World Handicap System


As we near the implementation of WHS on November 2nd in Scotland, many Golfers across Scotland will be asking, “why a new Handicap System?”
WHS has a number of key aims such as providing maximum enjoyment for all who play the game as well as enabling players from anywhere in the world, to play and compete with others on a fair basis.

One of the most common questions golfers will ask each other is, what is your handicap?

Under WHS, the way in which a handicap is calculated will change slightly, and golfers will receive a new Handicap Index.

A Handicap Index is designed to represent your demonstrated ability. It is calculated by averaging the best 8 score differentials out of the most recent 20 within your scoring record. Can be made up of both competition and general play scores.

As part of WHS, golfers will have a Course and Playing Handicap.
Your Course Handicap will be the number of strokes a player receives, before handicap allowances, from a specific set of tees as determined by the Slope Rating.
The Course Handicap is adjusted for any handicap allowances or Terms of the Competition. It represents the actual number of strokes the player gives or receives for the format of golf being played.

WHS Course Rating & Handicap Charts


A player should submit their score as soon as possible on the day of play, after completion of their round and before midnight (local time).
The handicap calculation will take place every night at a specific time and a golfer’s new handicap index will be calculated ready for the following day. A golfer will be able to view their new handicap index on the Scottish Golf Platform (via the website or App) or through their own golf club.
If a golfer’s score is not submitted on the day of play it will not be used in the Playing Conditions Calculation.

Under WHS, one of the key aims is to provide golfers with more opportunities to submit counting scores.
The factors that will mean a score is considered acceptable for handicapping purposes are outlined in the Rules of Handicapping and can be found below.


The Course Rating system forms the foundation for the Rules of Handicapping.
The system enables handicaps to be portable by adjusting a player’s handicap according to the relative difficulty of the golf course being played.
Scottish Golf has issued the Course & Slope Rating Certificates and Course Handicap Charts for the Montrose 1562 and Broomfield Courses. These ratings and handicap charts come into effect in Scotland from 2nd November 2020. See bottom of right-hand column for links to these documents.

At the end of each day, a playing conditions calculation (PCC) takes place automatically, behind the scenes, to determine if scores made at the course were significantly higher or lower than expected.
If scores were unusually low or high, a PCC adjustment of between –1 and +3 will be applied to your score differential calculation to reflect the playing conditions on the day.

A score differential which is at least 7.0 strokes or more better than the player’s Handicap Index at the time the round was played. A Score can be from any format of play, competitive or general play and this is not restricted to competition scores.

A player’s Low Handicap Index is remembered within the handicap formula – this is the lowest Handicap Index they have held within the last 12 months.
The Low Handicap Index provides a reference point against which the current Handicap Index can be compared.
If the new Index is more than a certain number of strokes above the Low Handicap Index, the cap is triggered.
The soft cap suppresses upward movement when the difference between the new calculated Index and the Low Index is greater than 3.
The hard cap prevents further upward movement by placing a hard ceiling at 5 above the Low Index.

Find out more about the World Handicap System at:

Click on one below to view/print: –

1562 – Scottish Golf ‘World Handicap System’ Course and Slope Rating Certificate (Updated 23/12/2020)

1562 – Scottish Golf ‘World Handicap System’ Course Handicap Chart (Updated 23/12/2020)

Broomfield – Scottish Golf ‘World Handicap System’ Course and Slope Rating Certificate

Broomfield – Scottish Golf ‘World Handicap System’ Course Handicap Chart