The New World Handicap System Going Into Effect

January 1, 2020

Starting in January 2020 the new World Handicap System, or WHS, will start going into effect, rolling out everywhere throughout 2020. Developed by the USGA and The R&A, they worked closely with other organizations to design a new system meant to standardize handicaps around the world. Previously there were six different systems, meaning depending on where you were playing in the world — competitive or otherwise — you had to know how to calculate your handicap according to their rules and regulations.

While the idea was conceived between The R&A and USGA back in 2011, it wasn’t until 2015 that they started to solicit feedback from the various organizations, getting the ball rolling on development of the WHS. With a collaborative effort, the finalized system was announced and education efforts began so that various clubs and organizations were ready for the 2020 implementation.

The timeline for the roll-out in 2020 to specific countries is:

  • January
    • Argentina, Australia, Canada, India, Mexico, Panama, South Africa, Republic of Korea, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela
  • February — April
    • Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore and Sweden
  • May — August
    • Portugal
  • September — December
    • Great Britain and Ireland.

An infographic from the WHS site has an overview of the new system:

You can read more about all the details on the WHS website.