World Handicap System (WHS)

** Last Update: 23rd September 2020 **

Welcome to our World Handicapping pages which we have put together to try and explain to our members about the significant changes that are being implemented on how handicaps will be maintained.

The World Handicap System is being introduced on the 2nd November 2020. It is designed to welcome more players, to make golf easier to understand and to give all golfers a handicap which is portable all around the globe.

It will replace the 6 different systems currently used by over 15 million golfers in more than 80 countries.

It has been developed by The R&A and The United States Golf Association (USGA), supported by the world’s handicapping authorities, including CONGU, which represents the four home countries of Great Britain and Ireland.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to signup for your England Golf  account at By signing up you can receive the England Golf WHS newsletters directly to your inbox. From the 2nd November you can also track your handicap through the England Golf WHS Platform.

My summary below provides an overview of the new system covering all the main elements and how they link together.

Best Regards

George Auterson
Chair of Competition & Handicap Committee
July 2020


To prepare for its introduction some work has already been completed in relation to our course:

COURSE RATING – in the late summer of 2019 the course has been given a Course Rating which represents the difficulty of a course for a scratch golfer from each different tee (a bit like the old Standard Scratch rating)

  • BGGC Course Ratings are Whites 67.6, Yellows 66.7, Seniors 66.5 and Reds 70.3

SLOPE RATING – this rating represents the relative difficulty of a course for a bogey golfer as compared with a scratch golfer. In this context bogey means a 20 handicap for men and 24 for women. Slope rating has been done for each different tee.

  • Slope rating will be higher on a course with long carries, narrow fairways and thick rough
  • Slope Rating falls within a range of 55 and 155
  • In GB & Ireland the average Slope rating is 125
  • For Handicap purposes a Neutral Slope rating of 113 is used

BGGC Slope Ratings are :

  • White tees – 119
  • Yellow – 115
  • Seniors – 111
  • Red – 120

2. WORK IN PROGRESS – Handicap Index

You currently have a playing handicap. Under the WHS you will have a Handicap Index.

This will be computed as the average of the best 8 of your last 20 qualifying scores posted since 1st January 2018. If you have not posted 20 qualifying scores since then a method similar to allocating a new handicap will be used.

Between the date that the course becomes qualifying and the 2nd November 2020 you are encouraged to play in as many individual strokeplay competitions as possible and to submit as many *supplementary scores as possible, over either 9 or 18 holes.


Supplementary Scores

N.B. You need to pre-register your intention to submit a Supplementary score.

Preferably this should be done using the HowDidIDo (HDID) App but if this is not possible you must inform the Pro Shop of your intention to submit a Supplementary Score BEFORE starting your round. 

To register your intention via the HDID App, go to “Today’s Golf”, click on “Sign In” and click on “Supplementary Score”. You will then be able to choose the course tees you intend to use and specify whether 9 or 18 holes. This MUST be done BEFORE starting your round.

On completion of your round, where possible return your hole by hole scores using the App and place your signed scorecard (showing named marker) in the competition box.  Ensure that the scorecard is noted “Supplementary Score” showing the date, tee time and the name of the marker and signed by the player. If the premises are closed, place the card in the external box near the entrance porch. 


The more cards submitted until 2nd November the more likely that on transition to the WHS your new Handicap Index will reflect your actual playing ability.

Your Transition Handicap should be visible on PSI screens from September. From June to September the WHS will run in the background.

Some test runs have indicated that in transition to the WHS your new Handicap Index is likely to be different from your current Playing Handicap e.g.

  • Currently 6 and below – maybe down by 1
  • 6 – 12 – maybe up or down by 1
  • 12 – 18 – maybe up by 1
  • 18 – 24 – up by 1 or 2
  • 24+ – up by 2 or 3


(If ability has been declining then your Handicap Index will go up more than for steady players because currently handicaps have only increased by 0.1 each time).


So we have Slope Rating and a Handicap Index.

Your handicap on a specific day is calculated by reference to the particular course and tee that you are playing from.

Your Handicap Index is multiplied by the Slope Rating for the course tee being played and then divided by the Neutral Slope Rating of 113.

For example, if the Slope Rating of the White tees on a course was say 127, then if your Handicap Index is :

  • 10.0 then 10 x 127 ÷ 113 = 11.2
  • 20.0 then 20 x 127 ÷ 113 = 22.5
  • 30.0 then 30 x 127 ÷ 113 = 33.7

Good News! – charts will be available at each club and in the PSI software used on the club terminals and phone Apps will be available. So you will not need to do the calculation yourself.

N.B. It is your Handicap Index that must be recorded on your scorecard.


On completion of the round, as soon as possible on that day, you must post your scores electronically on the PSI of the club you played. If using phone Apps, scores must be posted before midnight. Your Handicap Index will be updated in the “Cloud” at 5 minutes past midnight. There will be sanctions for non-submission of scores.

Please also register for your England Golf account at By signing up you can receive the England Golf WHS newsletters directly to your inbox. From the 2nd November you can also track your handicap through the England Golf WHS Platform.


We will no longer have a “ratcheting system” of handicap adjustment. Currently a good score results in a much bigger handicap adjustment than having a poor score. Also, a spell of poor form is rewarded by 0.1 increases in handicap. Under the WHS it will be very different up & down.

Your Handicap Index will be the average of your best 8 out of the last 20 Acceptable Scores (see 6. Below). It is recalculated when new scores are returned. There could be quite a swing.

Upward movement of Handicap Index within a defined period of time is CAPPED to limit the rate of increase during a period of poor form. (Soft and Hard cap).

For Handicap purposes, a big score at a hole is reduced to a net double bogey.

There can also be exceptional score adjustments after a very low score is returned.


There are two categories :

1. Competition Scores – scores in all singles competition rounds of Individual Strokeplay (Medal & Stableford) played over a qualifying measured course from a particular tee

2. General Play Scores – scores in non-competition and social golf can be used but pre-registration is required. Like Supplementary Scores currently, you register your intention to submit a score for handicap purposes prior to commencement of the round. These can be played over 9 or 18 holes.

Team and Matchplay scores are currently excluded in England.


We have covered Course Handicaps and that calculation is done first by multiplying your Handicap Index by Slope rating and then dividing by 113.

You may then need to determine your Playing Handicap by restricting your Course Handicap dependent on the format of the competition. For example :

  • 4 ball Matchplay the restriction is 90%
  • Individual Strokeplay (Medal and Stableford) the restriction is 95%.

So a bit of juggling when it comes to getting the right handicap for recording scores on your scorecard. A Handicap Index, a Course Handicap and a Playing Handicap.


This adjustment is made automatically by the software to take account of abnormal course or weather conditions. It looks at all the scores submitted on the course for that day and determines if the course or weather conditions on the day differed from “Normal” expected scores. This is a bit like the current CSS adjustment.

The adjustment will however be conservative in nature. In easy conditions it may adjust the gross score for the round by 1 or increase the gross by up to 3 in difficult conditions.


  • No “Competition” handicap status, “C” status
  • No handicap categories, currently Categories 1 – 6
  • No Standard Scratch
  • No 0.1 handicap increases
  • No Buffer Zones in determining handicap adjustments


10.1 England Golf’s dedicated website to the WHS – CLICK HERE

10.2 England Golfs FAQS – CLICK HERE

10.3 The World Handicap System Map – CLICK HERE

10.4 The Bracken Ghyll WHS Conversion Chart – CLICK HERE


A simple introduction to the WHS

1 World Handicap System –
An Introduction (1:01)

2 World Handicap System –
Basis of Calculation (1:20)

3 World Handicap System –
Course and Slope Rating (1:22)

4 World Handicap System –
Playing Handicap (1:04)

5 World Handicap System –
Maximum Handicap Index 54 (1:18)

6 World Handicap System –
Acceptable Scores (1:24)

7 World Handicap System –
Net Double Bogey (1:13)

8 World Handicap System –
Daily Revisions (1:13)

9 World Handicap System –
Playing conditions calculation (1:18)

10 WHS Player Journey (2:54)

(Images and Videos source: England Golf / R&A)