Exploring the New World Handicap System

By Ryan Watson

Titrist Golf Ball Near Golf Hole

One of the biggest changes in golf occurred in January 2020 but might have been missed by most. That is the new World Handicap System. This is a brand new set of rules for determining a golfer's handicap. The World Handicap System unifies what was 6 different systems used around the world. Now handicaps will be governed by the USGA and R&A jointly. So handicaps will remain constant whether you are playing in Columbus, Colombia, or Kolkata. The change also adds a lot more nuance into the handicap system while also making it easier to establish and maintain a handicap.


Changes to the Handicap System

The new handicap system is much more responsive than the previous system. For one, handicap changes will be accessible daily rather than on the 1st and 15th under the old system. In addition, weather conditions will now be taken into account, meaning that scores in poor weather will no longer count the same as scores in perfect weather. The new system will also average the best 8 rounds out of your previous 20 rounds. The previous system looked at 10 of the past 20 rounds. IThe changes also benefit novice golfers. Beginning players they can no longer score any higher than a double bogey and only need 54 holes of 18 or 9-hole courses in order to establish a handicap, with maximum handicaps raised to 54 from 36.4 for men and 40.4 for women. All of this encourages players to stick with recording their handicaps and hopefully stay with the game to become more serious players. 


About The Author

Ryan Watson is a freelance sportswriter and history professor. He has been an avid fan of golf since his father signed him up for golf camp as a young child. Ryan enjoys following the professional game and learning about new equipment and gadgets.


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