The nice idea of the World Handicap System (WHS) is that every player will have a
Handicap Index which will essentially be your
portable ‘international handicap’. When you play on any course in the world, your Handicap Index will be used to calculate your Course Handicap (and Playing Handicap), with allowance made for the difficulty of the course and the tees from which you are playing.
Every golf course will have both a course and slope rating attached to it.
The course rating system considers the unique challenges of each golf course by evaluating its length and obstacles and quantifies these challenges to produce a Course Rating and a Slope Rating.
As you will see in the table above, each set of Tees also presents a different level of difficulty and therefore each have their own Course Rating and a Slope Rating, allowing golfers to choose which Tee best matches their ability.
Your Handicap Index plus the Course and Slope Ratings are then used to calculate your Course Handicap, providing you with the number of strokes you need to play a specific course from a specific Tee.
For formal competitions, a handicap allowance may also apply - i.e. for Stableford competitions, 95% of your Course Handicap will be calculated to give you your Playing Handicap.
A key point is that your Handicap Index is not the same as your current (traditional) Handicap.
Your Handicap Index will be calculated from the average of your best 8 scores from your last 20 games entered on CONGU (provided you have 20). A minimum of the scores for 54 holes will be needed to get a Handicap Index. The system will take into consideration the courses you played, the Tees you played from and your scores on the day.
For this reason, calculating your own Handicap Index is not a simple exercise and will be undertaken by CONGU centrally.
In some cases, your Handicap Index will be lower than your traditional Handicap. However, once the Course and Slope Ratings are taking into consideration, your Course Handicap will return it to something more familiar.
The plan is to start running the WHS in parallel to the current system from September 2020 so you will hopefully start to see what your Handicap Index will look like from then. Your 20 rounds will initially be generated from rounds played since January 2019. If you haven't recorded 20 rounds, the system will calculate your Handicap Index based on what you have entered. However, the formula alters slightly as you build up your 20 rounds (if for example only 12 rounds are available then an average from best 4 rather than 8 will be used).
When you play under the new system using your Handicap Index(HI), every course will have a table that will show your corresponding Course Handicap(CH) for each colour Tee, meaning you won’t have to calculate it yourself!
However, when you finally receive your Handicap Index, then the following calculation will generally apply:
You have a Handicap Index of 18 and want to play off the Men’s White Tees at CGC:
CH = (HI *Slope Index) / 113 = (18 * 124) / 113 = 19.7
Similarly, if you are a Lady with a handicap Index of 18 and want to play using the Ladies' Red Tees at CGC:
CH = (HI *Slope Index) / 113 = (18 * 129) / 113 = 20.5
The value 113 happens to be the average slope rating of all US golf courses and the EGU has chosen to use this same value to keep our calculations in line with theirs.