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World Handicap System

The World Handicap System (WHS), went into effect on January 1, 2020, unifying the six handicap systems used around the world into a single system that enables golfers of different ability to play and compete on a fair and equitable basis, in any format, on any course, anywhere around the world.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL RULES OF HANDICAPPING 

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL USGA HANDICAP COMMITTEE GUIDE 

See below for an outline of the major changes along with short videos on the World Handicap System.

 

INTRODUCTION TO THE WORLD HANDICAP SYSTEM 


COURSE RATING & SLOPE RATING


The Course Rating System is the basis for the World Handicap System and is an indication of the difficulty of a golf course for the scratch player and the bogey player under normal playing conditions.

      Summary of Changes (PDF)

 

NUMBER OF SCORES REQUIRED TO OBTAIN A HANDICAP INDEX


 

Players will now have their handicap index calculated after they have posted a minimum of three 18-hole scores (including 9-hole scores that have been combined).

      Summary of Changes (PDF)

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BASIS OF HANDICAP CALCULATION


 A Handicap Index will be calculated by averaging a player’s 8 best Score Differentials out of their most recent 20.

      Summary of Changes (PDF)

LIMIT ON UPWARD MOVEMENT OF A HANDICAP INDEX


 In order to limit the extreme upward movement of a player’s Handicap Index, a “Soft Cap” and “Hard Cap” will be included within the Handicap Index calculation. These caps will be in relation to the player’s “Low Handicap Index.”

      Summary of Changes (PDF)

EXCEPTIONAL SCORES REDUCTION      


When a player submits a score that produces a Score Differential of 7.0 strokes or more below their Handicap Index, they will be subject to an Exceptional Score Reduction. This reduction will be either -1.0 or -2.0, depending on how far below the player’s Handicap Index the submitted Score Differential is and will be applied to the player’s most recent 20 scores. Scores submitted after the exceptional score will not contain the -1.0 or -2.0 adjustment (unless they are also exceptional), which will allow reduction to gradually work itself out of a scoring record.

      Summary of Changes (PDF)

PLAYING CONDITIONS CALCULATION


When abnormal course or weather conditions cause scored to be unusually high or low on a given day, a “Playing Conditions Calculation” will adjust Score Differentials to better reflect a player’s actual performance.

      Summary of Changes (PDF)

 

 

DAILY REVISIONS


 A player’s Handicap Index will update daily, provided that the player submitted a score the day before. On days where the player does not submit a score, no update will take place.

      Summary of Changes (PDF)

MAXIMUM HANDICAP INDEX


 The maximum Handicap Index will be 54.0 for all players, regardless of gender.

      Summary of Changes (PDF)

 

 

IMPORTANCE & DETERMINATION OF PAR


 Par will have an important role within the World Handicap System, requiring par values to be more precise. Golf courses fall within the jurisdiction of the Authorized Golf Association, who has the final determinations of par based on the following guidelines:

      Summary of Changes (PDF)

WHS Par Table img web

COURSE HANDICAP CALCULATION & APPLICATION


 A Course Handicap will represent the number of strokes a player receives in relation to the Par of the tees being played. The formula will include a Course Rating minus Par adjustment:

      Summary of Changes (PDF)

 

Course Handicap = Handicap Index x (Slope Rating ÷ 113) + (Course Rating – Par)

PLAYING HANDICAP CALCULATION & APPLICATION


 The term “Playing Handicap” will be introduced within the Rules of Handicapping and will represent the number of strokes a player receives in a competition. The following formula will be used to determine a Playing Handicap: 

      Summary of Changes (PDF)

Playing Handicap = Course Handicap x Handicap Allowances

WHS Playing Handicap img web

                                                                                                                                                                               Click imgate to view full-size inforgraphic

MAXIMUM HOLE SCORE FOR HANDICAP PURPOSES (NET DOUBLE BOGEY)


 The maximum score for a hole that a player can take for handicap purposes will be limited to Net Double Bogey. This maximum will be double bogey plus any handicap strokes a player receives based on the Course Handicap.

      Summary of Changes (PDF)

 

TREATMENT OF NINE-HOLE SCORES


 Nine-hole scores will be combined in the order that they are submitted and then used to produce an 18-hole Score Differential.

      Summary of Changes (PDF)

World Handicap System

PRGA

The Puerto Rico Golf Association (PRGA) is the authoritative body of amateur golf in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. In that role, the PRGA promotes growth, preserves traditions and protects the integrity of the game, in accordance with the rules adopted by the United States Golf Association.

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