Handicaps 101

WHS- A Player's Journey

What is LPGA Amateur requirements for handicaps?

Any member interested in playing in the LPGA Amateur Championship series (match cup, par 3 challenge, stroke play, or competitive scramble team) must enter two (2) 18-hole rounds of four (4) 9-hole rounds before the championship season begins.

 So, You Want to Establish a Handicap Index … How Do I do This?

All LPGA Amateur Hampton Roads members can obtain an official WHS Handicap Index through the Virginia State Area Golf association www.VSGA.com. Every member who is playing can create and is encouraged to POST A SCORE to obtain a Handicap Index through GHIN with your current club affiliation and/or your own Golf Club membership.

GolfNet Benefit expired. How do I keep my score history? Where do I find a new service? What do I do now?

As of January 1 2022, GolfNet is no longer included as a part of your LPGA Amateurs membership. For Those of you that remained active with their GolfNet Account in 2021 and find in 2022 that you can still access it, that is due to an extension of 12 months that LPGA Amateurs extended to those active users. This gives you time to transition to a different service that maintains your GHIN# for you by Dec 31, 2022.  

I just enter my scores, right?

Yes, assuming you played the hole to completion, taking the necessary number of strokes to hole out. You cannot play a round alone if you intend to post a score. This eliminates double-par rules and “gimmies”, requiring you to enter your true score for each hole. If you post after picking up your ball... consider learning more about Estimated Stroke Count (ESC) rules from USGA to estimate your score for a hole. It is best to play the hole out when you can for accuracy.

Play 9, Post 9! GHIN accepts 9-hole and 18-hole scores. Be sure to include all rounds.

Which scores can’t be tracked?

Those rounds where you played alone cannot be tracked. The USGA “peer review” rule, enacted 1/1/2016, requires you play with a fellow competitor, caddie, opponent, tournament marker, or friend riding along in the cart for the round to be considered not playing alone.

During winter months in some states, scores are not posted. This is referred to as the inactive season, which in Virginia does not apply as posting is allowed year round. A state-by-state list of inactive season information is available on www.USGA.com.

How the WHS differs from the previous USGA Handicaps 




1. Fewer scores count toward your Index

Under the old USGA system, 10 of your past 20 rounds contributed to your Handicap Index.

With the WHS, that number falls to eight of your past 20. The reduction allows for greater responsiveness to good scores and rewards more consistent play.

2. Your Index updates in your sleep

A new Index was generated on the first and 15th of each month

A new Index is calculated daily (or at least any day after a golfer posts a new score). This is meant to create a more responsive handicap and keeps players from having to wait up to two weeks for new scores to have an impact.

3. Welcome to the net-double-bogey world

To safeguard against (cough) sandbagging (cough), the USGA system employed Equitable Stroke Control (ESC) to cap the maximum score on any hole. ESC was calculated on a sliding scale, depending on your course handicap (10-19 could take no more than a 7 on any hole, 20-29 took a max of 8, etc.).

The WHS also has a maximum, but it uses net double bogey as the universal standard. This provides consistency in its application and is a nod to handicap systems used in other parts of the world, particularly those that use Stableford scoring, where net double bogey is the equivalent of zero points.

4. Your Index will weather the storm


A “playing conditions calculation” (PCC) that adjusts how your score impacts your Index depending on the average of all scores posted at that course that day. Say 20 mile-per-hour winds cause you to shoot in the high 80s when you normally post 78s and 79s. The WHS algorithm accounts for this to keep the score from negatively affecting your Index, particularly if all scores that day were high.

5. How many shots you’re getting will change.

Previously, your course handicap represented the number of strokes you got based on your Handicap Index in relation to course rating

Now course handicaps reflect the strokes you get in relation to par, a more intuitive measure for most golfers. Note that course-handicap values from tee to tee will vary more under the new system. Golfers playing forward tees will get fewer strokes than before, and those playing back tees will get more. This might affect matches in which you’re playing from one tee and your opponent is playing from another. It’s possible you’ll receive or have to give more strokes than in the past. But if you’re playing the same tees, the difference in the shots you’re giving/getting from an opponent should be minimal.

There are many other nuances to this new system that can be found in the link below:

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