Useful WHS Handicap Calculator App

WHS Handicap Calculator

This is a very useful WHS Handicap Calculator App available for both Apple and Android Mobile Devices.

What the author (Khadeeja Mohamed)says:

WHS Handicap Calculator is an all-in-one golf handicap calculator app for calculating individual and team Playing Handicaps with mixed-tee adjustments for all popular formats of play.

Whether you are organising friendly matches for your club or playing in team or mixed competitions, this app may be used to calculate the handicaps for all golfers including strokes received in match play. Or you may be playing in your regular four-ball and decide on the day the format and the tee(s). Just enter the relevant information in the app to get the recommended WHS Playing Handicaps for all players before you tee off.

This app calculates the Course and Playing Handicaps under the World Handicap System for all popular formats and applies recommended handicap allowances and mixed-tee adjustments. The Playing Handicaps for both Stableford and medal scoring are provided. This app caters for all golfers with a WHS Index, including plus-handicap golfers and offers settings for Course Handicap for use in multiple countries.

Using the App

Create and manage your list of 18-hole and 9-hole courses by adding the Course Rating, Slope Rating and Par for each tee. You may also add from a custom list provided in this app and edit as necessary to maintain accuracy. The ratings may get updated from time to time so always check the data used in the app are current and accurate and update accordingly.

Use the Single tab if all golfers play off the same tee. Use the Mixed tab if more than one tee is used. Select the golf course, tee(s) and format of play. Enter the Handicap Indexes for the group of players. For a plus-handicap golfer enter the Handicap Index as a negative value. Share handicaps easily with playing partners or opponents prior to your match.

Calculation of Course Handicap and Rounding

Under the WHS, countries may or may not apply the discretionary (CR – par) item in the calculation of Course Handicap. It is not applied in GB&I while it is in the US and many other countries. The Playing Handicap and any mixed-tee adjustments depend on the formula used for calculating CH.

Another aspect that is different across countries is rounding. The full Course Handicap is used for calculating the Playing Handicap in Scotland while it is first rounded to a whole number in England, Wales and Ireland. The 9-hole Course Handicap is calculated by halving the Handicap Index, but this value may or may not be rounded to one decimal place in the calculation. The applied rounding may result in a difference of a full stroke in Playing Handicaps.

This app contains all the relevant settings for Course Handicaps and adds any applicable mixed-tee adjustments to the Playing Handicap.

Mixed Tee Adjustments

For competitions or friendly games where multiple tees are used, the mixed-tee adjustments to handicaps are added to achieve equity when Course Ratings and/or pars are different. It also applies to fully mixed team formats to allow for rounding and the relative impact of the adjustments to individuals and teams. In this app, whenever multiple tees are assigned to players, the mixed-tee adjustments for medal and/or Stableford scoring are added to Playing Handicaps. The adjustment to the Playing Handicaps for a team is the average of the individual adjustments. For a mixed-tee scratch format, enter Handicap Index of 0 for all players to get their mixed-tee adjusted Playing Handicaps.

This app is not endorsed by any golf governing bodies. Users are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the input data, the settings and the handicaps obtained from the app are applicable and accurate.

Following a free 7-day trial period there is a small annual subscription of £2.99 (GBP).

You can download the App by clicking on the appropriate button below:


2023 Update to the Guidance to the Rules of Handicapping as Applied to GB&I, England, Wales and Ireland.

The Guidance to the Rules of Handicapping as Applied to GB&I, England, Wales and Ireland has been updated for 2023. Version 1.7

The Guidance to the Rules of Handicapping as Applied to GB&I – Scotland Version 1.7 will be available soon.

The changes to note in this version, Version 1.7 are:

  • Directive added that scores for initial handicaps do now need to be pre-registered and reinforcement that such cards do need to be pre-registered.
  • Advice added that the Committee is responsible for the players handicap on the scorecard (unless a local rule to the contrary is in place). Added advice that the local rule is not recommended by CONGU®.
  • Removal of DQ sections for no or wrong handicap on scorecard.
  • Additional advice regarding the retention of scorecards.
  • Clarification of the situation of returning scores from outside GB&I until interoperability is in place.

Scores submitted from outside GB&I must be returned by the player to his/her home club as soon as possible after the round along with the PCC for the day played. This score can then be added to the players’ record. Until global operability is in place, any international score (outside of GB&I) with a known PCC value, that is being manually recorded is adjusted by an equal opposite value, changing the adjusted gross score.

  • Confirmation of the make-up of the Handicap Committee.

The Committee must be made up of at Least 3 people and most of these should be members (this is part of your affiliation requirement so it’s vital that it is in place all year round). This is a CONGU®/ England Golf Requirement and is not part of the Rules of Handicapping.

  • Definition of an Elite Golfer added.

CONGU® direct that the definition of an Elite Golfer is a male golfer with a Handicap Index of 0.0 or lower, or a female golfer with a Handicap Index of 2.0 or lower.

  • Removal of the reference to 4BBB and Match Play trial for Golf Ireland.

Golf Ireland have now abandoned their trial of accepting scores from Match Play and 4BBB formats and fallen inline with the rest of GB&I.

The acceptance of scores from 4BBB s is still under discussion and may be adopted by all UK Nations in the future.

  • Where there is local rule for a player to record handicap on card, Golf Ireland direct that Handicap Index is a minimum requirement.

Under the Rules of Golf (2023), unless an appropriate local rule to the contrary is in place, it is a Committee Responsibility to enter a players’ handicap on the card, and a player can no longer be disqualified by a failure to record a handicap on the score card. The CONGU® recommendation is NOT to implement such a local rule. In situations where the local rule has been implemented, the following advice applies:

To avoid a DQ under Local Rule the player must put his/her Course Handicap on the scorecard. This is expressed as an integer and represents the number of strokes the player receives for handicap purposes for both Competition scores and General Play returns. Golf Ireland direct that recording the Handicap Index is a requirement in Ireland.

  • Add Golf Ireland requirement for Handicap Index to be on the Card.
  • Add recommendation for Par + 5 for Maximum Score format.
  • Remove reference to Golf Ireland in Most Likely Score section.

You can download an updated version of the Guidance to the Rules of Handicapping as Applied to GB&I – England, Wales and Ireland Version 1.7 by Clicking Here or Clicking on the Download Button below:



Can any set of tees be rated for Ladies or is there still a maximum length?

Can any set of tees be rated for Ladies or is there still a maximum length?

One of the features of the WHS was to have all tees rated for both genders, so allowing players to play from a set of tees that best suited their playing ability or choice.

In the beginning, to ensure that all 1800 courses in England were rated as quickly as possible before the WHS was introduced, England Golf prioritised rating a club’s existing tees and retained the maximum limit of 6100yds for the length of a course for women.

With this programme now completed, rating teams may have more time to be able to look at requests for other courses to be rated especially now that more clubs are adopting gender-free tees.

England Golf have, therefore, taken a more relaxed view and as part of the ongoing development process, are giving clubs the option to ask for longer tee sets to be rated for women if they can demonstrate a need for it.

It is doubtful if a county would turn down a request for a longer course to be rated if their rating team has the time to carry it out.

There will be a cost to carry this rating out.

In the short term, your club can be issued a provisional rating which is based upon yardage and the obstacle values on one of the other rated sets of courses. That would be for two years, by which time the county would have to find time to come and formally rate. So, there is a quick fix if you feel like it is needed in the short term.

Within those two years, that tee would have to see some usage. If your club was given a provisional rating and then, in two years’ time, there’s only been a dozen rounds of golf played on that course, it’s probably very unlikely your county would see fit to formally rate a course that’s seen so little use and it could also be seen as an unnecessary additional cost to your club.

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.

Mobile Score Input – Update

Mobile Score Input – Update

We were informed, by England Golf, in August 2022, that a World Handicap System scheme has launched allowing golfers across the UK to submit their scores online via a Mobile Scoring App when playing outside their respective countries.

A pilot scheme allowing golfers in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales to put in scores when playing across their respective countries has gone live.

Nearly two years after its launch, players across the Home Nations, in GB&I, can finally submit their scores via their jurisdiction’s App on a Mobile Device.

The project, being shepherded by England Golf and Scottish Golf on behalf of the R&A and USGA, means you should now be able to easily submit scores from rounds played and submitted in one country to your WHS record.

It’s been one of the weaknesses since the system launched in November 2020 that players have had to go through a convoluted process if they wanted to, for example, have general play scores from Scottish courses count towards their English handicaps.

But, Richard Flint, England Golf’s chief operating officer, said the ability to automatically transfer scores is now possible across the home nations – and the governing body is hoping to soon add more countries across the world.

“We feel we’re in a good place with WHS, but there’s more that can be done,” “Interoperability is another thing we’re conscious of and we’re really pleased with Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, that we now have that in place across borders in terms of handicap lookup and submitting scores through GB&I.

“That’s been the test case for the rest of the world and so we’re really eager that we can take that on and have that interoperability with the rest of the world because then it is truly a worldwide handicap system.”

But how many of you had the experience when you tried to submit your score of being presented with a blank screen, suggesting nothing had changed.

If you’re a member of an English club, for example, and have played a round in Scotland and want it to count towards your handicap, what do you have to do?

A score has to be entered by the host venue into the WHS platform. Scores still cannot be posted by the MyEG App when played outside England.

Although software companies have been given the specification to develop a link, they are only at a testing stage for Mobile Devices.

This is not ideal, but it’s probably less of a nuisance than what you had to do before, where you had to tell your own club you were going to put in a score, then tell the host club, give your card to that club when the round was over so that you knew the PCC, if one was applied, take a copy of that card and return it to your own club, who would finally submit the score to the WHS platform.

In time, you should be able to enter your scores into your Mobile App and in the club computer at the course you are playing, in the same way that you would do at your home Club when playing a competition or putting in a general play score.

New regulations for the returning of General Play Scores

The GB&I Golfing governing bodies have introduced new regulations for the returning of General Play Scores for the purpose of “Safeguarding Handicap Integrity”.

These regulations stipulate a maximum distance that the player can be from the club when a round is pre-registered, and a score is returned using a mobile device. They are also stipulating a minimum duration between pre-registration and score submission.

These distance/time limits are as follows for the different home unions:

  • England 2 Miles/3.2km – minimum 1 hour for 9 holes, 2 hours for 18
  • Ireland 1.86 Miles 3Km – minimum 1 hour for 9 holes, 2 hours for 18
  • Scotland 1 Mile/1.6Km – minimum 45 minutes for 9 holes, 1 hour 30 minutes for 18
  • Wales 1.86 Miles/3Km – minimum 1 hour for 9 holes, 2 hours for 18

“Pre-Registration” equals “Sign-In”.

What is Stroke Index?

Stroke Index

Stroke Indexes are designed to allow for handicap Match Play games. In Strokeplay between players of unequal handicaps, it is simple to determine a winner – deduct each player’s handicap from the gross score and you get the net score and lowest net score wins.

But in Match Play, when the competition is to win individual holes, on which holes should the handicap be applied? This is where we need Stroke Index, For example:

With a difference in Playing Handicaps between Tony and John, Tony  has to give John 4 shots during the round – but on which holes? The answer is on the stroke index 1, 2, 3 and 4 holes.

Stroke index is also used in other competitions, prime among them Stableford competitions. Here points are earned on each hole in relation to each golfer’s net par for the hole. To work out the net par for each hole you need the stroke index. For example:

If Sarah has a playing handicap of 10, she will get one extra shot on the holes with stroke index 1 to 10 inclusive. Ann, with a playing handicap of 19 will get two extra shots on SI 1 and one extra shot on each of the other 17.

Although The ‘Handicap Stroke Index’ was designed for Match Play, because it is also used widely for Stableford, Par and Bogey competitions in these forms of stroke play competition the need to have a uniform and balanced distribution of strokes is less compelling. There is therefore a strong case for the Index in such competitions to be aligned to the ranking of holes in terms of playing difficulty irrespective of hole number.

For this reason, some clubs have two sets of stroke index, one for Match Play and one for Stableford. The Stableford ranking is more a straightforward ranking of the difficulty of each hole.

Stroke Index Allocation

The recommended procedure for the allocation of stroke index values in the Rules of Handicapping under the World Handicap System (WHS) has changed from the recommendations found in the previous USGA and CONGU Handicap Systems.

For the WHS a simple, consistent and data-based approach is used that can be applied to any course in the world, regardless of the number or type of players at the course.

Because stroke allocation is used in match play, but also in certain forms of stroke play such as four-ball stroke play and Stableford. It was not preferred to maintain a separate stroke index table for both Match Play and Stroke Play for a number of reasons, keeping things simple was the primary factor.

The conclusion was to base the stroke index table on overall hole difficulty relative to par as a starting point, then use the procedures that work well to provide equity in match play, including placing odds and evens on different sides, avoiding consecutive low stroke index holes, and avoiding low stroke index holes at the beginning or end of a nine. It was also a recommendation to have separate stroke index tables for women and men, but not have multiple stroke index tables per gender as that can lead to players selecting tees in order to gain an advantage, especially if trying to maximize strokes between partners in team events.  

From worldwide research, in match play, the stroke index order is not really important in producing equitable results as long as the strokes are spread out, consecutive low strokes are avoided, and low strokes at the beginning or end of each nine are avoided. So, applying the triad concept of using three-hole clusters (with the lowest stroke hole on each nine in the middle of the nine), spreading out low stroke holes, and avoiding consecutive low stroke holes produces a simple but effective method for allocation.

As stroke index values are also used in stroke play or Stableford play, it was important to generate an allocation based on overall difficulty, which is where the Course Rating data is used. Using Course Rating data, which factors in both effective playing length and obstacle ratings, provides a consistent method regardless of the makeup of players at the course. While the stroke index values are ultimately adjusted to accommodate the recommended procedures for match play, they are generally consistent with the order of difficulty as ranked using Course Rating data. Stroke Indexes also play a part in Handicap Index Calculation, because it is used to determine the maximum score that can be recorded for a player on each hole.

Since the maximum hole score allowed for handicap purposes is based on a net double bogey, which is tied to the stroke index value, it is important to have the holes ranked in a general order of difficulty. 

As with the previous Handicap Systems, stroke index allocation is a recommendation and courses are free to use whichever method they choose. There is no recommendation for a course to run a new allocation solely due to the move to the WHS. However, for courses that are looking to run a new allocation, the new WHS method produces consistent and acceptable values without the need to find specific players and collect hundreds of scores from a common tee.  

For more information on Stroke Index Allocation under the World Handicap System Click Here.

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

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

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

NameStableford PointsPoints to Play to HandicapScore

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

NameStableford PointsSubtracting Adjustment for Difference in Points to Play to HandicapNet Score

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

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

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)

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.

Update to Guidance on the Rules of Handicapping as Applied Within GB&I February 2021 – Version 1.4

CONGU have published an update to the Rules of Handicapping as Applied to GB&I.

This revision replaces the advice for Mixed Foursomes regarding the non-application of Adjustments for different Tees so they use the same approach as for any other mixed tee
foursomes and Adjustments are applied when there are differences in Course Ratings/Par between courses being played

You can download a copy of the Revised Publication by clicking on the download button below:


World Handicap System 2020 – WHS Winter Golf – Updated 4 November 2021

World Handicap System 2020 – WHS Winter Golf

This post may be a little academic at this time of a Third Lockdown and Golf Courses being closed in England, Wales and Ireland (Scotland remaining open), but I have received a number of emails over the last few weeks concerning the WHS and Winter Handicaps, Winter Tees, Winter Courses and Winter Rules.

The most common problem has been where Clubs have not rated their Winter Tees, because of their temporary nature,  but wish to run competitions on these courses.

Added to this is is the fact that Club Handicap Software will not offer the option for winter handicaps under the  WHS.

It is the intention of the national federations that there is a 12-month handicapping season.  WHS allows for the return of scores less than 18 holes, when a club designates some unplayable, for example due to wet conditions or lack of light.  Handicap Software Systems  have  guidelines allowing for shortened holes and winter tees.  PCC (the new equivalent to CSS) is designed to account for daily playing conditions and handicaps are calculated against this, not the course rating (the new equivalent to SSS) or par.

Your Club will still be able organise non-qualifying competitions and process these through your Handicap Software for publication.

The World Handicap System states 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  and a common one now is that Winter Tees have not been rated, 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.

Until a Course Rating has been issued a Club may only run Non-acceptable Competitions.

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.

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.

I hope this offers some help and guidance for those of you trying to work through the Winter Period and organise competitive Golf Competitions

England Golf have issued guidelines on Winter Golf, England Golf Winter Golf Checklist which you can read below or download a copy by clicking on the Download Button below:

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

World Handicap System 2020 – WHS Winter Golf • Getting to Grips with the Rules of Golf (

Stay safe and well

Best wishes