World Handicap System

The World Handicap System launched on 2 November 2020, England Golf have released several videos on the World Handicap System (WHS). These videos are a helpful resource for explaining the WHS in a user-friendly format.

Roehampton Club has been assessed and rated by England Golf. Both male and female golfers will be able to play from any of the three sets of tees from when the WHS comes into effect.

England Golf has ascertained that 92% of golfers will see little change between their handicap index and their current handicap. Each player will have a Handicap Index (rather than a handicap). Your Handicap Index is calculated by taking an average of your best 8 scores from your most recent 20 rounds. Initially, should you not have recorded 20 scores in recent times, your scoring history will be taken as far back as January 2018 to ascertain your Handicap Index. There is absolutely no need to be worried if you have not recorded 20 scores since January 2018 – A lower number of scores will be used from which your average will be taken. Simply put, if you have a CONGU handicap now, you will have a WHS Handicap Index in November. The same principle will apply if you have returned fewer than 8 scores from the start of the new system.

One of the myths of this new system is that you must record your score each and every time you play, wherever you play. This is not the case, however you will be able to enter “General Play” scores if you wish, in much the same way as you may currently record supplementary scores, albeit you will be able to record scores when playing elsewhere.
To assist your understanding, here are some terms that will be used as the transition takes place and you will hear and read more about. Click here for a useful Player Reference Guide

Course Rating and Slope Rating

Course Rating (current SSS) – represents the difficulty of a golf course for a scratch golfer (0 handicap), calculated to the nearest 0.1.
Slope Rating represents the relative difficulty of a course for a bogey golfer (20 handicap) compared to a scratch golfer.
A course with long carries, narrow fairways, lots of hazards and thick rough will have a high slope rating because these features are more of a challenge to bogey golfers.
Slope Rating can be anywhere between 55 and 155. 113 is the neutral value that is used in handicap calculations. The GB&I average Slope Rating is 125. Roehampton Club’s Course and Slope Ratings are:

Course Rating  Slope Rating
White Men 69.7 119
Yellow Men 68.7 117
Red Men 67.6 111
White Women 75.3 134
Yellow Women 74.1 131
Red Women 72.3 124

‘Easy as H.C.P’!

Before any player starts their round they must convert their Handicap Index into a Course Handicap. This will determine how many shots they will receive when playing a golf course from any set of tees.

An easy way for a player to remember this is to think ‘HCP’. This stands for:

H – Handicap Index
C – Course Handicap
P – Play Golf

Handicap Index (currently exact handicap)

The measure of a player’s demonstrated ability calculated against the Slope Rating of a golf course of standard playing difficulty (Slope Rating 113)

Course Handicap (currently playing handicap)

Course Handicap= Handicap Index x (Slope Rating/113)
The number of strokes a player receives is determined by the Slope Rating.
Example – A golfer’s course handicap is determined by multiplying their Handicap Index by the Slope Rating and dividing by 113. For example, a male golfer playing from the White tees at Roehampton Club: the Course Handicap of a player with a 20.1 Handicap Index is calculated as:
Course Handicap = 20.1 x ( 119 / 113 ) = 21.2, will be rounded to 21 as you will find in the slope chart
Click here for Roehampton Club’s slope charts

These will be available on the 1st and 10th tees so you don’t have to remember them!

Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC) – currently CSS

Determines if course and weather conditions on the day differed from normal to the extent that they significantly impacted players’ performance.
PCC is calculated using all scores submitted on the course that day, as long as 8 or more golfers with a Handicap Index of less than 36.
PCC is conservative in nature and can increase the Adjusted Gross Score by 1 in easy conditions or decrease it by 1, 2 or 3 in difficult conditions.


In order to move from CONGU to WHS handicaps, all players’ current Handicap Records will be reprocessed using the WHS principles. The calculation will identify the best 8 of the last 20 Qualifying Scores, if posted since January 2018, and factor in:
• The adjusted Gross Score (Score Differential)
• The Course Rating (or SSS)
• Any PCC (or CSS) adjustments
• The Slope Rating of the tees played

If less than 20 Qualifying Scores posted in the last 2 years

• 3 scores: lowest score -2 • 4 scores: lowest score -1 •5 scores: lowest score • 6 scores: average of lowest 2 scores -1 • 7 to 8 scores: average of lowest 2 scores • 9 to 11 scores: average of lowest 3 scores • 12 to 14 scores: average of lowest 4 scores • 15 to 16 scores: average of lowest 5 scores • 17 to 18 scores: average of lowest 6 scores • 19 scores: average of lowest 7 scores • 20 scores: average of lowest 8 scores
The information within these short videos will also help to highlight the significant changes to the way handicaps will be maintained. Each video can individually viewed by clicking the link below or you can view the full playlist at the bottom of this email:
Basis of calculation
Course and slope rating
Playing handicap
Maximum handicap index 54
Acceptable scores
Net double bogey
Daily revisions
Playing conditions calculation

There is an increasing amount of information available now for golfers, so if you are keen to learn more about the WHS then do refer to the England Golf website or follow them on social media. For any Members who enjoy podcasts, then this one with Gemma Hunter (England Golf Handicap and Course Rating Manager) is very informative

As we get closer to the launch date, we will be sending out further information and keeping Members updated.

Tristan McIllroy | Operations Manager, Golf, Games and Club