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Your resource for all things WHS

As you will have heard the new World Handicap System comes into effect on 2nd November 2020 and there are some big changes, especially for those of us who have only ever known the current style handicap system.

We will be sharing with you as much information as we feel is relevant (there is a LOT of information), and we will try to answer as many questions as we can through member evenings, social media, newsletters and regular club updates.

As resources become available we will add them to this page.

England golf Have produced the following infographics to try and explain the various elements of the World Handicap System:

1- World Handicap System Overview

2 - What is the WHS designed to do?

3 - What is Course Rating?

4 - What is Slope Rating?

5 - What is Handicap Index?

6 - What is Course Handicap?

7 - What is Playing Handicap?

England Golf WHS Videos

England golf have produced a set of fairly useful videos to give you a little more insight into the way the WHS will work and what it means for your handicap

An introduction to the WHS -

How is course/slope rating worked out?

Handicap Index

Your Course Handicap

Your Playing Handicap

Glossary of Terms:

A glossary of all key terms about the WHS is shown below

Handicap Index

A Handicap Index is a number that represents a player’s ability and can be taken and played with on any golf course around the world. It is calculated from the best eight rounds from a player’s last 20 scores.

Course Handicap

A Course Handicap is the number of strokes a player will receive for a specific set of tees on the golf course being played.

Playing Handicap

A Playing Handicap represents the total number of strokes a player will receive when they play with or against other players, depending on the format of play and the handicap allowance.

Course Rating

The Course Rating is the measure of playing difficulty from a set of tees when played by a scratch golfer.

Slope Rating

The Slope Rating is the number which indicates the relative playing difficulty of a course for bogey golfers, compared to scratch golfers. It is the difficulty comparison between a bogey player and a scratch player from the same set of tees.

A full glossary of terms can be found on the England Golf Website

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Following all of the presentation and seminar feedback provided by golf club representatives, England Golf have created a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some of the most important FAQs

Why is the new WHS being introduced?

There is one standard set of rules in golf, so it makes sense to unify the six different handicapping systems currently in operation. This will make the game more inclusive and equitable across the world.

When will current handicaps switch over to the WHS?

The WHS launch date has been set as Monday 2nd November 2020.

I’m new to golf: How do I obtain a Handicap Index?

Score cards totalling 54 holes need to be returned to the Handicap Committee (3x18 holes, 6x9 holes or a combination of both) before an initial Handicap Index can be awarded.

What is the maximum Course Handicap if the maximum Handicap Index is 54?

The Course Handicap will likely exceed 54.0 if playing a course with a slope rating of 114 or higher. There is no maximum Course Handicap.

Do I enter competitions using my Handicap Index or my Course Handicap?

Competition entry should be based on your Handicap Index. This will be clarified in the Terms of Competition.

When playing other courses can I submit a score card to my home club?

Yes – you can record all pre-registered scores that follow the rules of golf and are authorised formats of play.

A full list of FAQs can be found over on the England Golf Website 

The Rules

For a thorough breakdown of all the rules, and updated regulations around handicapping, download this PDF


If you have a query on the WHS, your first point of contact should be either Judith Thornell or Mike Edge.

Follow Up

We will look to hold a couple of Q&A evenings closer to the launch to help anyone who feels they need further information.  Details to follow

For all information regarding the World Handicap System, please follow the England Golf social media channels listed below. 

Twitter @EnglandGolf


Facebook @EnglandGolf

Youtube @englandgolftv