The idea for a new, unified system was conceived by the USGA and The R&A and developed following an extensive review of systems administered by six existing handicapping authorities – Golf Australia, the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) in Great Britain and Ireland, the European Golf Association (EGA), the South African Golf Association (SAGA), the Argentine Golf Association (AAG) and the United States Golf Association (USGA).
The World Handicap System launched in Canada January 8th, 2020 and features the following:
- Flexibility in formats of play, allowing both competitive and recreational rounds to count for handicap purposes and ensuring a golfer’s handicap is more reflective of demonstrated ability.
- A minimal number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap. The number of scores needed to establish a Handicap Index is 54 holes from any combination of 18-hole and 9-hole rounds.
- A consistent handicap that is portable from tee to tee, course to course and country to country through worldwide use of the World Handicap System.
- An average-based calculation of a handicap, taken from the best eight out of the last 20 Score Differentials and factoring in memory of previous demonstrated ability for better responsiveness and control.
- A calculation that considers the impact that playing conditions (including course set up and weather conditions) might have on a player’s performance each day
- Daily handicap revisions, taking account of the course and weather conditions calculation.
- A limit of Net Double Bogey on the maximum hole score (for handicapping purposes only). Net Double Bogey will replace the previous Equitable Stroke Control (ESC) procedure for determining the maximum hole score.
- A maximum Handicap Index of 54.0, regardless of gender, to encourage more golfers to measure and track their performance to increase their enjoyment of the game.