World Handicap System gets the green light for 2020

Your first reaction will probably be ‘about time’.

And at long last the parent bodies that run golf have agreed on a unified handicapping system for the whole six world golf organisations.

USGA R&A, USGA give worldwide handicap system the go ahead for 2020

It won’t be officially launched until 2020, which gives those that run the game the opportunity to iron out a few of the ‘kinks’.

And it does appear there will be very little change to the system that Australian golfers currently play under.

But the best thing about it is that the six world golf organisations will operate under one handicapping umbrella which would ensure all handicaps were usable across different countries and continents.

Whether that makes it easier for Aussies to get a game of golf overseas remains to be seen.

But it is certainly a move in the right direction.

And the six existing handicapping authorities: 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 USGA have all agreed.

According to the USGA, the new system will feature:

  • Flexibility in formats of play, allowing both competitive and recreational rounds to count for handicap purposes and ensuring that a golfer’s handicap is more reflective of potential ability;
  • A minimal number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap; a recommendation that the number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap be 54 holes from any combination of 18-hole and nine-hole rounds, but with some discretion available for national or regional associations to set a different minimum within their own jurisdiction;
  • A consistent handicap that is portable from course to course and country to country through worldwide use of the USGA Course and Slope Rating System, already successfully used in more than 80 countries;
  • An average-based calculation of a handicap, taken from the best eight out of the last 20 scores and factoring in memory of demonstrated ability for better responsiveness and control;
  • A calculation that considers the impact that abnormal course and weather conditions might have on a player’s performance each day;
  • Daily handicap revisions, taking account of the course and weather conditions calculation;
  • A limit of Net Double Bogey on the maximum hole score (for handicapping purposes only);
  • A maximum handicap limit of 54.0, regardless of gender, to encourage more golfers to measure and track their performance to increase their enjoyment of the game.