The New World Handicap System

Sandbaggers beware! Whether you live in Rapid City or French Polynesia, a more equitable and global handicapping system is coming to a course near you.

Starting in 2020, golfers around the world will fall under the umbrella of the new World Handicapping System, which aims to welcome more golfers and unify the 60 million or so players around the globe. Here are a few of the key changes:

  1. The Entire World Will Use the Same System

There are currently 6 different handicapping systems: USGA, R&A, Golf Australia, European Golf Association (EGA), Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU), South African Golf Association (SAGA) and the Argentine Golf Association (AGA). Obviously, this makes playing a tournament overseas a little challenging. Now, every country will use a uniform system governed by the USGA and R&A. You can go to Timbuktu and play heads up with a Timbuktian.

  1. You’ll Need Less Holes to Establish a Handicap

You currently need 90 holes (five 18-hole rounds) to establish a handicap. The new system only requires 54 (9 or 18-holes).

  1. The USGA Course and Slope Rating System Will be Used Worldwide

Unite the clans!

  1. Your Handicap Will be Pushed DOWN Further…

Handicaps are currently designed to go down easier than up by taking an average of your 10 best scores out of your last 20 total scores. The new system will take your best 8. Sorry Bandit Bob.

  1. The Max is Higher Though

The current maximum indexes are 40.4 for women and 36.4 for men. The new max is 54.0, regardless of gender. Good luck playing against that.

  1. Weather Will Be Accounted For (My Favorite)

If this works well, it will be a great idea. An algorithm will weigh scores differently based on weather conditions. As we all know, any course is different when it’s 72 degrees and calm compared to 45 degrees and blowing 25 mph. Awesome idea.

  1. Your Handicap Will Update Every Day Rather than Twice Per Month

Another fantastic idea.

  1. You Can Only Post Net Double-Bogey on Any Hole

Another rule making everything more equitable and should help speed up play.

All in all, I think these changes are tremendously beneficial for the game. Of course there will always be complaints, but the idea that you can compare your index with someone in the Zhejiang Province of China is pretty awesome. We’re looking forward to seeing how everything shakes out in 2020!