A Players Guide to WHS
Below we have listed some frequently asked questions around the new World Handicap System which became active on 2nd November 2020.
What is slope and how is it figured out for each course?
A Slope rating indicates the relative difficulty of a golf course for a bogey golfer compared to a scratch golfer. This is calcultated by measuring a course rating and a bogey rating. A course rating is the measure of the playing difficulty for a scratch golfer. A bogey rating is the measure of the playing difficulty for a bogey golfer (Handicap of 20 for men, 24 for women). Ratings are not just measured on length, other factors such as recoverability from rough, green size and speed, elevation and penalty areas are taken into consideration.
The ratings are expressed as the number of strokes expected taken to one decimal place. The neutral slope rating is 113.
The Slope allows scores returned by all levels of handicap golfer to be adjusted as if the player has played a course of AVERAGE difficulty for THEIR Handicap level. For example, if you play on a course that is challenging for your handicap level the system will recognise that and adjust your nett score to reflect that the course was difficult (and vice versa). This means that your score differential will always have been adjusted to reflect what your score would have been on a course of AVERAGE difficulty.
What is a score differential?
Your Handicap Index will be calculated using score differentials in your scoring record. A score differential is the difference between your gross score (remember any score over +3 will be reduced to +3) and the course rating after slope. The course rating is the new word for SSS.
The formula for working your score differential out is:
Gross Score – Course rating x (113/Slope Rating)
Example (Where your gross score was 81, the Course Rating is 71 and the slope is 125).
81 – 71 x (113/125) = Score Differential is 9.04
*Sometimes there may be a small Playing Conditions adjustment.
What is a Handicap Index?
From November you will no longer have a Handicap but a Handicap Index. This will be calculated as the average of your best 8 from the last 20 scores (score differentials) in your record.
The score differentials that have been used to calculate your Handicap Index will all have been subject to the Slope Rating of the course played. This means that they have been adjusted to reflect your performance as if played on a course of AVERAGE difficulty. (Please see “What is a score differential” above)
A lot of golfers in the UK haven’t got 20 scores in their record. If this is the case, the below chart illustrates how their first Handicap index will be calculated.
How does my handicap Index go up and down?
Once you have 20 scores in your record, every time you return a qualifying score, the oldest score differential in your record will be removed and the average of the best 8 calculated again. Your Handicap Index will then change at midnight and you’ll be able to look up your new Handicap Index. This can all be viewed on the 'My England Golf' App https://www.englandgolf.org/handicapping/whs-app/.
What stops my handicap going up too much during a bad spell and how does the system keep up with fast improvers?
Your scoring record will remember your lowest handicap in the last 12 months. There are processes in place to prevent your handicap index increasing too quickly (due to bad form). A soft cap will suppress any upward movment by 50% after a 3.0 increase above your low handicap index. A hard cap will restrict any upward movment over 5.0 strokes above your low handicap index.
Exceptional Scoring Reductions can still occur if a player has a great round. If a player's score differential is 7-10 strokes better then there will be an extra 1 shot reduction, if the score differential is over 10 strokes better then it will be a 2 shot reduction. The exceptional score reduction is applied to the previous 20 scores in the record, once you start adding more scores to your record this reduction can wash out as your improve. Below is an example of how it would show in your scoring record.
How do I use my Handicap Index to work out how many shots I get?
When you play a golf course your Handicap Index will be used to identify your Course Handicap. This is how many shots you actually get and may vary depending on the difficulty of the course and the tees that you play from. Your Course Handicap is calculated by using the following equation;
Course Handicap = Handicap Index x (Slope Rating/113)
For Example – For a 15 Handicap Index playing a set of tees with a Slope Rating of 125 The Course Handicap would be 15 x (125/113) = Course Handicap 16.6
You shouldn’t need to worry too much about this equation. Every course will have a “look up” chart handy and there will be an App and other technology available for simple reference.
Will I get all of my Course Handicap for every format of competition play?
Your Competition Playing Handicap will depend on what format of competition you are playing. In individual match play for example, you will receive your full Course Handicap but for stroke play you will receive 95%.
Example of a Handicap Index of 15 playing on a set of tees with a Slope rating of 125 in a Stroke Play event.
15 x (125/113) = Course Handicap 16.6 x 95% = Competition Handicap 15.8
For a full list of handicap allowances follow this link to The Rules of Handicapping and check out page 93. please also note the examples on page 95.
Will the playing conditions effect my score entry?
There will be a Playing Conditions Calculation which will be performed once a day, this calculation will take into account every card that is entered on that course that day. It is not just relative to the individual competitions occuring, a minimum of 8 cards must be entered to complete the calculation. It works in the same way that a CSS works now, adjusting the score differentials in values ranging from -1 to +3.
Can any scorecard be entered into my scoring record?
Competition cards must be entered into the scoring record if it is an authorised format of play. Singles compeition rounds must be entered. Any social/general play scores must be pre-registered to be acceptable.
Scores must be entered as soon as possible after the round is completed as your handicap index is updated automatically everynight at midnight.