Finally, the World Handicap System goes live in Kenya

  • February 12, 2021
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The World Handicap System, WHS, is now live in Kenya and golfers will be expected to start using the new handicap indices from tomorrow. The Kenya Golf Union today confirmed that it had submitted provisional Handicap Index data to all the 36 golf clubs that were rated and urged clubs to upload the requisite data immediately to activate the system.

“Our technology partner Club Systems International has completed processing Handicap Index information for all golfers in Kenya. What is now remaining is for clubs to update the information by feeding in to the system players’ scores for the period between January 15th and February 12th when handicaps were frozen, to reflect the proper Handicap Index. Players should not use the provisional Handicap Index we have forwarded to clubs,” said Vincent Wang’ombe, chairman of the Kenya Unified Handicapping and Course Rating Committee.

Speaking to T-OFF News, Wang’ombe disclosed that every golfer has been assigned a unique Identification and clubs will be required to have a portal through which players can readily access Handicap Index information. “We are aware there might be some hitches during this transition period. I would like to assure all golfers that from a technical standpoint, the system is superb; challenges might be experienced probably in the process of data capture by clubs,” he said.

He cautioned golfers against assuming that the new Handicap Index is synonymous with the defunct CONGU handicap noting that adjustments had taken place. “Everyone must look out for the correct Handicap Index. We have adequately trained all golf administrators to correctly interpret data pertaining to Handicap Index, playing handicap, course rating and slope rating to ensure that the change will be seamless,” Wang’ombe cautioned.

Vincent Wang’ombe

Confirming that course rating certificates and electronic course handicap conversion charts have already been delivered to clubs, Wang’ombe asked golf administrators to ensure that players use the correct set of tees at all times for consistency: “Most of our courses have been rated for only two sets of tees. However, these cannot be used interchangeably since they are treated as two distinct courses with different ratings.”

The launch of the WHS in Kenya is a welcome relief for golfers after three failed attempts.  WHS was launched in January 2020 in USA, South Africa and several countries in Europe and was initially scheduled to be launched in Kenya in September 2020. After missing last year’s global migration deadline, KGU had hoped to switch to WHS from 1st February 2021.

The new handicap system provides golfers with a “unified and more inclusive” handicapping system, unifying six handicapping systems. Developed by The R&A and USGA, it provides golfers a Handicap Index, which is a measure of their ability, and a course handicap which reflects the difficulty of the golf course being played. The player Handicap Index is calculated based on the average of the best scores for eight rounds from the most recent 20 submitted rounds of golf. It has a maximum handicap limit of 54.0, regardless of gender.

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