Trent Park Golf Club

Serving its members since 1974

The New World Handicap System (WHS) is coming – PART 2

Update: The new WHS as of 31 August -


WHS comes into play on Monday 2nd November in Great Britain and Ireland and will replace the current CONGU handicapping system. It will be part of a system used by over 15 million golfers in 80 countries worldwide. This is the second note in the series to introduce the WHS to TPGC members

The Handicap Index?

The most important factor of the new WHS is Handicap Index, as the WHS is centred around calculating a player’s Handicap Index, which provides golfers with an accurate measurement of their golfing ability, and is portable from course to course.

The WHS has been created with consideration given to club golfers who play both sporadically and more regularly, creating a more inclusive and equitable system for golfers worldwide.

For golfers that play regularly, their Handicap Index will be generated by calculating an average of their best eight scores from their previous 20 rounds. For new, and more sporadic golfers, their Handicap Index will be calculated once scorecards of 54 holes (3 x 18, 6 x 9 holes or any combination of 9 and 18 holes) have been submitted to the TPGC Handicap Committee. Once a player has achieved 20 scores, a “fully-developed” Handicap Index can be calculated (maximum 54)

To ensure any golfer has only one Handicap Index, a home club (in our case Trent Park Golf Course) is nominated.

Course Rating

The Course Rating is used to measure the playing difficulty of a golf course. It measures how many strokes a Scratch Golfer (a player with a handicap index of 0.0) should take on any given course. It does this by assessing two main types of challenges which, when combined, result in a common base from which to compare players’ abilities.

  • The playing length of the course
  • The obstacles that a player will encounter (e.g. size of green and hazards)

Another important factor to establish in the rating system is Bogey Rating, which is the measure of playing difficulty from a set of tees when played by a Bogey Golfer (a player with a handicap index of approximately 20 for a male and 24 for a female).

Knowing the Course Rating and Bogey Rating established as part of the Course Rating process allows the WHS to assess and rationalise the relationship between the two. From this, the difficulty of the course for all other levels of ability can be deduced.

Slope Rating

Slope Rating is the number which indicates the relative difficulty of a course for Bogey Golfers, compared to Scratch Golfers, and is the difficulty comparison between these golfers from the same set of tees. It is the combination of the Course Rating and the Bogey Rating, which allows the calculation of the Slope Rating of a set of tees.


The use of Slope allows a player’s Handicap Index to be portable from course to course and country to country. It also enables acceptable scores from any rated golf course globally to be submitted for a player’s handicap purposes.

Each set of tees will have a Slope Rating value between 55 and 155. The higher the Slope Rating, the more additional strokes a Bogey Golfer will need to be able to play that course. The lower the Slope Rating, the less strokes a Bogey Golfer will require.

(All factors / ratings etc in respect of TPGC will of course be provided in due course).


Ian Rickard

WHS part 2.docx

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