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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