The new World Handicap system goes into effect January 1, 2020.  This is the second phase of aligning golf across all countries.  Last year new rules were put into effect.  This year it is the handicapping. 

Here are some of the highlights of this new system which all of us need to know:

  1. The biggest change is what you can post.In the past the highest you could post was your ESC score.This is no longer the case. After Jan 1, the highest you can post is net double bogie.This means that the highest score you can post will depend on the PAR for the HOLE.

    Net Double Bogey =  PAR + 2 + Pops

    If you don’t know how to determine your pops on each hole, see the section below.

  2. There will be no changes to Course Rating or Slope of the courses we play.Interestingly, the other countries adopted the USGA standards for rating courses.So we are good to go.

  3. Your index is recomputed every time you post.So it may change as often as daily.Be sure to check to see what your current index is before you post for that day.

  4. The new maximum index for both women and men is 54.

  5. An index will be computed from any 54 hole you have played including both 9 and 18 hole rounds.There is no time limit on the rounds included.For golfers who haven’t posted in a while, this may come as a surprise.

  6. Currently your index is computed as 96% of your best 10 out of 20 scores.In the new system, your index will be computed as 100% of your best 8 of 20 holes.

  7. There are no longer “T” or Tournament scores which stick around for a year.Competition scores will be recorded with a “C” so that you can see what rounds were competitions, but they count the same as any other score toward your handicap.

  8. “C” scores used to be two 9 hole rounds combined into an 18 hole score.Now when two 9 hole rounds are combined, the score is flagged as “N”.

  9. If you play between 7 – 13 holes, you must post for the front 9.If you play 14 or more holes, then you must post an 18 hole round. In both cases, for those holes you did not play, you post Par + Pops.Again, to determine your Pops see the section below.

  10. A new calculation has been added called the Playing Condition Calculator (PCC).This calculation will be used when weather conditions cause scores to be unusually high or low on a given day.The PCC will adjust the score differentials to better reflect the player’s actual performance.This is an automatic procedure.So it is important that you post your score promptly in order to enable this calculation to identify when to kick in.

Determining Pops:

  1. Pops are based on your Course Handicap (CH).Your Course Handicap is a function of both your Handicap Index and the Slope of the course you are playing.To determine your CH, you can use an app on your phone such as the GHIN app, or you can ask in the Pro-Shop for the Course Handicap Tables which are usually stored near the computer terminal used for on-site posting.You probably will have a different CH at each course that you play, even though your Handicap Index will remain the same.The CH is based on the difficulty of the course.

  2. Once you know your CH, you know your Pops.If your CH is 18, then you get 18 Pops.If your Chis 25, then you get 25 Pops.Got it?

  3. The tricky part is determining which holes on the golf course you get these Pops.Each hole has a rating called the Stroke Index which defines the difficulty of each hole.The hardest hole on the course is rated “1”.The easiest hole is rated “18”.Be sure to look at the Ladies Stroke Index for each hole when determining the hole difficulty.

  4. Using the example above, if you have 18 Pops, then you get one Pop for each of the 18 holes.This means that if you score a bogey in every hole, you are actually shooting a net par.Good for you!

  5. If you have 25 Pops, then you get 1 Pop on all 18 holes but you have 7 extra Pops (25 -18 = 7).These are assigned to the 7 hardest holes on the course.So you would get 2 Pops on holes with the Stroke Indexes 1 – 7, and 1 Pop on all the rest.Typically you would mark your scorecard in some way so that you know which holes get 2 Pops and which get 1 Pop.

  6. We have been told that the on-line apps including the GHIN app on your phone will be updated to help with the new posting rules.It is our understanding that if you choose, you can enter all your scores for the holes you played and the app will figure out what you should post.More date entry but less math!

  7. If this sounds too complicated, then ask Sheri Dean for her Ladies Table of Pops.She has computed all the Pops for all the CH for the Ladies Tees at the Santa Barbara Golf Course.You can have a copy to carry in your golf bag, or just check it out when you check in and mark your score card before you tee off.

If you have questions, please ask Kathy Patton.  It all sounds complicated, but like anything else, it will become more straight forward once you start using the new system. 

For LOTS of addition information, you can look at http://www.scga.org/whs-hub