R&A, USGA considering worldwide handicap system

What do 15 million golfers in more than 80 countries around the world have in common? Well, apart from each one using a set of clubs, not much actually.

But that may soon change with plans to adopt a single world handicap system for golf.

R&A, USGA considering worldwide handicap system R&A, USGA considering worldwide handicap system

The Royal and Ancient and the USGA are working together with golf handicapping authorities with the aim of developing a single world handicap system for golf.

At the moment those 15 million golfers have a handicap which is a numerical index, a system that has long been used to measure a golfer’s potential skill level.

Still those handicaps are currently delivered through six different systems around the world.

That may change sooner rather than later with plans for a proposed handicap system adopting a universal set of principles and procedures that would apply all over the golfing world.

An extensive review of existing handicap systems administered by Golf Australia, the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) in Great Britain and Ireland, the European Golf Association (EGA), the South African Golf Association (SAGA), the Argentine Golf Association (AAG) and the United States Golf Association (USGA) has been undertaken.

Golf organisations from different parts of the world have also been engaged with the current handicap authorities for the past two years to help shape the proposed system, which takes into account the many different golf cultures and most common formats of play.

A joint committee led by The R&A and the USGA has been formed, including representatives from each handicap authority as well as the Japan Golf Association and Golf Canada.

The joint committee plans to announce its proposals later this year.

According to chief executive of the R&A, Martin Slumbers, there have been concerns for some time that many golfers find the handicapping landscape to be complicated and occasionally frustrating when it is not always applied in different parts of the world.

“We’re working closely with the existing handicapping bodies to benefit from their insights as we try to formulate a system that will be easy to understand and can be applied consistently on a global basis,” Slumbers said.