World Handicap System 2020

//World Handicap System 2020

Purpose of the World Handicap System

The World Handicap System includes the Rules of Handicapping and the Course Rating System. Its purpose is to make the game of golf enjoyable and to give as many golfers as possible the opportunity to:
• 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.

This is achieved by:
• Establishing Course Ratings and Slope Ratings for each set of tees, based on length and playing difficulty (see Diagram 1.1).
• Applying adjustments to a Handicap Index to reflect the golf course being played and the format of play.
• Assessing the impact of playing conditions, using players’ scores on a specific day and applying adjustments when necessary.
• Limiting the maximum hole score for handicap purposes to ensure a Handicap Index continues to reflect a player’s demonstrated ability.
• Applying a uniform calculation for updating a Handicap Index for all acceptable scores submitted.
• Updating a Handicap Index on a daily basis, or soon thereafter.
• Reviewing a player’s Handicap Index on a regular basis to ensure it continues to reflect the player’s demonstrated ability.

Authorization to Use the World Handicap System
In order to use the World Handicap System, the Missouri Golf Association must be authorized by the USGA and The R&A. Within its area of jurisdiction, we may: (The MGA was certified on September 16th)
• Use the Rules of Handicapping and the Course Rating System.
• Use the registered marks of the World Handicap System.
• Issue a Handicap Index either directly or, where delegated, through a golf club.
• Issue a Course Rating and a Slope Rating.


Under the World Handicap System, the USGA requires a representative, preferably the Handicap Chairperson, from each golf club to complete an educational component covering the new Rules of Handicapping and to pass the standardized quiz provided by the USGA.  With the significance of the new changes, the clubs have to complete this requirement by June 30, 2020. Any club failing to complete this requirement prior to this date will not be authorized to use the Rules of Handicapping and their members will receive a NH for their Handicap Index.


A player is expected to:
• Act with integrity by following the Rules of Handicapping and to refrain from using, or circumventing, the Rules of Handicapping for the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage,
• Attempt to make the best score possible at each hole,
• Submit acceptable scores for handicap purposes as soon as possible after the round is completed and before midnight local time,
• Submit acceptable scores to provide reasonable evidence of their demonstrated ability,
• Play by the Rules of Golf, and
• Certify the scores of fellow players.

There are  significant changes in the World Handicap System in 2020. I have added a few below. We strongly encourage all golfers handicap chairpersons and club professionals to watch vidoe’s provided by the USGA & R&A to help with the transition.

Frequency of Revision of a Handicap Index Update DAILY AT MIDNIGHT
A player’s Handicap Index should be updated no later than the day after a score was submitted, or as soon as possible thereafter

Handicap Index Calculation
The average of the lowest 8 of 20 score differentials will be factored into the calculation.  This system will be more responsive to good scores and eliminate the need for a bonus for excellence.  The minimum number of scores to establish a Handicap Index will be three 18-hole rounds. It is strongly recommended that a player’s initial 3 scores are submitted hole-by-hole to better enable clubs to better assess the player’s potential.

Course Handicap
The number of handicap strokes a player receives, before handicap allowances, from a specific set of tees as determined by the Slope Rating and the difference between Course Rating and par.

Course Handicap Calculation
A Course Handicap is the number of strokes a player receives to play down to the PAR of the tees being played.
The new formula will be Handicap Index  x (Slope Rating/113)+ (CR-PAR)
(current formula Handicap Index  x Slope Rating/113)

The procedure that reduces or limits the amount by which a player’s Handicap Index can increase when measured against the player’s Low Handicap Index. There are two trigger points within the cap procedure:
• Soft cap – the point after which there is a reduction in the rate of upward movement of a Handicap Index.
• Hard cap – the point which sets the maximum limit for the upward movement of a Handicap Index.

Maximum Handicap Index
The maximum Handicap Index that can be issued to a player is 54.0

Exceptional Score
A Score Differential which is at least 7.0 strokes better than the player’s Handicap Index at the time the round was played

Net Double Bogey
A score equal to the par of a hole plus two strokes and adjusted for any handicap strokes applied on that hole. A net double bogey is a player’s maximum hole score for handicap purposes.

Net Par
A score equal to the par of a hole adjusted for any handicap strokes applied on that hole

Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC)
The statistical calculation that determines if conditions on a day of play differed from normal playing conditions to the extent that they significantly impacted players’ performance. Examples of conditions that could impact players’ performance include:
• Course conditions,
• Weather conditions, and
• Course set-up.