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FAQs - World Handicapping
1. When is the World Handicapping System going into effect?
In the United States, the Would Handicap System began on January 1, 2020.
2. Will the changeover be seamless?
While the rules will change on day 1, the GHIN-2020 software that is used to administer the World Handicapping System will take some time to transition. Currently, we anticipate a GHIN shutdown of approximately 5 days while the data is transitioned and tested. The first day to use the new GHIN-2020 software is scheduled for January 6, 2020. During this shutdown time, players are requested to hold onto their scorecards and then post the scores when the GHIN system is back up and running. Remember: when you post the held scores, they will be subject to the new World Handicapping rules.
3. What are the major changes that will affect me?
There are 10 major changes that will have an effect on your use of the handicap system. Please click here to read about these changes...
4. How do I learn about the World Handicapping System?
5. Does the CGA have materials I can use to learn about WHS?
Yes, there are manuals, fact sheets, videos, and posters that you can use to learn about as well as teach WHS principles.
6. Will my Handicap Index change drastically when we switch to World Handicapping?
Under the World Handicapping System, your Handicap Index will be computed using the best 8 of your most recent 20 score differentials. The old system averaged 10 of your most recent 20 differentials and then used 96% of that value as your index. Even though the calculation model for computing your Handicap Index is new, your Handicap Index under the rules of WHS should not change significantly. It is anticipated that most golfers' indexes will not change by more than +/- 0.3. My own index will change by just +0.2.
If you would like to see what your Handicap Index would be using your current scoring record, please copy and paste the following link into your browser. You will need to substitute your GHIN number for the XXXXXXX in the link:
Keep in mind, your new WHS Handicap index will be based on your most recent 20 scores at the time of transition which could vary significantly from what you might see today using the estimating tool above.
7. Will I have to get a new GHIN number?
No, you will keep using the GHIN number you have always used. Your GHIN number and your previous posted scores will all be preserved. However, the history of your Handicap Index for previous revision periods will no longer be available.
8. Will I really be able to use my handicap index and post scores when I play outside of the United States?
If you travel and play golf within the jurisdiction of any of the national golf associations authorized by the World Handicapping System, your Handicap Index can be used to calculate your Course Handicap on any officially rated course. Six National Golf Associations have come together to form the World Handicapping System. They are:
Note: Some of the world associations will not fully implement the World Handicapping System until later in 2020 or perhaps as late as 2021. Please consult the foreign club or association to determined if they have implemented WHS.
9. I play my home course quite regularly. Will my Course Handicap change as a result of World Handicapping?
Even though your Handicap Index will not change significantly, you will find your Course Handicap (the strokes you receive on a rated course) could change by a significant amount. Under the old handicap system, your Course Handicap was computed such that, if you played close to your handicap, your net score would equal the course rating for the tees you played. The new rules compute the Course Handicap so your net score should equal par (which is what everyone thought the old system did anyway). Since the majority of the tees have rating values less than par, this means your Course Handicap under the new system will likely be reduced. Not to worry though, everyone else's Course Handicap on those same tees will be adjusted the same amount as yours. Need an example?
10. What is the Playing Conditions Calculation and who determines if this adjustment is needed?
When abnormal course or weather conditions cause scores to be unusually high or low on a given day, a Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC) will adjust score differentials to better reflect a player's actual performance. There is no one person that determines if conditions were abnormal. The PCC is an automatic computation procedure that compares scores submitted on the course and day in question against expected scoring patterns. If there is a significant variance, an adjustment will be applied to scores posted for that day. The PCC is conservative in nature and will be applied in whole number adjustments ranging from a plus (+)1 to a minus (-)3. You should not expect to see many PCC adjustments to your scoring record over the course of a year.
11. I understand there will be daily handicap revisions. What does that mean for me?
There will no longer be specified revision dates like in the past (i.e. the 1st and 15th of every month). Every time you submit a new score to the handicap system, a new Handicap Index will be calculated that night at midnight and you will have a new Handicap Index as of the following day. This means it is very important for you to post your scores as soon as possible on the day of play (and before midnight) in order for a new Handicap index to be properly calculated for the next day. Golfers who habitually post scores later than the same day will be subject to review by their handicap committees and possible disciplinary action.
You will be able to check your Handicap Index at any time using any one of the three GHIN software applications: a) the clubhouse posting kiosk; b) the GHIN mobile app; or c) a desktop computer dashboard (www.ghin.com). Which Handicap Index will be used in organized competitions at your club or by the association will be determined by the Committee in Charge of the event. Please consult your club for more information about their Handicap Indexes timing policy.
12. Can you explain the Soft and Hard Cap in a simple manner?
I'll try - By design, the WHS wants to limit the upward movement of a player's handicap relative to their 12-month Low Handicap Index (LHI). So, the system will let an index increase by 3.0 with no adjustment or cap. Once the HI starts to go beyond an increase of 3.0, a player's index will only be allowed to increase 3.0 plus one-half of the amount over 3.0. This slow-down factor will restrict their Handicap Index from rising too fast. The slow-down factor stays in effect until the Handicap Index calculation surpasses 5.0 over the player's LHI. At this point the Hard Cap limit applies and their index will be limited to just 5.0 higher than their LHI and never rise higher than 5.0 over their LHI.
Keep in mind, a Handicap Committee has the power to review every club member's Handicap Index to determine if their index is a fair representation of their golfing ability. This means if a golfer has suffered a temporary injury or medical problem or perhaps suffers from a disability, the committee can be petitioned to review the golfer's record and modify that player's Handicap Index as necessary. Most modifications are temporary and are removed once the golfer has accumulated enough scores while incapacitated to fairly reflect their ongoing ability.
13. I play nine holes on a regular basis. Will I still be able to post my scores?
The simple answer is yes! However, there are some things you should be aware of.
14. Will I still receive a Handicap Index Revision email update?
If your email address is on file in your GHIN record, you will receive from the CGA a Handicap Index Newsletter on the 1st and 15th of every month. It is no longer referred to as a Revision Update since Handicap Index revisions take place daily. The newsletter will show your Handicap Index as of the newsletter date as well as keep you informed of additional CGA news and member benefits. In future months the newsletter will be inhanced to include more of your scoring statistics and historical data. In the meantime, check with your club to be sure your current email address is included in your GHIN record.
15. Can I share an email address with my spouse or children?
The simple answer is no. Under the new rules of handicapping and the improved GHIN-2020 software, every member must have an independent email address. This means a husband and wife must have separate email addresses to access the mobile app and desktop dashboard products. Parents and children who are both members of the GHIN Handicap system must not share the same email address. In order to avoid confusion during the transition to WHS and GHIN-2020, please be sure your email address is correct in the GHIN system and IS NOT SHARED by any other member. All shared email addresses will be deleted during the transition to the new GHIN-2020 software.
To set up your correct email address, please check with your club's professional staff or you can submit your correct email address by using this online email address form.