Many golfers are still getting used to all the changes to the rules of golf that took effect in January 2019, and now we hear that there’s another big change—this one to the handicap system. Before you get too stressed, let’s review what you need to know about the new World Handicap System (WHS).
First, let’s review your Index. Your Index is a number that indicates your demonstrated ability based on an average of the best 8 of your last 20 scores. It’s what you’re reasonably capable of scoring on your better days. Your Index is then converted to a Course Handicap, which is based on the course and slope rating of the tees you are playing from on that course.
You don’t need to worry about how to calculate your Course Handicap since the Golf Handicap Information Network (GHIN) app does it for you when you select the course and tees you are playing from (anywhere in the world!) Did you know the handicap system is part of your membership with the LPGA Amateurs?
Previously, here in Canada, we used Equitable Stroke Control (ESC), which was a simple chart, to determine the maximum score we could post per hole. The WHS replaced that ESC chart, and the maximum number a player can post on a hole, by limiting it to a Net Double Bogey.
The only thing you need to learn here is how to determine what your maximum Net Double Bogey would be on any given hole. For this you’ll need to know a bit about “stroking your scorecard” or handicapping the holes.
The printed scorecard at any course will indicate the handicap of each of the 18 holes, ranked from one to 18 (with one being the hardest hole and 18 being the easiest hole.) Since my course handicap is a 17, I get one stroke each on 17 of the holes, and I don’t stroke on the easiest hole on the course.
So, on a par 4 hole with one handicap stroke, my max net double bogey would be par + double bogey + any handicap strokes that apply (4 + 2 + 1 = 7).
Yes, under the WHS you will record your actual score on the holes you play; however, there are some situations when a player might not complete a hole.
In each of those scenarios, you wouldn’t have an actual score on that hole because you didn’t “hole out”. You would instead post a Net Double Bogey. In all other circumstances, assuming you played an ideal round, you would post your actual score.
Another change is that rather than updating twice a month, our indexes will be updated nightly. There’s a lot of fancy math that goes into this, including potentially adjusting the Differential if a course is playing unusually hardier or easier than normal, but let me just say that you can no longer postpone your posting since it can affect all the other folks who played that course on that day. Start off the year creating a good habit of posting your score immediately after you finish your round (and right before you head to your favorite hole: the nineteenth!). Download the Golf Canada mobile app for ease of posting your scores.
That’s essentially all you really need to know! Now, like anything golf-related there are lots more juicy details if you’re interested. Visit the Golf Canada website for more information.
Benefits to Having a Handicap
(Why do you want one?)
. You can use it to track your progress. As you record lower scores, your handicap will go down.
. You need a handicap to participate in competitions.
What has Changed?
. Handicap Index is now calculated on the average of your 8 lowest scores (instead of 10) from your most recent 20 scores
. Maximum Score per hole is Net Double Bogey plus handicap strokes
. Handicap strokes per hole are based on your Course Handicap and your Handicap Index.
A. If your Course Handicap is 25 and your are playing a Par 5 which is rated the #1 hardest hole,your maximum score is calculated as follows:
Par for the hole 5
+ Double Bogey 2
+ Course Handicap Strokes 2
Max Score for this Hole = 9
B. Another example using same Course Handicap and a Par 5 hole which is rated #9 hardest, your maximum score is:
+ Double Bogey 2
+ Course Handicap Strokes 1
Max Score for this Hole = 8
All these calculations are built into the new World Handicap System. By posting your actual gross score Hole By Hole, even if you score a 10, the system will calculated your adjusted score and handicap index. You don't have to do the math!
We recommend you post your Hole By Hole gross score the same day you play. Once you have played and posted 54 holes (18 or 9 hole rounds) you will automatically get a Handicap.
All our members will have access to the Golf Canada Handicap system this year, as a Golf Canada membership is now included in our membership for those keeping a handicap starting in 2021.
If you need assistance establishing your handicap, or have any questions regarding the handicap system, please contact your Handicap Chair, Barb Thompson.