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USGA Handicap System

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Handicap Information and Notes from Neal

Dec 6, 2019


World Handicap System Key Changes


  1. Implementation.
    Normal score posting will continue until December 31. Score Posing will be suspended until January 6, to allow for GHIN conversion to WHS. If you have been using eGolfer in, you will need to print out and save any score statistics, you have entered. The site will be replaced, and a new Mobile App will also be provided. 
  1. Handicap Calculations will change.
    Presently a handicap is based on the upper half of a golfer’s score . . . 96% of the best 10 differentials of 20 most recent rounds, to be exact. Under the WHS, it will be simple average of the best eight of the last 20
  1. Handicaps will be updated nightly.
    Every time a score is posted prior to midnight, an update will be issued the following morning. Golfers are encouraged to post scores daily.

  2. There is a feature that factors in weather and course condition variables.
    The automated Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC) will analyze daily scores to determine if conditions of play differed significantly from “normal” to an extent that scoring was impacted. If at least 8 score are posted at a Club all differentials for the day will be uniformly adjusted upwards or downwards. The calculation is performed each evening just before handicaps are updated, providing yet another incentive to post a score by midnight on the day of play. If a golfer delays posting, the score will inherit any PCC adjustment, but it will not have been a part of the process that led to the decision to adjust.

  3. Equitable Stroke Control is eliminated.
    For score posting purposes only, the Maximum Hole Score will be a net double bogey. That is a gross double bogey, plus any handicap strokes the golfer is entitled to on that hole based upon the ranking of the stroke holes. A 25-handicapper’s max hole score, for example, will be a gross quadruple bogey on the seven top ranked holes / a gross triple bogey for the remaining holes.

  4. “Caps” will be in place to prevent large changes in a handicap.
    A “soft cap” will slow the rate at which a handicap increases once a golfer climbs 3.0 strokes above their low watermark (Low Index) of the past twelve months. A “hard cap” will prevent a handicap from increasing more than 5.0 strokes within a year. Of course, if there are exceptional circumstances (i.e., illness, physical setback, etc.), the club can intervene.

  5. An automatic reduction will be made with the posting of an exceptional score.
    Whenever a golfer records a differential at least 7.0 strokes lower than their Handicap Index for any round of golf, an automatic 1.0 stroke reduction will be applied (2.0 reduction for any round at least -10.0).

  6. The recommendation for the ranking of the stroke holes has changed.
    We will transition to one Scorecard for Daily and MPMGA Saturday play. Specifically, holes should be ranked according to their raw difficulty versus par, with the top-rated holes spread throughout each nine.

  7.   Par is relevant.
    Par remains the standard for a Scratch Golfer and will be a factor within the WHS. We see this in the Maximum Hole Score procedure (net double bogey) and we will see this in the composition of Course Handicap tables as the difference between the Course Rating and par will be factored into the tables. If the Course Rating is above par, the difference will be added to the player’s Course Handicap. If below par, the difference will be subtracted. If par remains 72 for all Tees (current situation) this will eliminate the Rule 3-5 adjustment for competitions where players play from different Tees.

The complete text of the WHS may be found at this link: