World Handicap System - Todmorden Golf Club

The World Handicap System – A Guide

Below is a basic guide to how the new World Handicap System works and what it means for you. Everyone’s game will be as good or as bad as it always is come the 2nd of November, but we all need to get used to how it works. You can get your new handicap index before 2nd November – just follow the steps at the bottom of this article. If you have any questions or points about the new system then we will collect them and do our best to answer them. You can email us here or leave a comment at the bottom of the page.

1. An Introduction

Main Points:

  • The six world handicapping systems become one.
  • You can play anywhere in the world on the same handicap terms as any other golfer.
  • Starts 2nd November.

2. Your Handicap Index.

Main Points:

  • Your current handicap will FINISH. It is replaced by your handicap index.
  • To find out your handicap index you need your “CDH” ID from your handicap certificate on HowDidIDo and you need to enter it into the England Golf system. Click here. (for related issues and instructions see below)
  • Your index will become your basic handicap and as you play it will be calculated by averaging your best 8 scores out of your last 20 rounds. So no more “0.1s” back on your handicap per ‘bad’ round.
  • Even though your best round(s) may fall outside of your last twenty, the system remembers these so that handicaps do not go up quickly. There are also caps in place.
  • You cannot go up by more than 5 strokes in any given 12 months.
  • General Play adjustments (Rule 19) can still be applied.
  • If you have not got a handicap index you need to return 3 x 18 hole or 6 x 9 hole scorecards to create your handicap index.
  • You can play 9 holes and still have your index adjusted as the front and back 9 holes are measured now at TGC.

3. Course & Slope Rating.

Main Points:

  • The course rating is an assessment of all the hazards and difficulty of the course for all abilities and for men and women.
  • The course rating broadly replaces the standard scratch score. At TGC for men (off white tees) it is 70.2 and for women (off red tees) it is 71.2.
  • Even though the par of the holes of TGC is 68, the fact that our course is measured as slightly more difficult than the average course means 70 or 71 is deemed as par for handicap purposes.
  • The slope rating is how much more difficult the course is to play for a high handicapper (bogey golfer) than a scratch golfer.
  • As a (very) broad example Chris Thornsby (current handicap 2) and Godfrey Pickles (current handicap 28) play Augusta National. Chris may find the course tricky but not nearly the jump in ability needed by Godfrey (despite rumours of “utter banditry”). The slope rating would give Godfrey many more additional shots for such a difficult course (probably a set of 100 balls and some valium, too) whilst Chris may get a couple of extra strokes. 
  • So the higher the slope rating the more shots you receive as you go up in handicap.
  • So your handicap is now portable to any golf course in the world (not that Sean is paying for trips to Augusta to prove it…).

4. Course Handicap & Playing Handicap.

Main Points:

  • You do not play with your handicap index. You play with your Course Handicap which is your index combined with the course and slope rating of the course and set of tees from which you play.
  • There should be a chart to work this out for you at the start of any course or on their website or app on your phone.
  • Always record your gross scores. If you miss the ratings before you play it can then be worked out afterwards.
  • Your Course Handicap is numerically defined as: Handicap Index x (Slope Rating/113)
  • The 113 is the average slope rating for all measured courses in the world, so an individual course is measured against this. At TGC, for men, this would be 122. So a handicap index of 15.6 playing off whites at TGC would have a Course Handicap of 15.6 x (122/113) = 15.6 x 1.08 = 16.84 = rounded to 17. 
  • A Playing Handicap is for competitions. Everyone plays off 95% of their Course Handicap for a competition. In the above example our 15.6 handicapper – like Isaac Davey Day – would have a Course Handicap of 17. In competitions (a medal for eg) he’d play off 16 (16.84 x 0.95 = 16.01). That is his Playing Handicap. That may be a bit tough on Isaac but TGC hear reports he should be off of 12 anyway. One to be debated as always but this is because it is deemed that higher handicappers have more chance of being placed higher in a competitive environment.
  • Always record your gross scores for Playing Handicap purposes.
  • Local/Club limitations can be placed on competitions.

5. Playing Conditions Calculation.

Main Points:

  • The PCC  – Playing Conditions Calculation – is a calculation that adjusts the scratch score for a competition when course conditions affect scoring – broadly like the CSS we have now (competition scratch score).
  • Unlike CSS, the PCC will be updated daily. So if 8 or more golfers return  qualifying cards that day a PCC will automatically adjust scores depending on whether all scores were particularly low or high.
  • Unlike the current system you can receive adjustments for more difficult playing conditions outside of competition days providing there are enough scores/cards in. 

6. Questions & Answers.

Points of note:

  • Caps and anchors are in place to stop “farming”!
  • The principle is that you can enter a score on any given day even over 9 holes. This extends to the winter but this requires official measurements from winter tees and greens to be in place. Not all courses have all measurements. TGC have Whites and Reds in place.
  • If you go to a course that has not been officially measured (i.e Nelson) it should have a provisional rating.
  • TGC is not yet sure how you pre register a round to be counted!
  • Not mentioned here is that if you have an overly stellar round then your score is capped, still. So 7 under is rounded to 1 less on your handicap index and 10 under is rounded to 2 off.
  • Any points you feel that need to be raised then please reply to the newsletter.

Getting Your Handicap Index.

These are the steps to obtain your handicap index before the 2nd November. You need to go to your handicap certificate and get your CDH number (Central Database of Handicaps). It is located here on HowDidiDo.

..then you go to England Golf (click the photo to go the site)..and enter your CDH number into the line where it says “Membership Number”. should then be sent a verification code (some says it takes a while, even hours) and you can follow the steps to get your index and what scores were used to arrive at that number.


..if you receive a message like this…(with a red box saying contact your club)…then reply to the newsletter and we’ll add you to the list. This issue relates to England Golf servers and is a known issue which is being worked on. Essentially the new system cannot see your data.

If you have any questions about the World Handicap System then please leave your questions and comments below.

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