World Handicap System Mixed-Tee Calculator

Enjoy your golf

Stay Safe

Tony

PS  England Golf have updated their recommendations on Play Safe for those of you who, unfortunately, find yourselves in Tier 4.  Follow the link below:

England Golf FAQs and Play Safe Framework

WHS Mixed-Tee Handicap Calculator

WHS Mixed-Tee Handicap Calculator

With the complex nature of calculating Playing Handicaps under the World Handicap System, CONGU have produced a WHS Mixed-Tee Handicap Calculator, set out in a Microsoft Office Excel Spreadsheet for everyone to use.

    1. 18 Holes – 2 Tees
    2. 18 Holes – 3 Tees
    3. 9 Holes -2 Tees
    4. Foursomes and Greensomes
    5. Scrambles
    6. Team Competitions, including Best of 4 and Best of 3

The calculations for Scotland use the full calculation not the Rounded Calculation that England, Wales and Ireland use.

To use the calculator:

All Cells Highlighted in Yellow are editable.

    1. Select the format you are going to use from the options at the bottom of the page (Worksheet Title)
    2. Select your Nation by clicking in the cell and choosing from the drop down menu
    3. Select your Format by clicking in the cell and choosing from the drop down menu
    4. Select your Tee in Foursomes and Greensomes by clicking in the cell and choosing from the drop down menu
    5. Select your tee in Scrambles by clicking in the cell and choosing from the drop down menu
    6. Select your tee in Team Competitions by clicking in the cell and choosing from the drop down menu

You can download a copy of the WHS Mixed-tee Calculator by clicking on the Download button below:

World Handicap System – Handicap Allowances

World Handicap System 2020 – Handicap Allowances

Below is an updated Handicap Allowance Document which now includes the recommended Handicap Allowances for the Best of 3 Formats which were not included in the original table.

You can download a copy of this Handicap Allowance Document by clicking on a Download Button below: