Month: September 2020

More Info for Members on the World Handicapping System

FAO: All Members and Handicap Committee

Thank you for your help so far in getting the message out there about the World Handicap System which arrives in Ireland on 2nd November 2020.

Don’t forget that everything your members need to know about WHS is available at and we encourage you to let your members know about this resource. We have a Frequently Asked Questions document, presentations and the Rules of Handicapping book available for download.

Attached are six more graphics which you can use on your social media channels, club website and internal club newsletters to all members.

Statement re Golf in Co. Donegal under Level 3 Covid Protocol


25th SEPTEMBER 2020

Following the Irish Government’s announcement in relation to increased restrictions due to COVID-19, golf clubs and golfers located in County Donegal must adhere to the following:

  • Golfers residing within County Donegal must not travel outside their county of residence to play golf
  • Golfers residing outside County Donegal must not travel to the county to play golf
  • All-Ireland GUI Inter-Club matches and Championships are covered by separate guidance which will be issued by GUI to clubs and participants involved.
  • Clubs may continue activities which are qualifying for handicapping purposes but all participants must abide by the domestic travel restrictions at Level 3 (see first two points above).
  • Members, their guests and staff with colds or any symptoms of COVID-19 must stay away from the golf course/clubhouse
  • Physical distancing rules are observed by all members and their guests at all times in the car park, clubhouse and on the course.
  • Personnel are on hand to monitor adherence with physical distancing rules and the rules for golfers set out in this document.
  • Tee times are booked in advance online or over the telephone. Clubs must ensure that players names (including members’ guests) are recorded on timesheets and timesheets must be kept for a period of at least 6 weeks to assist with contact tracing should the need arise.
  • Daily timesheets are restricted to a minimum of 8, 9 or 10 minute intervals. Clubs may only choose one interval for each day. If clubs choose 8+ minute intervals, play is restricted to 2 golfers per start time. If clubs choose 9+ minutes, up to 3 golfers may play per start time. If clubs choose 10+ minutes, up to 4 golfers may play per start time.
  • Those aged 70 years and over and the medically vulnerable should exercise judgement regarding the extent to which they engage with others and in activities outside home. Specific Government guidance will be provided.
  • Training: Outdoors – non-contact training only in pods of up to 15. Indoors – individual training only.
  • All cafes and restaurants, including bars, should only offer takeaway or delivery, or outdoor dining/service (maximum 15 people with strict physical distancing – please consult for details).
  • Clubhouse access should be confined to use of toilet facilities (provided they can be kept clean) and initial retrieval of golf equipment from lockers. If toilet facilities are open, clubs should adopt a one-in, one-out approach.
  • There are no social gatherings, of any size, at the facility.
  • Players are instructed not to touch the flag or flagstick.
  • Rakes are removed from the course. Players are requested to smooth bunkers using their feet or a club. (See Appendix 2 as previously published for measures which can be taken in qualifying situations)
  • Hire trolleys (electric and pull trolleys) must be sanitised prior to each use.
  • Caddies are not permitted (exception: where the group of golfers and the caddies are from the same household).

Golf Ireland will issue guidance early next week in relation to Levels 1-3 and how each one impacts on clubs and golfers alike.

World Handicapping System Update

To: Club Communication Officers

FAO: All members, handicap committees and staff

Dear CCO,

With six weeks left to go before the new World Handicap System comes into effect, we have put together some educational resources for your members to access. These can be found at and we will be providing clubs with content for use in their internal publications and social media outlets over the coming weeks.

Please let your members know about this as WHS represents the biggest change to the handicap system for over 30 years.

At you can find the Rules of Handicapping booklet, frequently asked questions, explainer videos, guidance from the R&A and CONGU and more.

More communication from us will follow in due course. Below is a copy of the media release issued today.

Alan Kelly

Communications Manager

Golfing Union of Ireland



World Handicap System Set for November Launch

  • Biggest changes to handicap system in over 30 years
  • Golfers of all abilities will be able to compete on a fair and equal basis
  • Club members encouraged to learn more about the new system

Golf Ireland, the GUI and ILGU today confirmed that the World Handicap System will come into effect in Ireland from 2nd November, replacing the current Unified Handicapping System (CONGU).

The World Handicap System, the rollout of which commenced in January, unifies six different handicapping systems into a single system and will:

  • enable golfers of different abilities to play and compete on a fair and equal basis, in any format, on any course, anywhere around the world;
  • be easy to understand and implement, without sacrificing accuracy; and meet the varied needs and expectations of golfers, golf clubs and golf authorities all around the world and be adaptable to suit all golfing cultures                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Following transition to the WHS, all Handicap Index calculations will be consistent for all players, making a Handicap Index directly comparable to all other players around the world.

Over the coming six weeks, an education campaign will begin to help golfers in Ireland learn and adapt the new handicap system. This will be undertaken through the Golfnet website, on social media, through club communication officers, direct mail and with GUI and ILGU media partners in Irish Golfer.
Speaking about the launch, Mark Kennelly CEO of Golf Ireland said: “The World Handicap System transforms how golf handicaps are calculated and the new system should make the process of obtaining and administering handicaps much simpler. It’s a modern, progressive and more equal way of ensuring that we provide all golfers with a consistent measure of playing ability.”
The new system will feature the following:

  • Flexibility in formats of play, allowing both competitive and recreational rounds to count for handicap purposes and ensuring that a golfer’s handicap is more reflective of potential ability
  • A minimal number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap; a recommendation that the number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap be 54 holes from any combination of 18-hole and 9-hole rounds.
  • A consistent handicap that is portable from course to course and country to country through worldwide use of the USGA Course and Slope Rating System, already successfully used in more than 80 countries
  • An average-based calculation of a handicap, taken from the best eight out of the last 20 scores and factoring in memory of demonstrated ability for better responsiveness and control
  • A calculation that considers the impact that abnormal course and weather conditions might have on a player’s performance each day
  • Daily handicap revisions, taking account of the course and weather conditions calculation
  • A limit of Net Double Bogey on the maximum hole score (for handicapping purposes only)
  • A maximum handicap index limit of 54.0, regardless of gender, to encourage more golfers to measure and track their performance to increase their enjoyment of the game                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           A secure login area on the Golf Ireland website (which will replace Golfnet) will allow club members login to view their playing history and a smartphone app will be launched in early 2021.


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