Handicap Index

Under the World Handicap System, your current Playing Handicap will be replaced by your Handicap Index which is a measure of your playing ability and is portable from course to course. 

  • It is calculated from the best 8 scores from a player's last 20 rounds - as a new score is accepted, a player's Handicap Index will automatically reflect the most recent 20 scores. 
  • Your Handicap Index will update overnight after submission of an acceptable score and be ready before the next time they play.  
  • There are safeguards built into the system to ensure that a player’s handicap does not rise too quickly after a spell of poor form.  
  • The maximum Handicap Index for any player is 54.
  • From mid/late September, golfers will be able to see their Handicap Index displayed alongside their current handicap and see how it varies with each score entry.
Early indications are that in transition to the WHS your new Handicap Index is likely to be different from your current Playing Handicap.

Changes you will notice:
  • No competition handicaps (i.e. 'c' after your handicap)
  • No handicap categories (currently 1-6)
  • No Standard Scratch
  • No buffer zones in determining handicap adjustments
For more info please click on the following video:

Course Rating and Slope Rating

As part of the process to determine your new playing handicap on a particular course, the course needs to be rated.  Two calculations are made: 
  1. Course Rating - how many strokes a scratch golfer should take on that course.
  2. Bogey Rating - measures playing difficulty for a bogey golfer
    (someone with a handicap of roughly 20 for a man and 24 for a women).
The process, which will be applied to every course worldwide,  takes into account the playing length of the course and the obstacles that a player will encounter.  

Knowing these two ratings allows WHS to determine the difficulty of the course and to produce a Slope Rating for each set of tees.  This then allows all golfers to work out how many strokes they will receive on a particular course – their Course Handicap.
  • The Slope Rating is a key component in the calculation of the number of strokes each player will receive when playing a a particular golf course. 
  • The higher the Slope Rating, the more strokes a player will receive. 
  • Slope Ratings  are gender-specific and will vary for each set of tees.
  • The Slope Rating will be higher on a course with long carries, narrow fairways and thick rough. 
  • The Slope Ratings will fall within a range of 55 and 155 with an average across GB & Ireland of 125.
Note: We are currently waiting for Cheshire Golf Union to give Hale GC a Slope Rating but do not know when this will be - we are totally in Cheshire’s hands!

You can look up the rating for other courses anywhere in the world on The USGA course rating and slope data base

For more info please click on the following video link:

Course Handicap and Playing Handicap

Before a player starts their round on any course, they must convert their Handicap Index into a Course Handicap which will will determine the number of strokes you will receive during your round. This will depend on which set of tees you are playing from.  A Handicap Allowance will then be applied according to the format of play you have chosen to calculate your actual Playing Handicap.

  • Each course will have an easily accessible Course and Slope Rating Table
  • You have to choose which tee you are playing off that day and cross reference your Handicap Index on the Course and Slope Rating Table to ascertain your Course Handicap
  • The chosen format of play will dictate the Handicap Allowance which will determine the number of strokes you receive.
For more information please click on the following video:

Terminology and Definitions

England Golf WHS Privacy Notice

England Golf WHS Privacy Notice - FAQs

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