A Pete Dye Golf Course

World Handicap System

The new World Handicap System (WHS) rolled out on January 1, 2020. Prior to 2020, there were 6 different handicapping systems across the world. The new handicap system creates one handicap system to be used worldwide. WHS is designed to provide consistent measure of ability across all skill levels, from anywhere in the world, to facilitate play with or compete against each other on a fair basis.


  • Handicap index is calculated on the average of the best 8 out of 20 scores posted, instead of the best 10 out of 20 with a multiplier.
  • Handicap index updates are daily. When you post a score, your index will be updated the following day.
  • Your Course Handicap will be the number of strokes needed for you to play to par, instead for you to play to the “Course Rating.” There is a formula to calculate your course handicap, but the easiest way is with the USGA Course Calculator.
  • ESC is replaced with Net Double Bogey (Par + 2 + your course handicap strokes). This will be the maximum number of strokes you can post on a hole.
  • Safeguards are built into the system to account for exceptionally high or low scores, as well as abnormal course or weather conditions. These safeguards will help maintain accuracy, integrity, and fairness.
  • If a player does not have a handicap index, she will now be able to obtain a handicap index after a total of 54 holes have been posted. This may be any combination of 9- or 18-hole scores.

Biggest change for you: Maximum number of strokes you can post on each hole!

How to Use Your Handicap Index, click here.

Additional resources:

For a brief video, click here for World Handicap System 2020 (series of short videos)

Click here for WHS Resources for Players

Click here for USGA Rules of Handicapping

Click here for WHS Simplified Change Summaries

Click here for World Handicap System