Developed by The R&A and USGA in close coordination with existing handicapping authorities, the WHS will provide all golfers with a consistent measure of playing ability, with handicaps calculated in the same way wherever they are in the world.
A key objective of the initiative was to develop a modern system, enabling as many golfers as possible to obtain and maintain a Handicap Index. Golfers will be able to transport their Handicap Index globally and compete or play a casual round with players from other regions on a fair basis. It will also indicate the score a golfer is reasonably capable of achieving the next time they go out to play.
A player’s Handicap Index should represent their current ability but, where appropriate, be responsive to scores that are inconsistent with that demonstrated ability.
It will also include mechanisms which:
A Score Differential measures the performance of a round in relation to the relative difficulty of the course that was played, measured by the Course Rating and Slope Rating. The result of the daily Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC) is also included in the Score Differential calculation, which may provide an adjustment if course and/or weather conditions significantly impacted scores on that day.
A Score Differential is calculated using the following formula:
(113 / Slope Rating) x (Adjusted Gross Score - Course Rating - PCC adjustment)
There may be additional adjustments to the Score Differential, such as an Exceptional Score Reduction or Committee-applied adjustment. These would be clearly identified within the scoring record.
This is a suppression mechanism that limits increases in handicap Index relative to a player’s lowest Handicap Index when a player is going through a spell of poor form.
The Soft Cap suppresses upward movement when the difference between the new calculated Handicap Index and the Lowest Handicap Index is greater than 3.
The increase is suppressed by 50% of any value over 3
The Hard Cap prevents further upward movement by placing a hard ceiling at 5 above the Lowest Index
The Soft Cap and Hard Cap procedures only start to take effect once a player has at least 20 acceptable scores in their playing record.
A score differential which is at least 7 strokes or more better than the player’s Handicap Index at the time the round was played.
Exceptional Score Adjustment