You’ve heard about it, and maybe even you know a little
bit about it. On Jan. 1, 2020, the new World Handicap System goes into effect.
When it does, you’ll notice a number of improvements compared to the current
system. Here are some of the most critical changes:
Your new Handicap
Index will be more responsive to good scores by averaging your eight best scores
out of your most recent 20 (currently, it’s 10 out of 20 with a .96
multiplier). Your Handicap Index will be determined by your demonstrated
ability and the consistency of scores. In most cases for TGA Members, your
index will change less than one stroke.
Handicap is the number of strokes needed to play to par. This will result in
greater variance in that number and presents a change. Historically it has
represented the number of strokes needed to play to the Course Rating. What’s your target score for the day? Take
par plus your Course Handicap. The Course Rating will now be inherent within
the calculation to be more intuitive and account for competing from different
tournament play, the maximum hole score for every golfer will be limited to a
Net Double Bogey. This adjustment is more consistent from hole to hole than the
Equitable Stroke Control procedure. Net Double Bogey is already used in many
other parts of the world and the calculation is simple: Par + 2 strokes + any
handicap strokes you receive on that hole.
One of the ways
handicapping is being modernized is by increasing the frequency of golfers’ Handicap
Index updates. Under the WHS, your Handicap Index will update the day after a
score is submitted. Once the WHS goes into effect, when you submit a score,
you’ll receive an updated Handicap Index the next day. This provides a fairer
indication of a player’s ability in the moment. On days where the player does
not submit a score, no update will take place.
The new WHS will limit extreme upward movement of a
Handicap Index. It also will automatically and immediately reduce a Handicap
Index when an exceptional score of at least seven strokes or better is posted. The
new system also accounts for abnormal course or weather conditions to ensure
that scores reflect when a course plays significantly different than its
established Course Rating and Slope Rating. This might include a day when you
play through 30-mph wind and pouring rain, or when the rough is cut down and
nearly all hole locations are in the middle of the green. These safeguards help maintain accuracy of a
Handicap Index, greater integrity within the system and promote fun and fair
play for golfers of all abilities.
For more on the