New handicap process now in full swing

A new World Handicap System is in line for a global launch in 2020 following a positive implementation process. The main benefits include flexible playing formats and the inclusion of both social and competitive rounds for handicap purposes. Essentially, the new system will facilitate an accurate reflection of a golfer’s potential performance and takes account of variables like course and weather conditions on the day of play. Other important changes include a net double bogy limit for calculating handicaps and a maximum limit of 54.0 for both ladies and men. Developed by the R&A and USGA with other organisations, including the Japan Golf Association and Golf Canada, Martin Slumbers, R&A Chief Executive (pictured), recently outlined the extensive collaboration: “We are working with our partners and national associations to make golf more accessible and enjoyable.” The emphasis, he explained, is to make the golf more attractive “and strip away some of the complexity and variation which can be off-putting for newcomers.”

The new system has three distinct objectives: to encourage as many golfers as possible to obtain and maintain a handicap; to provide a valid, international handicap for all; to fairly indicate a player’s potential performance anywhere in the world.

To effect a smooth change towards the unified system, there will be a two year transition period towards the 2020 target. While the process is now in full swing, golfers and no-golfers still have the opportunity of contributing to the information-gathering mechanism by providing submissions at and where the latest information is also available. The success of the new system relies on the involvement of all golfers and the participation of individuals and groups is greatly encouraged.