World Handicap System

Preparing golfers for the new World Handicap System

Parksville, BC — 03 June 2016 — Volunteers during final round action at the Canadian University/College Championship at Morningstar Golf Club in Parksville, BC. (Photo: Chuck Russell/Golf Canada)


The vision to unify the six different handicap systems in use around the world into a single World Handicap System required the commitment of, and collaboration between, many organizations. All of the following organizations have provided their support to this important initiative and played their part in establishing the key principles, which shaped the proposals and drove forward the initiative to the point where a new World Handicap System can be introduced to the golfing world in 2020.   The new Rules of Handicapping have been introduced in Canada and will be ready for play, as off January 2020.     #1. If you are a new player, it is easier to establish an Index Only three 18-hole scores (or the equivalent combination of nine-hole scores) are needed to establish a Handicap Index. Previously, the minimum was five. What golfer doesn’t play more than 54 holes in a season? Also, your Handicap Index is updated automatically once the score is submitted (although not new for Canada, it is for the rest of the world.) Learn more 1a. >> | Learn More 1b. >>   #2. Handicap Index calculation is changing Your number will be based on your eight best scores out of the past 20. For most golfers, the change will be minor, but you may see your Handicap Index is different in January, despite not having played! Learn more 2. >>   #3. You have a Playing Handicap Slope Rating and now Course Rating and Par will be used to determine your Course Handicap, allowing you to play from different sets of tees without any adjustment. Learn more 3. >>   #4. Net Double Bogey replaces Equitable Stroke Control (ESC) The maximum hole score for handicap purposes will be limited to Net Double Bogey (Par + 2 + any handicap strokes you receive). Learn more 4.>>   #5. Safeguards have been added to protect your Handicap Index The system accounts for abnormal playing conditions, limiting the extreme upward movement of a Handicap Index, and reduce a Handicap Index when an exceptional score is posted.   #6. Maximum Handicap Index The maximum Handicap Index that can be issued to a player is 54.0 (currently it is 36.4 for men and 40.4 for women). But the Committee in charge of competition may set a maximum limit for entry into a competition. Learn more 6.>>   #7. You need to know your Course Handicap  Course Handicap will be the number of strokes needed to play to par. This will result in greater variance in that number and presents a change, as historically it has represented the number of strokes needed to play to the Course Rating. It is important that an accurate par is established for each hole on a golf course for both men and women. Golf New Brunswick, in consultation with Golf Canada, will be the final adjudicator of par.   To ensure your golf club’s handicap committee and members are ready to enter your scores under the new World Handicap System, Golf Canada/New Brunswick will be providing several educational tools and resources. Please stay tuned to our website, newsletters and social media platforms for more information on the new World Handicap System for 2020.   For more information on the World Handicap System, please visit To download a PDF copy of the Rules of Handicapping effective January 2020, please CLICK HERE]]>