Slope Rating

World Handicap System

Welcome to our World Handicap System page which has been put together to try and explain to our members the significant changes that have been implemented to how handicaps will be maintained.

The World Handicap System was introduced on the 2nd November 2020. It is designed to welcome more players to the game, make golf easier to understand and to give all golfers a handicap which is transferable to all golf courses across the globe.

Prior to the change last year, there were 6 different handicap systems used by over 15 million golfers in more than 80 countries. These systems were unified to give us the World Handicap System.

It has been developed by The R&A and The USGA, supported by the world’s handicapping authorities, including CONGU, which represents the four countries of Great Britain and Ireland.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to sign up for your England Golf account using the following link

To register, you will need to provide your Date of Birth, email address and your unique membership number (CDH ID).

This number can be found on your HowDidIDo profile or alternatively, you can contact me and I can get this for you. By signing up, you can get real time updates on your handicap index, see how your scores have affected your index and receive the England Golf newsletters directly to your inbox.

Terminology and Definitions

  • Course Rating – this is an indication of the difficulty of the course for the ‘scratch’ player under normal course and weather conditions.
  • Slope Rating – this is an indication of the difficulty of the course for a ‘bogey’ player under normal course and weather conditions. A bogey player is a player with a handicap index of approximately 20 for men and 24 for women.
  • Handicap Index – this is the measure of a players demonstrated ability and is calculated by taking an average of your best 8 scores from your last 20. Your Handicap Index can now be used at every golf course in the world to calculate your course handicap.
  • Course Handicap – the number of strokes a player receives before handicap allowances.
  • Playing Handicap – the number of strokes a player receives after handicap allowances.
  • Low Handicap Index – the lowest a players handicap index has been over the period of 365 days (1 year).
  • Soft Cap – if you hit a poor bit of form, your handicap index will increase. Once the increase between your low handicap index (explained above) and your current handicap index reaches 3.0 strokes, the rate of further increase is reduced by 50%.
  • Hard Cap – once the difference between your low handicap index and your current handicap index reaches 5.0 strokes, further increase is halted until a handicap review can be carried out at the end of the season.

So, what do I do before I play?

Firstly, you need to check your current handicap index. You can do this by either checking the Handicap Board in the locker room (up to date handicap index sheets will be pinned up before each competition) or check the My England Golf website/app.

Then you need to check the handicap allowance of the format you are playing. This will be communicated before each competition but you can use the table below as a guide:

Handicap Index

I now have my Handicap Index and I know the Handicap allowance of the competition I am playing in, what do I do next?

Now you need to find out your Course Handicap and then your Playing Handicap.

There is a Course Handicap look up chart to the right-hand side of the path leading up to the first tee or you can either use the Course Handicap calculator on the My England Golf website/app or check on the ClubV1 app.

However, for those who like a good calculation before they play, the course handicap and playing handicap can be calculated as follows

Course handicap = Handicap Index x (Slope Rating / 113)

Playing handicap = Course Handicap x Handicap Allowance

For example, for somebody with a Handicap Index of 15.5 who will play on a course with a slope rating of 125 in an individual Strokeplay competition (95% allowance):

15.5 x (125 / 113)
15.5 x 1.11 = 17.2 (rounded down to 17)
17 x 0.95
Playing Handicap (rounded to nearest whole number) = 16


What do I do when I finish playing?

As usual, scores should be checked with your playing partners and signed. You should then enter these through the terminal in the Clubhouse and place the cards in the scorecard box.

Below you can find some helpful links to several websites explaining the new changes but as always, I am available if you have any questions.

Jonny Hayman
Handicap Secretary 2021

World Handicap System Website:

R&A Website:

Todays Golfer – WHS Explained

Handicap Index