World Handicap System: how to correctly use your new golf handicap

Are you aware of the new procedures for general play scores ahead of golf's return in England on March 29?

Andy Roberts's picture
Wed, 24 Mar 2021
World Handicap System: how to correctly use your new golf handicap

With golf returning in England on Monday March 29, we thought it was timely to highlight a couple of things you need to know when it comes to your Handicap Index as part of the new World Handicap System. 

Currently to have a Handicap Index, you need to be a member of an affiliated golf club. England Golf does have plans for an Independent Golfers Scheme but the details are still being finalised so we will have more on that soon. 

The introduction of the World Handicap System back in January 2020 was to bring all the different handicap systems around the world together to create a single measure of golfers ability.

But with the world shut down for more than 12 months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, there are a still a number of member golfers who have yet to get to grips with the new handicap process. 

And judging by a number of comments on social media in recent months, there appears a large number of golfers out there who are still confused and baffled as to how it all works. 



In short, the biggest change for British and Irish golfers is a move away from an incremental system to an averaging system, and the fact that your handicap changes depending on the course and tees you choose to play. 

Each time you return a score for handicap purposes, the system recalculates your best eight from the last 20 scores, giving you a handicap that reflects your current ability.

Essentially, every time you play a round for handicap purposes, your score is recorded and sent to the central system each night (around 12.15am) and the system calculates the PCC (playing conditions calculation) from all the scores submitted.

Then using this as part of the process to update a player's handicap, the new handicap in the morning will have been recalculated based on the last returned score.

All players should make themselves aware of the new rules of handicapping by visiting either the England Golf or the R&A websites, or by directly speaking to their home club for further guidance. 

Here's a look at an email that I received from my home club earlier this week, highlighting the procedure that must be taken to correctly submit scores with a handicap, and also how to use the new England Golf app, MyEG.

Some clubs will likely differ to the exact process here, so please check with your golf club for the latest procedure, but here's a look at how things will be run at my club moving forwards ahead of golf's return on March 29. 

The email I received from my club read as follows: 

Use your Course Handicap when completing your scorecard: 

The most direct way to get your Course Handicap is to use the England Golf app, MyEG. This displays your handicap index on the first screen. Tap 'WHS Course Handicap Calculator' and select the course you are playing for full details of course rating, slope and your course handicap. 

Alternatively, you can find your Handicap Index on the club website. One way is by clicking on Competition Results and then My Golf. Then convert your Handicap Index to your Course Index using the lookup tables (one for each tee) found in the WHS section of the club website, or use the tables displayed at the golf club. 

Your Handicap Index may change whenever you submit a card so remember to check this on the club website or England Golf before you next play. 

New Procedures for recording General Play scores: 

We now have the capability to enter General Play scores (previously supplementary scores) electronically. You may continue using the existing procedure (register in the clubhouse using the General Play book) if you prefer. 

These procedures will be modified again once we can use the terminal and the competition and handicap boxes, which are located in the clubhouse. 

The new additional procedure is: 

Before your play, open Master Scoreboard as you would for entering competition scores. Select 'Score Entry' and 'Sign In'. Select 'Sign In' against 'General Play Score'. Select '18 Holes' and the tees to play off which default to red for ladies and yellow for men. 

Do remember to sign in before you play as otherwise your card may be disallowed. Similiarly, you may be penalised if you sign in and do not submit a card. 

While You Play:

Play off the red (ladies) or yellow (men) stones. Play a Stableford round over 18 holes. Your scorer should enter you as Player A on his/her card, and he/she should be Player B. 

After You Play: 

Your scorer should sign the card and send a copy by email to [committee email address]. Ensure that the tees used are indicated on the card. Open Master Scoreboard as before. Select 'Score Entry' then 'Enter Score'. Select your market from the drop-down list then 'Next'. Enter your scores and press submit. 

What do you make of the new World Handicap System? Has it made the game better or worse? Share your thoughts and comments on our social media channels.