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WHS: How your handicap will be adjusted in 2021

  • November 19, 2020
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By Rosemary Dolan

Kenya will move on to the new World Handicap System (WHS) early in 2021. Under this new system you will be given a new decimal handicap called a Handicap Index which will be changed into a Course Handicap depending on the Slope Rating of the course and set of tees you are playing. 

The Slope Rating is a measure of the difficulty of the course from a particular set of tees for a higher handicap (or bogey) player compared to a scratch player. Each set of tees on every golf course will be allocated a Slope Rating for men and women.

 The average of the best eight scores of your last twenty scores under the current system will be used to calculate your new Handicap Index.  For golfers who don’t play often, provided you have just three cards since January 2018, you will get a WHS Handicap Index but it may not reflect your current ability if the cards are from 2018 or 2019. For your new Handicap Index to reflect your current form, you need to return cards in the next few months.

The perfect putt

 New golfers can get a WHS Handicap Index through returning three 18-hole cards. These can be six 9-hole cards, or a combination of 9 and 18-hole cards. The maximum Handicap Index for both men and women will be 54 and your Handicap Index will be valid anywhere in the world. Once you have a Handicap Index you will only lose it if you are no longer a member of a golf club.

Individual scores over 9 or 18 holes, returned in competition or friendly golf (general play is the term used under WHS) will count for handicap purposes. Rounds must be played by the Rules of Golf and in the company of a Marker. Matchplay, foursomes or fourball scores cannot be used for handicap. 

The WHS computer system has mechanisms to take into account playing conditions on the day and to guard against major fluctuations in your Handicap Index. You will be able to access information on your Handicap Index through your mobile phone and it will be every player’s responsibility to play off the correct handicap. 

 The Handicap Committee of your home club has the power to adjust your initial Handicap Index if it is not a true reflection of your ability. The Handicap Committee may also adjust or freeze your Handicap Index at any time to ensure that all players are treated fairly and consistently. 


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