The World Golf Handicap

Beginning in 2020, that is, now, a new handicapping system has been installed worldwide. The intent was to bring six separate systems into one. It follows in great part the USGA system, but there are some new wrinkles.

In no particular order of importance, the major changes are:

– the best eight of your last twenty scores will be used to calculate your handicap, not the best ten as before.

– equitable stoke control had been replaced by Net Bogey: par + 2 + strokes allowed for the hole is the maximum hole score you can post for handicap purposes.

– handicaps will be recalculated daily instead of every two weeks.

– scores for a day’s round can be adjusted for temporary playing conditions, such as rain, wind, hole locations, and height of rough.

There is more, but it gets arcane pretty fast, and is of use only to the people who maintain handicaps at your club. The handicap guys at my men’s club attended a detailed workshop to learn what to do.

This web site gives you a good overview of the new system in the form of short, less than 1½ -minute-long videos. Please do watch them, but with the sound turned down. There is no narration, just music that gets annoying after a while.

Dean Knuth, the architect of the now defunct USGA Handicap system, wrote an article in Golfworld regarding his thoughts on the new system. There are some bugs that need to be worked out, and he should know.

All that said, long-term readers are well aware of my opinion of establishing a handicap. It is necessary if you compete in any fashion, but if you play only recreational golf, please don’t bother with any of this.

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