Update (26th November 2020)

England Golf are experiencing an unprecedented number of enquiries following the launch of the World Handicap System and ask for continued patience while they work to provide answers.

Please note:

  • Over 15 million historical scores have been transferred from the old CDH system to the new WHS platform.
  • Any ‘missing’ scores that only appear in club software records can be posted directly onto the England Golf WHS Golf Club Platform by the player’s home club.
  • Clubs should note that if any scores (before 2 November 2020) from a golfer’s playing record do not appear on the WHS system, this is down to the fact that the information was never previously transferred to the old CDH system from club software.
  • Work is continuing refreshing areas of the data including the mapping of tees, pending scores.
  • In excess of 200,000 golfers have now registered to view their score

England Golf are aware of issues:

  • around accessing the platform in different browsers
  • clubs showing in the wrong counties
  • Members should be aware that when asked to input their Membership ID during login, this refers to their CDH number. Golfers who do not know their CDH number can request this from their club. Golfers should take extra care when inputting this 10-digit number to reduce chance of user error.

"A modern handicap system for all golfers everywhere"

The new World Handicap System (WHS) has been designed to encourage more golfers to obtain a handicap - enabling them to play with, or against, each other anywhere around the world.

The idea for a new, unified system was conceived by The R&A and the USGA and developed following an extensive review of existing systems administered by six handicapping authorities. Adaptable across golfing cultures, the proposed new system will provide players with a consistent measure of playing ability globally, helping to make the game of golf more enjoyable.

The WHS came into operation on 2nd November 2020. The current CONGU Unified Handicapping System is replaced by WHS which unifies the six handicapping structures currently in place throughout the world. With one single system in place golfers can obtain and maintain a handicap index; use their handicap index on any golf course around the world; and compete or play a casual round with anyone else on a fair and equal basis.

There are a number of links in the sidebar to various sources of further information. The R&A link leads to a wealth of information and includes videos, background, the key principles and additional Q &A's.

The aim of the Cornwall staged WHS Workshops in November 2019 was to inform and prepare clubs for the introduction of WHS.

The next step was for attendees to look at the presentation and guidance to ensure  they are familiar with it, before sharing it with their Club committees. 

Course Rating / Slope certificates have been issued to Clubs and any who have not been rated will receive a temporary rating from England Golf.

Any queries, in the first instance, please contact CGU Secretary Chris Pountney.

Key Features of the WHS

Key Features
Calculation of Playing Handicap

The number of strokes received during a round will be based on the choice of course, tees and format of play. This will include any Handicap Allowances that have been set to promote fairness of play.

Go out and enjoy your Round

Under the new system, golfers should feel like they can simply play and enjoy their round – just the same as always.

Submit your Score

The player should submit their score as soon as practicable after completing the round, preferably before midnight on the day of play for inclusion in the daily Course Conditions Adjustment calculation. This allows a responsive update of the player’s handicap for the next day they play.

There is no real need for golfers to worry about the technical details of the new system. However, for those who are interested – here are some of the highlights:

Minimal Number of Scores to Obtain a Handicap

To encourage new players to the game, National Associations can set the number of holes required to be submitted to obtain a handicap. It is recommended that the minimum number of holes should be 54, in any combination of 9-hole or 18-hole rounds.

Maximum Handicap

Under the new system, the maximum handicap that can be issued to a player of any gender is 54.0.

Acceptable Scores for Handicap Purposes

Singles and Stableford formats of stroke-play competitions must be submitted by all players. National Associations have discretion within their jurisdiction to decide if other acceptable formats of play can be submitted for handicap purposes – giving players plenty of opportunity to submit scores and provide evidence of their potential ability.

Maximum Hole Score

Golfers of all skill levels will occasionally make a high score on a hole, which does not reflect their potential. Under the new system, the maximum score per hole will be limited to Net Double Bogey, which is the equivalent of zero points in Stableford formats.

Course Rating and Slope Rating

Course Rating indicates the difficulty of a golf course for a 0-handicap golfer. Slope Rating is relative to the Course Rating, providing strokes needed to play at the same level as the 0-handicap golfer for a specific set of tees. Course and Slope Ratings enable golfers’ handicaps to be portable from course to course, country to country.

Basis of Handicap Calculation

Averaging the best eight of a player’s most recent 20 scores provides a good indicator of potential ability. When combined with memory of demonstrated ability over time, the resulting handicap provides a balance between responsiveness and control - so a temporary loss of form should not automatically lead to an excessive increase in handicap.

Abnormal Course and Weather Conditions Adjustment

Golf is an outdoor sport and not always played in ideal conditions. The new system will consider the impact of daily course or weather conditions on each golfer’s performance. Such adjustments will be conservative and will only be made when there is clear evidence that an adjustment is warranted.

Accommodating Local Golfing Cultures

It is not our intention to try to force a change on the way that golf is played around the world or to try and remove the variations. The cultural diversity that exists within the game, including different formats of play and degrees of competitiveness, is what makes the sport so universally popular. Through collaboration with National Associations, the goal has been to try to accommodate those cultural differences within a single WHS.

9-Hole Scores

The new system is able to accept both 9-hole and 18-hole score formats for handicapping purposes, where selected by National Associations

Daily Revisions

The player should submit their score as soon as practicable after completing the round, preferably before midnight on the day of play. This allows for a responsive update of the player’s handicap before the next day they play.