World Handicap System (WHS)

The World Handicap System was launched on 2 November 2020. It is designed to welcome more players, to make golf easier to understand and to give all golfers a handicap which is portable all around the globe.


It replaced the six different systems used by over 15 million golfers in more than 80 countries.


It was developed by The R&A and The United States Golf Association (USGA), supported by the world’s handicapping authorities, including CONGU, which represents the four home countries of Great Britain and Ireland.

To make the game more enjoyable, the new system includes:

  • Course rating and slope rating

  • Minimum number of scores to obtain a handicap

  • Competitive and recreational scores to count for handicap

  • Handicaps will be calculated from an average of recent scores

  • Maximum handicap of 54

  • Abnormal course and weather conditions adjustments

England Golf have produced some frequently asked questions about the World Handicap System.

There are also videos available on YouTube that have been created by The R&A and USGA and supported by England Golf which outline the key changes of the World Handicap System. Each video gives a short, but detailed explanation of a key feature of the new system and is designed to help you get up to scratch.