Rules, Ratings and Handicaps

British Columbia Golf administers the Rules of Golf and handicap system as developed by the world governing bodies of golf and administered in Canada by Golf Canada. We offer workshops, publications and on-the-job training to volunteers who are interested in assisting with tournaments and events around British Columbia.

Any questions on Rules or Handicap? Email doug@britishcolumbiagolf.org 

Any Questions on Course Ratings? Email kojo@britishcolumbiagolf.org 

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World Handicap System

The World Handicap System is being implemented starting in January of 2020. You can click HERE for details on the WHS and how it has come about. Also, below are the components of the WHS along with accompanying videos to help explain how it will work. 

5 Things You Need to Know

1. Your Handicap Index may change.

But that’s okay! Finally, players around the world will have an apples-to-apples handicap. Your new Handicap Index will be more responsive to good scores by averaging your eight best scores out of your most recent 20 (currently, it’s 10 out of 20 with a .96 multiplier). In short, your Handicap Index will be determined by your demonstrated ability and consistency of scores. In most cases for golfers in Canada and the U.S., it will change less than one stroke.

2. You need to know your Course Handicap.

In the new system, your Course Handicap will be the number of strokes needed to play to par. This will result in greater variance in that number and presents a change, as historically it has represented the number of strokes needed to play to the Course Rating. This is a good thing, as par is an easy number to remember. Target score for the day? Par plus Course Handicap. The Course Rating will now be inherent within the calculation to be more intuitive and account for competing from different tees.

3. Net Double Bogey.

The maximum hole score for each player will be limited to a Net Double Bogey. This adjustment is more consistent from hole to hole than the Equitable Stroke Control procedure. Net Double Bogey is already used in many other parts of the world and the calculation is simple: Par + 2 + any handicap strokes you receive.

4. Your Handicap Index will be revised daily.

One way that handicapping is being modernized is a player’s Handicap Index will update daily (which will provide a fairer indication of a player’s ability in the moment), if the player submitted a score the day before. On days where the player does not submit a score, no update will take place.

5. Safeguards in the new system.

The new system will limit extreme upward movement of a Handicap Index, automatically and immediately reduce a Handicap Index when an exceptional score of at least 7 strokes better is posted, and account for abnormal course or weather conditions to ensure that scores reflect when a course plays significantly different than its established Course Rating and Slope Rating.

Table of Contents

1. Basis of Calculation of Handicap Index
2. Frequency of Revisions
3. Handicap Formula
4. Course Handicap Calculation
5. Playing Handicap
6. Net Double Bogey
7. Maximum Handicap Index
8. Minimum Scores to Obtain a Handicap Index
9. Acceptable Scores
10. Treatment of Nine-Hole Scores
11. Playing Conditions Calculation
12. Exceptional Score Reduction
13. Handicap Index Caps
14. Handicap Review
15. Course Rating System
16. Certification Resources
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1. Basis of Calculation of Handicap Index
The 8 best of most recent 20 score differentials, which includes a Playing Conditions Calculation to account for any abnormal course or weather conditions.

PDF DOWNLOAD(S)
Change Summary

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2. Frequency of Revisions
A player’s Handicap Index will update daily, provided the player submitted a score the day before. Otherwise, no update will take place.

PDF DOWNLOAD(S)
Change Summary
Poster

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3. Handicap Formula
A general overview of the philosophy of and elements contributing to the Handicap Formula.

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4. Course Handicap Calculation
Determining the number of strokes a player receives in relation the Par of the tees being played, including a Course Rating minus Par element. This is the number that is used to determine the maximum holes score for handicap purposes.

PDF DOWNLOAD(S)
Change Summary

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5. Playing Handicap
The handicap used that maximizes equity when competing by applying a handicap allowance for a specific format.

PDF DOWNLOAD(S)
Poster
Change Summary

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6. Net Double Bogey
The maximum hole score for handicap purposes. This maximum is double bogey plus any handicap strokes a player receives based on their Course Handicap.

PDF DOWNLOAD(S)
Poster
Change Summary

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7. Maximum Handicap Index
The maximum Handicap Index for all golfers is 54.0, regardless of gender.

PDF DOWNLOAD(S)
Poster
Change Summary

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8. Minimum Scores to Obtain a Handicap Index
The minimum is 54 holes worth of scores, most often via three 18-hole scores (including nine-hole scores that are combined into 18-hole scores).

PDF DOWNLOAD(S)
Change Summary

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9. Acceptable Scores
Determining which scores are acceptable for handicap purposes, focusing on playing by the Rules of Golf and playing one’s own ball.

PDF DOWNLOAD(S)
Poster #1
Poster #2

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10. Treatment of Nine-Hole Scores
Nine-holes scores are combined in the order that they are submitted and then used to produce an 18-hole Score Differential.

PDF DOWNLOAD(S)
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11. Playing Conditions Calculation
When abnormal course or weather conditions cause scores to be unusually high or low on a given day, a “Playing Conditions Calculation” will adjust Score Differentials to better reflect a player’s actual performance.

PDF DOWNLOAD(S)
Poster
Change Summary

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12. Exceptional Score Reduction
A score that produces a Score Differential of 7.0 strokes or more below the Handicap Index will result in an Exceptional Score Reduction that changes the Handicap Index. This reduction is in addition to the normal 8 of 20 calculation and depends on how much better the Score Differential is in comparison to the Handicap Index used during the round.

PDF DOWNLOAD(S)
Poster
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13. Handicap Index Caps
A Soft Cap and Hard Cap will be included in the calculation to limit the extreme upward movement of a Handicap Index within a 12-month period. These caps are in relation to the player’s “Low Handicap Index.”

PDF DOWNLOAD(S)
Poster
Change Summary

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14. Handicap Review
An audit-like procedure by a Handicap Committee reviewing the Handicap Index of member(s) of a club to assure that the Handicap Index is reflective of demonstrated ability and scoring potential.

PDF DOWNLOAD(S)
Poster

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15. Course Rating System
The basis for the World Handicap System. It is also an indication of the difficulty of a golf course for the scratch player under normal course and weather conditions.

PDF DOWNLOAD(S)
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16. Certification Resources
Golf Clubs are required to complete a certification process in order to use the World Handicap System. Participation in a certification seminar and passing a test exhibiting knowledge about the World Handicap System is required.

LINKS
SCGA WHS Presentation
Certification Quiz
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