World Handicap System
An introduction into the World Handicap System at Cardigan Golf Club

World Handicap System at Cardigan Golf Club


The way that handicaps for golfers around the world are calculated has been transformed by a new system developed by The R&A and the USGA. A number of countries round the world started using the new system on 1st January 2020 and it will come into force in Great Britain and Ireland on 2nd November 2020.

Features of the World Handicap System (WHS) include:

• A consistent handicap that is portable from course to course and country to country through worldwide use of a modified version of the Course and Slope Rating System that has been used in the USA and much of Europe for many years.
• An average-based calculation of a handicap, taken from the best 8 out of the last 20 scores, but with a safety mechanism to ensure that a player's handicap cannot increase by more than 5 shots during a 12 month period.
• A calculation that considers the impact that abnormal course and weather conditions might have on a player’s performance each day.
• Handicap revisions processed on the day of playing, even if the competition results have not been processed.
• A limit of Net Double Bogey on the maximum score for a hole (for handicapping purposes only)
• A maximum handicap limit of 54, regardless of gender


A course assessment was done at Cardigan in August 2019 to establish the Course Rating and Slope Rating from each set of tees.

Course Rating replaces Standard Scratch (SSS) in the new system and represents the score that a scratch golfer is expected to achieve on the course. Cardigan ratings are:

• Mens – White 71.7, Yellow 70.6, Red 66.6

• Ladies - White 77.6, Yellow 76.3, Red 71.6


Handicap Index (HI) – This is what your handicap is now called. A player's personal handicap is based on a course of neutral slope 113 and calculated to the nearest 0.1. It is currently planned that players HI will become available during October, but they will not come into effect until November 2nd.
HI will be calculated and held by Wales Golf, rather than at the club and will be re-calculated at midnight (local time) even if a competition on that day has not been closed. The club’s computer system will still have a full copy of a players handicap record.

Course Handicap - A golfer's handicap for a specific course is determined by multiplying the player's Handicap Index by the ratio of the course Slope Rating divided by the 'neutral' slope of 113 rounded up or down as now. There will be conversion tables available at each golf club, so the good news is that members will not need to do the calculations themselves. The Cardigan table will be by the first tee, with copies also in the locker rooms.

Example: Golfer with an HI of 12.7 playing off the yellow tees will have a course handicap of 12.7x120/113 = 13. For the white tees it would be 12.7x123/113 = 14.

Playing Handicap - The playing handicap will be used in specific competitions. For example, in a medal or stableford competition round, this will be 95% of the course handicap. For 4 ball better-ball competitions it will be 85%. The computer will work this out when your score is submitted. Matchplay singles remains at full difference, and 4-ball remains at 90%. There will be look-up tables in the lockers rooms for all these calculations.

• Example: The above golfer with a course handicap of 13 playing in a stableford competition of the yellow tees will have a playing handicap of 13x0.95 = 12.35, ie 12. For white tees it would be 14x0.95 = 13.3, ie 13.

Handicap adjustments will no longer follow the format of 0.1 increase after a poor round, or set decreases after a good round, so you may notice smaller/bigger changes in your handicap. Remember they are now the average of the best 8 of your last 20 rounds.