We thought you might be interested in this information about your World Handicap System Index and Course Handicap — they are not the same thing!
In the new world of WHS you have two numbers you need to remember:
- The first is your Handicap Index, which is the exact calculation of your handicap. This is equivalent to what was your CONGU handicap. This number — usually expressed to a decimal point — is the average of the best eight of your last 20 scores — in terms of the score differential. So, if you are asked, ‘what’s your handicap?’ That is your Handicap Index and that is how we compare each other now.
- The second is your Course Handicap. Whenever you play on a golf course, wherever you are, your index will change, and you will have a different Course Handicap. It looks at the difficulty of that golf course for the scratch and bogey player and works out what your Course Handicap is based on the slope rating of the golf course you are playing. Your Course Handicap can change depending on the course, or even the tees from which you are playing. As we mentioned above, your Course Handicap could be vastly different to your actual WHS Handicap Index depending on the course you are playing. For example, say you are playing your home golf course: the white tees have a slope rating of 145, the yellow tees are 125, and the red tees are rated at 95. You are going to have three quite different Course Handicaps over those golf courses. You are going to lose shots on the red colour, you are going to gain a few on the yellow and you are going to gain quite a lot on the whites.
It is all about the difficulty for the two players – scratch and bogey – playing that golf course. We are not comparing Course A to Course B. We are comparing the same golf course but for two players of different ability.
Your handicap is no longer based on playing one single course. It is recalculated and that is why we call it a Course Handicap. It can change for every course you play.
There are many ways you can check what your Course Handicap is going to be on any course. You can do it via the My England Golf app, IG Member app, via the club boards, or you even manually work it out if you know the calculations. Your Course Handicap is of primary importance because that is how we work out where you are going to get your strokes.
So, if you know what your Handicap Index is, you will choose the right tee for your game on that day, work out your Course Handicap, and go out and enjoy your round of golf.
You receive a Playing Handicap during club competitions, but it does not affect the score that goes forward for handicap purposes. The playing handicap is purely for competition purposes. You may find the score you record — because that score is based on your Course Handicap — will be different to that shown on the results sheet.
That is to be expected. It is going to be slightly less if you play a medal, for example, because that format comes with a 95% allowance. Do not worry too much about the Playing Handicap, it is purely for competition results purposes. If you are recording your gross score, we will use your Course Handicap to work out your new Handicap Index.
The idea of WHS is you have more opportunity to return scores for handicap purposes. It is not limited to competition scores or to scores played at your home golf club, as it was with supplementary scores.
You can now return a score in general play whenever you wish, either home or away. So long as you play a measured golf course and pre-register your intent to score before you go out to play, you can return a score from anywhere.
My England Golf App and IG Member App
These useful apps have a range of features – primarily the ability to look at your handicap record. You have full access to your scores and they highlight which scores are included in your handicap calculations.
They also show your handicap trends. They have a Course Handicap Calculator, which allows you to select the golf course you are going to play, the relevant tees, and will do the calculation for you. They tell you what the Course and Slope ratings are and reveal, based on your Handicap Index, what your Course Handicap is.