The World Handicap System will be launched in November. It is designed to welcome more players, to make golf easier to understand and to give all golfers a handicap which is portable all around the world.
It will replace the 6 different systems currently used by 15 million golfers in more than 80 countries. It has been developed by the R&A and the United States Golf Association (USGA) supported by the worlds handicapping authorities including CONGU.
The new system will include:-
1) Course Rating and Slope Rating, to reflect the relative difficulty of each course. Perton Park's Slope rating is Whites 135, Yellows 131 and Reds 130.
2) Competitive and recreational (currently known as supplementary) scores to count towards handicap.
3) Minimum number of 3 scores to count so that a handicap can be established.
4) Handicaps will be calculated from an average of recent scores.
5) Adjustments will be made for rounds which have been played in abnormal course or weather conditions.
When you enter a qualifying score or recreational score (what we call a supplementary at present) your net score will be adjusted for handicapping purposes and, by using a given formula, you will get a "score differential" for that particular round. Your best 8 score differentials from your last 20 score differentials will create your "handicap index". It is your handicap index which will used to derive the handicap which you will actually play to, depending on the difficulty of the course on which you are playing. Your handicap for Perton Park should remain the same each time you play (but may differ depending whether men are playing from white or yellow tees) although over a period of time it may go up, down or stay the same depending upon your current form, i.e. your best 8 score differentials from your last 20 score differentials (not your net scores).
It would be best if you have got 20 current qualifying scores on your handicap history by November when these calculations come into effect. If not, the calculation will be taken from your last 20 qualifying scores in the last two years. If you have not got 20 qualifying scores then it will take:-
the average of the lowest 7 score differentials from 19; average of lowest 6 from 17 to 18; average of lowest 5 from 15 to 16; average lowest 4 from 12 to 14; average lowest 3 from 9 to 11; average lowest 2 from 6 to 8; lowest score from 5; lowest score minus 1 from 4; and lowest score minus 2 from 3 score differentials.
I suggest you get as many current scores as possible before November in order to reflect your current playing handicap index. There is a lot more information that I have not given, such as:-
1) The computer remembers previously demonstrated ability within a defined period.
2) Applies additional adjustments to your handicap index when an exceptional score is submitted etc, etc, etc.
BUT a player's handicap index should represent your demonstrated ability and, where appropriate, be responsive to scores that are consistent with your current playing ability. The process of calculating a handicap index incorporates the safeguards needed to help ensure that a player's handicap index remains reflective of your ability and that equity is retained for all golfers.
I hope this helps you try to understand the new system which is coming in November but if in doubt keep putting in scores in order to get a handicap index which reflects your current playing ability.
Yours in anticipation of a good round.
Mick Drury, Handicap Chairman