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World Handicap System

Good morning,

Hope everyone had a great weekend!   We would like to take this time to update everyone regarding the new World Handicap System that will be implemented on January 1st, 2020.  Below is a brief description on items that are new.  Additional information is also available at the following link:

The switch occurs.

Normal score posting will continue until December 31. Then all will go dark as tens of millions of existing scores in the U.S. are uploaded to the new GHIN platform. A few days and a quick reboot later, the WHS will commence for score posting on January 6th.

The math will be slightly different.

Presently a handicap is based on 96% of the best 10 differentials of 20 most recent rounds. Under the WHS, it will be 100% of the best eight of 20. Eight is thought to be more responsive to a real good score . . . less responsive to a poor one.

Handicaps will be updated nightly.

No more revisions on the 1st and 15th days of the month. Every time a score is posted prior to midnight, an update will be issued the following morning.

The maximum Handicap Index is going up.

Today, the maximum Handicap Index a man can carry is 36.4 . . . a woman, 40.4. Under the WHS, a Handicap Index will be calculated up to 54.0 for both genders. Clubs will have the ability to set the limits for their competition.

It takes fewer scores to obtain a handicap.

A new golfer can hit the ground running and be issued a Handicap Index after posting scores for as few as 54 holes.

Equitable Stroke Control has changed.

For score posting purposes only, the Maximum Hole Score will be a net double bogey. That is a gross double bogey, plus any handicap strokes the golfer is entitled to on that hole based upon the ranking of the stroke holes.

“Caps” will be in place to prevent swings in a handicap.

A “soft cap” will slow the rate at which a handicap increases once a golfer climbs 3.0 strokes above their low watermark of the past twelve months. A “hard cap” will prevent a handicap from increasing more than 5.0 strokes within a year. Of course, if there are exceptional circumstances (i.e., illness, physical setback, etc.), the club can intervene.

An automatic reduction will kick in with the posting of an exceptional score.

A T-score reduction process will not be a part of the WHS. Instead, whenever a golfer records a differential at least 7.0 strokes lower than their Handicap Index for any round of golf, an automatic 1.0 stroke reduction will be applied (2.0 reduction for any round at least -10.0). Identifying and posting T-scores will remain a priority for clubs as we anticipate the development of new and enhanced diagnostic tools from GHIN that will assist clubs in identifying “problem” golfers and suggest the proper level for their handicap.

There is a feature that factors in weather and course condition variables.

The automated Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC) will analyze daily scores to determine if conditions of play differed significantly from “normal” to an extent that scoring was impacted. If so, all differentials for the day will be uniformly adjusted upwards or downwards. The calculation is performed each evening just before handicaps are updated, providing yet another incentive to post a score by midnight on the day of play. If a golfer delays posting, the score will inherit any PCC adjustment, but it will not have been a part of the process that led to the decision to adjust.