World Handicap System (WHS)

The World Handicap System will launch on November 2nd 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 six 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.

To make the game more enjoyable, the new system will include:

• Course rating and slope rating
• Minimum number of scores to obtain a handicap
• Competitive and recreational scores to count for handicap
• Handicaps will be calculated from an average of recent scores
• Maximum handicap of 54
• Abnormal course and weather conditions.

Transition Handicaps

In order to transition from CONGU to WHS handicaps, all players' current handicap records will be reprocessed using the WHS principles. The calculation will identify the best eight of the last 20 Qualifying Scores and factor in:

• The adjusted Gross Score
• The Course Rating or SSS
• Any CSS adjustments
• The Slope Rating of the tees played

It is anticipated that from Spring 2020 onwards you will be able to see your expected Transition Handicap on screen at the PSI terminal. This may change each time you add a new score as the calculation is re-done using the best eight of your most recent 20 scores.

Slope and Course Rating

Slope Rating

Slope Rating represents the relative difficulty of a course from a specific set of tees for a 'bogey golfer' compared to a 'scratch' golfer. A course with long carries and thick rough will have a high slope rating because these features are more of a challenge to bogey golfers. Currently, Sidcup does not have a slope rating. However, it is anticipated our slope rating will be confirmed in the spring.

Example Slope Ratings for Sidcup:

• White tees (men) 127
• Yellow tees (men) 123
• Red tees (women) 128

A golfer's handicap for a specific course is determined by multiplying the player's Handicap Index by the ratio of the course Slope Rating divided by the neutral Slope Rating of 113.

For example, from the White tees at Sidcup, Course Handicaps will be calculated as follows:

A 10 Handicap Index golfer will have a Course Handicap of 10 x (127/113) = 11
A 20 Handicap Index golfer will have a Course Handicap of 20 x (127/113) = 23
A 30 Handicap Index golfer will have a Course Handicap of 30 x (127/113) = 34
A 40 Handicap Index golfer will have a Course Handicap of 40 x (127/113) = 45

When the Slope Rating system is implemented it will make it easier to run competitions from different sets of tees - it would be possible to stage competitions where players nominate whether to play from White, Yellow or Red tees - their Course Handicaps would be adjusted accordingly and there would be an adjustment to the way that the results are calculated to reflect the difference in Course Ratings.

There will be conversion tables available at each golf club, so the good news is that you won't need to do the calculation yourself!!!


Course Rating replaces the Standard Scratch (SSS) in the new system and represents the score that a scratch golfer is expected to achieve on the course. When the WHS comes into effect the Course Ratings will be to the nearest 0.1.

Click here to be redirected to the World Handicap System Q&A document.

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