World Handicap Launch Schedule
November 4, 2019
The World Handicap System (WHS) is ready to be launched in January 2020 and will provide golfers with a unified and more inclusive handicapping system for the first time.
Though many countries are planning to adopt the new system in January, the system will go live in other parts of the world throughout the year to accommodate different implementation plans and variations in the golf calendar.
Developed by the USGA and The R&A in close coordination with existing handicapping authorities, the WHS will provide all golfers with a consistent measure of playing ability, with handicaps calculated in the same way wherever they are in the world.
A key objective of the initiative was to develop a modern system, enabling as many golfers as possible to obtain and maintain a Handicap Index. Golfers will be able to transport their Handicap Index globally and compete or play a casual round with players from other regions on a fair basis. It will also indicate the score a golfer is reasonably capable of achieving the next time they go out to play.
The table lists the estimated implementation timeframes for a selection of countries:
*Subject to change
The WHS has two main components – the Rules of Handicapping and the Course Rating System. The Rules of Handicapping are encompassed within seven Rules to inform administrators and golfers on how an official Handicap Index is calculated and administered, with some flexibility given to national associations based on how the sport is played and enjoyed in their region. The Course Rating System, based on the USGA Course Rating System first adopted nearly 50 years ago and already adopted on nearly every continent, sets out a consistent method of determining a course’s difficulty. Together, these components become the foundational elements in determining a golfer’s Handicap Index.
“When the golf community works together, everyone benefits,” said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA. “We have seen the benefit that handicapping has provided for decades, providing greater enjoyment for all who play. To have a single set of Rules of Handicapping for the game will connect golfers from country to country, and we are excited to bring the best of all worlds together through this initiative.
“It is one of the many ways we are investing in golf’s future, to strengthen and foster growth of the entire game for years to come.
The formation of a World Handicap System was first conceived in 2011 between the USGA and The R&A in an effort to engage more golfers in the game and promote equity, no matter where golf is played. The effort unites six existing handicapping systems into one, while embracing the many ways the game is played across cultures.
Beginning in 2020, the new WHS will be governed by the USGA and The R&A and administered by national and regional golf associations around the world including the NCGA.
The existing six handicapping authorities, Golf Australia, the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) in Great Britain and Ireland, the European Golf Association (EGA), the South African Golf Association (SAGA), the Argentine Golf Association (AAG) and the USGA, represent approximately 15 million golfers in 80 countries who currently maintain a golf handicap.
To learn more about the World Handicap System, please visit WHS.com. For WHS information specific to a country, use the Association Finder for further information.