The vision to unify the six different handicap systems in use around the world into a single World Handicap System required the commitment of, and collaboration between, many organizations. All of the following organizations have provided their support to this important initiative and played their part in establishing the key principles, which shaped the proposals and drove forward the initiative to the point where a new World Handicap System can be introduced to the golfing world in 2020.

World Handicap System

Quote from our Member and Captain of the Highway Series - Caryn Jarvis - Thank you
  • The USGA handicap system is changing in Jan 2020.  I haven't done much research yet, but the biggest change I see is the use of equitable stroke control will now be Net Double Bogey.
  • "net double bogey is a score of two-over par after adjusting to a hole's difficulty (holes are handicapped by difficulty on a scorecard from 1 to 18). ... Similarly, for a 14 handicap, a net double bogey would be a triple bogey on the 14 toughest holes, and a double bogey on the other four."


  • The calculation is changing, but that should be done by handicap service.  Along with real time handicap updates.
  • Max handicap index was a 40.0 now it will be 54.0, designed to be more inclusive and encourage keeping a handicap.
  • Flexibility in formats of play, allowing both competitive and recreational rounds to count for handicap purposes and ensuring that a Handicap Index reflects demonstrated ability
  • A minimal number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap; with the number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap being 54 holes from any combination of 18-hole and 9-hole rounds (with some discretion available for national or regional associations)
  • An average-based calculation of a handicap, taken from the best eight out of the last 20 scores and factoring in memory of demonstrated ability for better responsiveness/control
  • A calculation that considers the impact that abnormal course and weather conditions might have on a player’s performance each day
  • Timely handicap revisions - A limit of Net Double Bogey on the maximum hole score (for handicapping purposes only)
  • A maximum handicap limit of 54.0, regardless of gender, to encourage more golfers to measure and track their performance to increase their enjoyment of the game.
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