How the UK Golf Handicap Works

  Introducing the new World Handicap Scheme
 click here to join us and understand the new system

Many of you will know that the handicap system has now changed. The governing bodies of amateur golf in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales have announced that they have signed the licence for the new World Handicap System, which will come into operation on November 2nd 2020.

With one single, global system in place for the first time, golfers will be able to obtain and maintain a Handicap Index and use this on any course around the world. The Golf Club Great Britain handicapping scheme will be implementing this system so your handicap with us will be in line with official club handicaps. All players establish a Handicap Index which provides you with a portable measure of your demonstrated playing ability that is consistent with how all other golfers will be measured worldwide.

What will the new World Handicap System mean for you?

To calculate your initial handicap
When you submit your first three cards, we take the 'average' of these cards to establish your initial handicap. This is calculated by taking the difference of the Gross score and the course rating (similar to the old SSS) off the yellow tees for each card. Gross scores are NOT adjusted for initial handicapping purposes.

The highest handicap for both men and ladies is now 54

For example, three scores of 88, 90 and 95 on a course with a course rating of 72 will result in an initial handicap of (16+18+23) = 57 divided by 3 = 19. Therefore giving you an initial playing handicap of 19. Scores are not adjusted for initial handicap assessment.

However, in line with the new World handicap Scheme, for ongoing handicapping gross scores have to be adjusted down to a net double bogey.

Please note that even if you are scoring stableford points, you can now only enter a gross score for handicapping purposes, so these must be clearly shown on any cards you submit, with the total gross clearly added up.

Stableford points are no longer entered for handicapping purposes

Maximum Hole Score
The maximum hole score for handicap purposes is nett double bogey and, if the format of play allows, you can pick up once you have the reached the maximum limit.

For any hole, whatever your handicap and stroke allowance, you can score a maximum of 2 over par AND if your handicap allows one shot, you can score a maximum of 3 over and if your handicap allows 2 shots, you can score a maximum of 4 over.

A Par 4 index 18:
If your handicap is 1 – 17, you receive no shots so your maximum score is 6
If your handicap is 18 – 35, you receive one shot so your maximum score is 7
If your handicap is 36 + you receive 2 shots so your maximum score is 8
There is now NO Buffer Zone

World Handicap Scheme changes
Once you have your initial handicap in place, your ongoing handicap will be the average based from the best eight of the last 20 scores. If you have fewer scores submitted there is a sliding scale of calculation as follows:

20 scores – average the best (lowest) 8 scores
19 scores – average the best (lowest) 7 scores
17 to 18 scores – average the best (lowest) 6 scores
15 to 16 scores – average the best (lowest) 5 scores
12 to 14 scores – average the best (lowest) 4 scores
9 to 11 scores – average the best (lowest) 3 scores
7 to 8 scores – average the best (lowest) 2 scores
6 scores - average the best (lowest) 2 scores and adjust the calculated handicap by -1
5 scores – take the best (lowest) score only
4 scores – take the best (lowest) score and adjust the calculated handicap by -1
3 scores – take the best (lowest) score and adjust the calculated handicap by -2
< 3 scores – no calculation performed, display 'Insufficient scorecards – no calculation performed'

Your initial handicap will be used to generate your first handicap index.

Slope System
Your handicap will now change depending on the slope ratings of the course you are playing. This will indicate the difficulty of a golf course for the ‘bogey’ golfer relative to the scratch player. Most courses worldwide already operate the slope system so you may have come across this whilst playing abroad.

If you are playing a harder course (determined by slope rating), you may get extra shots, and if playing an easier course, get less.

Each set of tees will have a course rating and slope rating. These will be displayed at the club, either in the pro shop or by the first tee/starter’s box.