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USGA and R&A launch new World Handicap System for 2020

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The new World Handicap System (WHS) will launch in January 2020, which seeks to provide golfers with a unified and more inclusive handicapping system for the very first time.

The system has been developed by the USGA and The R&A in close coordination with existing handicapping authorities. It aims to offer all golfers with a consistent measure of playing ability, with handicaps calculated in the same way across the globe.

Through the new system, golfers will be able to transport their handicap index globally and compete or play a casual round with players from other regions on a fair basis. The new WHS will also indicate the score a golfer is reasonably capable of achieving the next time they go out to play.

Below are the estimated dates where the WHS is expected to launch in selected countries around the world.

  • January: Argentina, Australia, Canada, India, Mexico, Panama, South Africa, Republic of Korea, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela
  • February/March/April: Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore and Sweden
  • May/June/July: August: Portugal
  • September/October/November: December: Great Britain and Ireland

Speaking on the WHS, Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA, stated

“When the golf community works together, everyone benefits. We have seen the benefit that handicapping has provided for decades, providing greater enjoyment for all who play. To have a single set of Rules of Handicapping for the game will connect golfers from country to country, and we are excited to bring the best of all worlds together through this initiative. 

“It is one of the many ways we are investing in golf’s future, to strengthen and foster growth of the entire game for years to come.”

The WHS is comprised of two primary components – the Rules of Handicapping and the Course Rating System.

The Rules of Handicapping are encompassed within seven rules to inform administrators and golfers on how an official Handicap Index is calculated and administered, with some flexibility given to national associations based on how the sport is played and enjoyed in their region. 

The Course Rating System, based on the USGA Course Rating System first adopted nearly 50 years ago and is already used on almost every continent, sets out a consistent method of determining a course’s difficulty. Together the two work to form an accurate reading of a golfer’s handicap index.

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, had this to say on the new system

“The game of golf is transforming to meet the needs of the modern-day golfer; modernizing the Rules this year was an important step forward in that regard and the World Handicap System will be another. Our hope is that the launch of the WHS will be a catalyst for change; signalling the start of a new era of golfer engagement, being inclusive by embracing all golfers, whatever their level of ability, and broadening its appeal to a much wider audience. 

“Change also means opportunity and, managed appropriately, this can only be good for the game. It does mean there will be a period of adjustment, as we saw with the new Rules, but once it beds in golfers and golf clubs will benefit in many ways from the new system.”

With the launch of the WHS closing in, more than 3,000 golf courses have been rated for the first time.

To learn more about the World Handicap System, check out WHS.com where you can find information specific to a country on the new system.

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Gianni is a freelance writer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts as well as a Diploma in Sports Journalism. He can be contacted at gmagliocco@outlook.com. Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Donald

    Nov 7, 2019 at 1:28 am

    What about Spain, Austria, Denmark, France, Norway, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Japan, etc etc?

  2. Acemandrake

    Nov 6, 2019 at 9:13 pm

    Still can’t be trusted to post a score when playing as a single.

    The USGA says it’s a game of honor.

    Until you try to post your score as a dirty, cheating single player.

    • Radim Pavlicek

      Nov 7, 2019 at 1:51 pm

      Why would you be able to post a score as a single player. That doesn’t make sense. Hcp is when you play with others.

  3. Editor

    Nov 6, 2019 at 9:08 pm

    This isn’t news, nor is it adding anything. More Gianni fluff.

  4. Dougg

    Nov 6, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    At this point they should use season-to-season dynamic changing of course ratings based on how travelling players score there. For instance, the white tees at Pinehurst #2 being 70.7, “easier” than several of my local muni’s is a joke. They had no way to rate the course based on expected firmness of the greens, for example. But at this point they should be able to use actual results, not just square footage, to develop course ratings.

    • golfer07840

      Nov 6, 2019 at 2:04 pm

      I find it laughable how “easy” they rate all the Pinehurst courses. I’m convinced the biggest factor in rating and slope is overall course Yardage. Just because a course isn’t 6,800 yards doesn’t mean it’s easy.

      • Dougg

        Nov 6, 2019 at 4:05 pm

        I believe they use factors like green square footage (so Pinehursts greens are bigger size for rating than they are functionally with the fall offs), fairway size (relatively wide at PH), and of course length. I couldn’t find anything to confirm this on a quick google. All I know is I won’t be making a net-play wager against someone who logs a bunch of rounds at #2 and #4.

        I’m sure there are countless more examples of weirdly misrated courses. I’m not here to argue about 0.5 here or there. But when they’re clearly off by as much as 3 shots, it seems like the system could use some modernizing.

  5. A. Commoner

    Nov 6, 2019 at 9:49 am

    Handicapping facilitates participation trophies. Just can’t get that excited about it.

    • juannybravo

      Nov 6, 2019 at 9:54 am

      a friend has a cabinet FULL of 2nd and 3rd flight trophies from his league. His scoring average is 94.

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19th Hole

The 6 best #GolfWRX photos on Instagram today (11.20.19)

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In this segment, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best #GolfWRX tagged photos on Instagram. In case you aren’t already, there’s a whole load of action going on at our page, so follow us: @golfwrx

Let’s get to it then, here are six of the best #GolfWRX photos from the past 24 hours.

“Shooters Shoot”

7K Chick-Fil-A Headcover giveaway from Cayce Golf.

Closer look at the new Lamkin grips on Bettinardi’s 2020 BB Series and INOVAI 6.0 flat-sticks.

Which one you taking, WRXers?

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Plain, dot, line, circle?

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Latest tease from Sugar Skull Golf.

Awesome shots of Oak Quarry Golf Club courtesy of Bad Birdie Golf.

Get hashtagging your golf posts #GolfWRX for your chance to feature in our best of Instagram posts in the future!

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Rooftop bar overlooking the iconic 18th hole is coming to the Old Course at St. Andrews

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On Tuesday, U.S.-based investment firm, AJ Capital Partners, announced plans to renovate the Macdonald Rusacks Hotel beside the Old Course at St. Andrews, which is set to feature a new rooftop bar overlooking the Old Course’s iconic 18th hole.

The new bar is set to be 3,000-square feet in size and is expected to be completed by July 2021 for the 150th Open Championship.

Speaking on the new project, AJ Capital CEO Ben Weprin stated in a release

“St Andrews is one of the most iconic destinations in the world, and our team is honored to embark upon bringing our unique approach to hospitality to this incredibly historic and inspiring community.”

As well as the rooftop “19th hole”, the hotels current 70 rooms and restaurant facilities will be upgraded, while an additional 44 rooms will be added – all of which will pay tribute to St. Andrews and the Old Course’s designer, Old Tom Morris.

“We look forward to creating an experience for both guests and locals alike that celebrates and commemorates St. Andrews’ storied past for years to come.” – Ben Weprin

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19th Hole

The 6 best #GolfWRX photos on Instagram today (11.19.19)

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In this segment, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best #GolfWRX tagged photos on Instagram. In case you aren’t already, there’s a whole load of action going on at our page, so follow us: @golfwrx

Let’s get to it then, here are six of the best #GolfWRX photos from the past 24 hours.

Sweet looking Las Vegas headcover showcased by Ryan Helin.

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When in Vegas ????????

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Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind wedges with a rushed copper finish and a bullet insert from The Golf Garage.

Haywood Golf beginning their Black Friday sale early.

New creation from MannKrafted.

Dropping this Thursday from Sugar Skull Golf.

Wai Naing showing off his Lamb “Winner Winner” flat-stick as well as StoneCrest Golf Course.

Get hashtagging your golf posts #GolfWRX for your chance to feature in our best of Instagram posts in the future!

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