We’re on the final countdown to the launch of the new World Handicap System, and this is everything you need to know about the changes happening from November 2.

The new World Handicap System will launch on November 2, and let's be honest all this talk of Slope, Course and Bogey Rating is enough to make anyone’s head hurt 

So, with the help of the experts at England Golf, we’ve attempted to answer some of the questions you might be asking about the new World Handicap System. 

Hopefully, it won’t make you need a strong drink and a lie down in a darkened room after... 

Oh and don't forget, English golfers can get a prediction of what their new handicap will be by logging onto the England Golf platform HERE.

Why is the World Handicap System being enforced? 

Developed by The R&A and USGA, the World Handicap System aims to unite six handicapping bodies across the world under one standardised system. 

It’s a world first, and it will be used by over 15 million golfers in around 80 countries worldwide.  

The new system is designed to make handicapping easier to understand and golf as a whole a more inclusive sport. 

How will I see the benefit? 

Under the new system you will be able to use your Handicap Index (your new handicap) on ANY golf course across the globe.  

This means you can compete or just play for fun totally fairly, without having to consider the handicap rules of that course or country. 

Will my current handicap change? 

All players who currently hold a CONGU handicap will receive a WHS Handicap Index. 

WHS software will automatically create a new Handicap Index for you by calculating the average of the best eight scores from your last 20 rounds. 

What do you do if you don’t have a handicap yet? 

For those new to the sport, they will need to submit scorecards totalling 54 holes to their golf club’s Handicap Committee. 

From there an initial Handicap Index will be created. This will then be transformed into a fully developed Handicap Index once 20 scores have been submitted.  

The maximum possible Handicap Index is 54 and to use one you must be a member of a golf club. 

How do I update my Handicap Index?  

Every time you submit a new score, your Handicap Index will automatically update at the end of the day’s play to reflect the most recent 20 scores. It will then be updated and ready to use the following day.  

All pre-registered ‘social’ scores and all individual competition rounds, both 9 and 18 holes, whether played home or away, are allowed to be submitted. 

All scores must be submitted in accordance with the Rules of Golf, over a minimum number of 10 holes, with at least one other person, and on a course with a current Course Rating and Slope Rating. 

What is the Course Handicap all about?  

From November 2 you must convert your Handicap Index into a Course Handicap before every round.  

But don’t panic, it’s easier than it sounds... Course and Slope Rating tables will be provided at every golf club to help you work it out.  

All you do is choose the set of tees you want to play off and then cross reference your Handicap Index on these tables to find your Course Handicap. 

The Course Handicap is essentially the number of strokes you will get from that set of tees. 

How are courses rated? 

To be honest, this part makes our head hurt and we don’t think you should worry about it too much. 

Golf courses are rated through two types of calculation – Course Rating and Bogey Rating 

Knowing these two ratings allows the WHS to assess the difficulty of the course for all other levels and to produce a Slope Rating for each set of tees.  

Your golf club will be fully briefed and prepared beforehand too, so you’ll always be able to go to them with any questions. 

Main takeaways  

To put it simply, all you have to do is: 

  • Keep submitting your scores to keep your Handicap Index up to date 
  • Remember to use the tables provided to work out your Course Handicap before every round  
  • Keep having the best time out on the course with your pals  

It might sound a bit baffling now, but in the long run we’re confident that it will make playing wherever we want in the world, and with whoever we want, so much easier. 

How do I get my indicative Handicap Index?

Before November 2, golfers in England can get an estimation of what their new handicap will be by logging onto the England Golf platform HERE.

England Golf state: "The indicative Handicap Index is based on scores on your record from January 2018 up until 5 October 2020. Scores posted after this date will be pulled through into your record and the Handicap Index amended accordingly when the system goes live on 2 November."

If you're a Women & Golf subscriber, you can also watch our Q&A interview with Gemma Hunter, England Golf's Head of Handicapping and Course Rating HERE.

We’ve tried to describe the workings of the WHS as simply as we can, but if you want more detailed explanation visit EnglandGolf.org/WHS

Or if you're based in Scotland visit the Scottish Golf WHS page HERE.