World Handicap System

The new World Handicap System (WHS) officially launches today for golfers in England.

This signals the first major shift in handicapping across the country since the national handicap was introduced in 1911.

Developed by golf’s governing bodies, The R&A and USGA, the WHS – for the first time – unites six bodies across the globe under one standardised system.

It will now be directly accessed by over 630,000 golfers at the 1,817 golf clubs in England.

Under WHS, golfers from England will be able to transport and use their ‘Handicap Index’ on any course around the world.

The new WHS makes for a fairer and more equitable system of handicapping as well as establishing a method for more accurately calculating a golfer’s current playing ability.

Further changes from the old CONGU system include a player’s Handicap Index being calculated from an average of the best eight of last 20 returned scores, allowing golfers to easily obtain and maintain a handicap, as well as compete, or play recreationally, regardless of where they tee it up.

Since 2019, England Golf has been committed to helping golf clubs educate their members on the key changes to the WHS; hosting seminars across 35 counties to help educate over 4,500 handicap committee members and secretaries.

Earlier in the summer, England Golf also launched a bespoke digital toolkit to help clubs educate their members on the key features of the new system.

As the governing body of the amateur game in England, England Golf has also come to the fore this year, ensuring the sport returned safely to fairways up and down the country after lockdown in accordance with the government guidelines.

England Golf CEO, Jeremy Tomlinson, said: “November 2 marks an historic day for everyone associated with the game of golf in England.

“We have been planning and working towards this day for a long time and, despite the difficult period we have encountered this year, cannot wait to see it roll out into golf clubs across the country.

“We believe the new system will be extremely beneficial for golfers as part of our great game’s continued development and modernisation.

“We hope it will encourage further growth on the back of a significant rise in memberships throughout England in the last few months.

“As well as growing the game, we also want to be able to give golfers the chance to enjoy the sport and to compete fairly, no matter where they are playing at home or abroad.”

England Golf’s Head of Handicapping and Course Rating, Gemma Hunter, added: “We are confident that the new WHS will be a success throughout the country.

“The new system allows golfers to obtain and maintain a Handicap Index based on their current playing ability.

“In addition, it gives them the opportunity to experience even more ways to submit a score for handicap purposes and be able to play against any fellow golfer on an equitable basis and on any course around the world.”

Golfers – want to know more about WHS? Download our golfer’s toolkit here

Sign up to the ‘My England Golf’ WHS Platform here

For general information on the World Handicap System click here