Welcome to the World Handicapping System(WHS)

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With effect from 2 November 2020, the World Handicapping System (WHS) comes into force across the CONGU region (GB and Ireland). By the year end, every country in the world will be operating to the same system.

This note describes the key features:

Slope Ratings
Slope Rating is a measure of course difficulty. By November, every affiliated golf club across the world will have a course rating. Ratings aren't just set at course level - every set of tees will have its own rating.
Ratings start at 55 for an impossibly easy course to 155 for an impossibly difficult one. 113 is the median rating and the number is important because it is the basis of the calculations. Here at DG, the red tees are rated at 131; the yellow tees at 132 and the white tees at 138. This, officially, makes us one of the hardest courses in the area - no surprise !
Every time we play, we need to know the rating for the course because it's used to calculate our playing handicap.

Handicaps and Handicap Calculations

Forget everything you thought you knew about handicaps; come 1 November the only thing that stays the same is the course.
The basis of the new system is a handicap based on an average of the best 8 scores in the last 20. However, as always, it's a bit more complicated than that. For starters, there's a July 2017 cut off - any scores before that will be ignored. For anyone who hasn't clocked up 20 scores since July '17, a sliding scale applies which will always involve an average of the best x in the last y. For example, for someone with 12 scores, it will be an average of the best 4 in 12.

The result of these calculations, to one decimal place, is called the Handicap Index and it is the one handicap figure we will need to remember.
A key objective of the WHS is worldwide consistency and so, to help achieve this, all Handicap Index figures are based on a course with a Slope Rating of 113 (that number!). To get to this figure, the handicap system checks where, and from what tees, every score was made at and to each the appropriate Slope factor is applied to get to a 113 rated course equivalent. Then it determines the best 8 and averages them.

This calculation will first take place for everyone on the night of 31 October and every night thereafter when it detects a players has submitted a new score. Assuming a history of 20 scores, the oldest score is dropped off and the new score added and a revised average of the best 8 is calculated.
This means, for everyone at DG, when we first see our new Handicap Index, it's likely to be a lower figure than our current handicap - because it's based on an easier course rating of 113 whereas ours has a higher rating.
But, the Handicap Index isn't our playing handicap - to find out what is, read on ...

Playing Handicap

Playing handicaps are derived from a combination of our Handicap Index and the Slope Rating for the course we are about to play.
Today, we all know our handicap by heart. Come November, the current figure will disappear forever and be replaced by the Handicap Index which we will then know by heart as we do now.

How do I find the Slope Rating is for a course? For starters, the ratings will be available at the course, often on permanent 'Slope / Handicap' boards placed near the Pro Shop or the first tee. Also, England Golf plan to release a free app and, no doubt, there will be plenty of other information on-line.

Establishing playing handicap is simply a matter of multiplying our Handicap Index by the course Slope Rating and dividing by 113. Those that can, can do the sums in their head, the rest of us can use the England Golf app or look the 'Slope / Handicap' boards, just mentioned, which will be course specific and convert Handicap Index figures into playing handicaps.
Example; Fred's Handicap Index is 14.5 and tomorrow morning he will play here at DG off the white tees. His playing handicap will be : 14.5 x 138 (the Slope Rating for the white tees) /113 which is 17.71 or playing off 18.
Being a sporty chap, later that afternoon, Fred will then play at Cumberwell Park; his playing handicap there will be 14.5 x 116 (the Slope Rating for the red and yellow course there) / 113 which is 14.88, so playing off 15. Two quite different handicaps in one day!

And Another thing...

Despite the rumours, there is no intention, nor ever was , to require members to hand in cards every time they play. In fact, post 2 November things will continue as now although England Golf would like players to return more cards in order to make handicaps more accurate.
From 1 November, the term 'supplementary' will be replaced with 'general play' but the rules remain the same i.e. the player must notify the club before playing and return the card afterwards

But, unlike now, supplementary cards (or general play cards) can be completed at any course anywhere in the world although, initially, best stick just to courses in the UK. However, if playing away from the home club, the player must log into the handicap system at the away club before playing to register the round and then again after to record the scoring. It can't be done back at the home club.

Finally ..
This note provides an overview of the changes and more detailed information will be provided in due course. In the meantime, your committee are considering the changes the club needs to make and you will be informed of these well in advance of 2 November.

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