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Sutton Coldfield Golf Club

World Handicap System (WHS)

Why has the World Handicap System been introduced?

The new World Handicap System (WHS) will be adopted by every golf club in England on  2nd November 2020

The system has been designed to:

  • Attract more players to the game
  • Make handicapping easier to understand
  • Give all golfers a Handicap Index that can be transferable from club to club throughout the world

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Developed by The R&A and USGA in collaboration with existing handicap authorities, the benefit of WHS over the current system is it combines the Rules of Handicapping and the Course Rating System.

The system has been created to allow as many golfers as possible the opportunity to:

  • Obtain and maintain a Handicap Index and reduce barriers of entry
  • Use their Handicap Index on any golf course around the world
  • Compete or play recreationally, fairly regardless of where they play

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What will my new handicap be?

For golfers, calculating a new Handicap Index will be front of mind when adopting the WHS. The process begins by accurately measuring a player's golfing ability.

To ensure a player has only one Handicap Index, the s/he will nominate a home club. This is determined by the player, but it is recommended that this be the Club where s/he typically submits most of their scores.

For those already playing golf regularly:

  • The WHS Software contained within Intelligent Golf will calculate the average of the 8 best scores from the previous 20 qualifying rounds


New golfers will have to:

  • Submits scorecards totalling 58 holes to their Club's Handicap Committee. This can be in any combination of 9 and 18 holes
  • From this, they will be provided an initial Handicap Index. When a player has achieved 20 scores, a 'fully developed' Handicap Index can be calculated, as with the existing golfer above

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What is Course Rating and Bogey Rating?

Course Rating will be used to measure the playing difficulty of a course. It measures how many strokes a Scratch Golfer should take on any given course. It is obtained by assessing:

  • The playing length of the course
  • The obstacles a player will encounter i.e. hazards, size of greens, carries to fairways


Bogey Rating is the measure of playing difficulty when the course is played by a Bogey Golfer - a player who has a course handicap of 20 for male, 24 for female. the same criteria are used as above.

Using the Course Rating and Bogey Rating, WHS asesses the relationship between the two. From this, the difficulty of the course for all other levels of ability can be deduced.

The Course Ratings for Sutton Coldfield Golf Club are:

  • White Tees - Men - 72.4
  • Yellow Tees - Men - 70.6
  • Red Tees - Women - 73.8

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What is Slope Rating?

Slope Rating is the number which indicates the relative playing difficulty of a course for Bogey Golfers compered to Scratch Golfers. It is the difficulty comparison between a Bogey Golfer and a Scratch Golfer from the same set of tees.

Bogey Rating - Course Rating x Factor = Slope Rating

The use of Slope allows a player's Handicap Index to be taken from course to course, country to country. It also enables acceptable scores from any rated golf course to be submitted for a player's handicap purposes.

The Slope Rating is a key component in calculating the number of strokes each player receives to play a particular course.

The higher the Slope Rating, the more strokes a Bogey Golfer will need to be able to play it. The lower the Slope Rating, the less strokes a Bogey Player will require.

The Slope Ratings for Sutton Coldfield Golf Club are:

  • White Tees - Men - 138
  • Yellow Tees - Men - 133
  • Red Tees - Women - 139

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What is Handicap Index?

Golfers will consider the Handicap Index to be the most important element of the WHS. The Handicap Index:

  • Measures the ability of a player
  • Can be taken from course to course
  • Allows players to compete fairly on any rated course

A Handicap Index is calculated from the best 8 scores from the last 20 rounds.

As a new score is submitted, a player's Handicap Index will automatically update via Intelligent Golf to the most recent 20 scores. A player's Handicap Index will update promptly overnight after the submission of an acceptable score and will be ready for the next time they play.

When the new system comes into play, most golfers will have a Handicap Index based on their existing playing records.

This will be automatically generated - the player does not need to do anything to obtain their Handicap Index.

For new golfers to gain a Handicap Index, they will need to submit a minimum of 54 holes. Their Handicap Index will be the lowest of the three rounds minus 2 strokes and will continue to be built until the 20 scores are achieved.

This will be automatically generated - the player does not need to do anything to obtain their Handicap Index.

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What is a Course Handicap?

Before any player starts their round, they must convert their Handicap Index into a Course Handicap. The Course Handicap will determine the number of strokes a player will receive for any set of tees on any course.

It's as easy as H C P

H - Handicap Index        C - Course Handicap        P - Play

Handicap Index x (Slope Rating/113) = Course Handicap (rounded)

Course & Slope Rating tables will be available at all rated course and will be positioned in conspicuous locations around the club/course. Golfers simply have to choose their tees and cross reference their Handicap Index on the table to ascertain their Course Handicap.

Click for SCGC Course & Slope Rating table

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General Play & Competition Rounds

After completing a round, a player has to submit their scorecard as soon as possible in order for their Handicap Index to be updated. Preferably, scores should be posted at the venue being played and on the same day as this will be when the player's Handicap Index will be updated.

In order for a score to to count towards a player's WHS, it must be played:

  • In accordance with The Rules of Golf
  • In an authorised format of play
  • Over a minimum of 10 holes
  • With at least one other person
  • On a course with a current Slope Rating and Course Rating


Acceptable formats of play for submitting a score towards a player's Handicap Index include:

  • Pre-registered general play (previously known as 'Supplementary Rounds') announced in Professional Shop prior to play
  • All individual competition rounds, both 9 and 18 holes, whether played at home course or away

Non-acceptable formats include:

  • Scores from fourball better ball
  • Other matchplay events

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What is Playing Handicap?

Playing Handicap is a stroke allowance that is implemented in order to maintain the integrity of the WHS when used in competition. It allows golfers to compete on a level playing field, regardless of their Handicap Index.

The Course Handicap converts to a playing handicap for competition purposes and changes depending on the format of of play. The four most important aspects of a Playing Handicap to remember are:

  • It is only used for competition purposes
  • It ensures equity to calculate competition results
  • Golfers do not need to calculate it. It is generated before the round is played
  • Golfers should continue to play in the mindset of their Course Handicap in competition rounds

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What is the role of The Handicap Committee?

Every club is required to have a Handicap Committee and it will play a vital role in maintaining the integrity of the WHS. The members of The Handicap Committee will have a good working knowledge of the new WHS.

The role of The Handicap Committee can be summarised as:

  • To record, maintain and update Handicap Index of all members
  • To notify members of changes to their Handicap Index
  • To ensure all acceptable scores are uploaded
  • To be responsible for reviewing the Handicap Record


The members of The Handicap Committee at Sutton Coldfield are:

  • Mark Howell (Captain)
  • Dave Barton
  • Dave Harrison
  • Ruth Watson
  • Haydn Lunn (Club Manager)

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World Handicap System - Privacy Notice

It is a requirement for all golf clubs to make the England Golf WHS Privacy Notice available to all members. Please click HERE to view the notice explaining how England Golf collects and processes personal data gathered from members of golf clubs.





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