Golf StoriesThe 5 Things You Need to Know About the New World Handicap System

September 30, 2019by Brian Hurlburt0

Beginning in 2020, a brand-new set of Rules for Handicapping will be introduced globally. Here are the top five things you need to understand as the calendar rolls closer to 2020. And, to put it simply, the overall goal is to greater integrity within the system and to promote fun between all levels of players.

1. Your Handicap Index may change.

But that’s ok! Finally, players around the world will have an apples-to-apples handicap. 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). In short, your Handicap Index will be determined by your demonstrated ability and consistency of scores. In most cases for golfers in the U.S., it will change less than one stroke.

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2. You need to know your Course Handicap.

In the new system, your Course Handicap will be the number of strokes needed to play to par. This will result in greater variance in that number and presents a change, as historically it has represented the number of strokes needed to play to the Course Rating. This is a good thing, as par is an easy number to remember. Target score for the day? Par plus Course Handicap. The Course Rating will now be inherent within the calculation to be more intuitive and account for competing from different tees.

3. Net Double Bogey.

The maximum hole score for each player 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 + any handicap strokes you receive.

4. Your Handicap Index will be revised daily.

One way that handicapping is being modernized is a player’s Handicap Index will update daily (which will provide a fairer indication of a player’s ability in the moment), if the player submitted a score the day before. On days where the player does not submit a score, no update will take place.

5. Safeguards in the new system.

The new system will limit extreme upward movement of a Handicap Index, automatically and immediately reduce a Handicap Index when an exceptional score of at least 7 strokes better is posted, and account 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.

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.

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Brian Hurlburt

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