February 1, 2020

Your handicap has changed

The World Handicap System is now in place and if you have an official Golf Australia handicap, it's almost certain it will have changed marginally.

The WHS was implemented on Thursday, 30 January, as part of a joint initiative of golf’s two international governing bodies, the R&A and the United States Golf Association.

These bodies have worked together with the world’s major handicapping authorities, including Golf Australia, to develop a single handicap system for the game.

The WHS involves less change for Australia than it does for any other country.

But while your handicapping experience will remain largely the same, you will see a few changes.

Here are the main ones:

A. NEW REGULATION

Bonus Reduction for Exceptional Net Score

There will be an automated extra reduction to your GA Handicap for any net score that is at least 7 strokes better than it (go to your handicap record on www.golf.org.au and compare your ‘Sloped Played To’ result for the round with what your GA Handicap was before that round was played).

B. NEW REGULATION

Soft Cap

In addition to the existing "Hard Cap" of five strokes, a "Soft Cap" has been introduced. The Soft Cap will take effect if your GA Handicap increases to three strokes above its best point for the previous 12 months. Once in the Soft Cap zone, your GA Handicap will only be allowed to increase by 50% of the calculated amount.

C. CHANGED REGULATION

Adjustment made to Daily Handicap if Scratch Rating is different to Par

Examples of the adjustment:

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If Scratch Rating 73 and Par 70; `3' is added to the Daily Handicap calculation (ie 73 - 70 = +3).

If Scratch Rating 68 and Par 70; `2' is subtracted from the Daily Handicap calculation (ie 68 - 70 = -2).

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This change was made to create key benefits for golfers and clubs.

Firstly, it simplifies handicapping by making 36 Stableford points (or net par) the universal measure of a golfer playing to their handicap, regardless of the tees or course.

Secondly, it makes mixed gender or multi-tee competitions simpler to run, enabling clubs to provide members with a more diverse range of playing options; this will also make it easier for clubs to ensure compliance with gender equality laws (www.golf.org.au/equality-guidelines).

D. CHANGED REGULATION

Transfer of 0.93 multiplier

The 0.93 multiplier has been transferred out of the GA Handicap calculation and into the Daily Handicap calculation. Our statisticians confirm this change had no overall impact on the handicaps players actually play off (ie Daily Handicaps).

This is because the slight increase it caused to GA Handicaps (by being removed from the GA Handicap formula), was exactly the same as the decrease it caused to Daily Handicaps (by being transferred into the Daily Handicap formula).

E. CHANGED REGULATION

Maximum GA Handicap under the WHS is 54.0 for both men and women

Many clubs will operate Daily Handicap limits lower than 54 (for example 36 for men and 45 for women for any/all competitions).

As a part of the transition to the WHS, your GA Handicap has now been recalculated.

For the vast majority of golfers, the only change that will have any effect on GA Handicaps is the shift in the position of the Multiplier (see change D), which will cause an increase of about 7%.

Click www.golf.org.au/whs for more information on the WHS.

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