The R&A - Working for Golf

The WHS in Great Britain & Ireland: Explaining Key Areas

Why Does My Handicap Index Increase After Submitting a Good Score, and Vice- Versa?

Understanding the 20 Score Record

What happens if I don’t have 20 scores on my scoring record?

  • Under the WHS, you can obtain a Handicap Index once you have submitted scores from 54 holes
  • Each score is converted into a Score Differential, which takes into account the difficulty of the course played, and your initial Handicap Index will be the lowest Score Differential, minus 2
  • The ‘minus 2’ adjustment errs on the side of caution, as there is not much evidence upon which to base the calculation and determine your true ability
  • This is an important safeguard which protects the rest of the field
  • Until there are 20 Score Differentials in the record, the calculations are based on a sliding scale, with additional adjustments when the number available is less than 7

Number ofScore

Differentialsinscoring record

Score Differential(s)to be used in calculation ofHandicap Index

Adjustment

3

Lowest 1

-2.0

4

Lowest 1

-1.0

5

Lowest 1

0

6

Average of lowest 2

-1.0

7 or 8

Average of lowest 2

0

9 to 11

Average of lowest 3

0

12 to 14

Average of lowest 4

0

15 or 16

Average of lowest 5

0

17 or 18

Average of lowest 6

0

19

Average of lowest 7

0

20

Average of lowest 8

0

How is my Handicap Index calculated when I have 20 scores on my record?

  • Each new acceptable score that you submit replaces the 20th oldest score, to create a new ‘most recent’ 20 score record
  • Your previous 20th oldest Score Differential drops to 21st position and is no longer included in your next Handicap Index calculation
  • This continues on a 20-score rolling cycle, with new scores added continually replacing your older scores
  • The average of the best 8 Score Differentials from your ‘most recent’ 20 scores is recalculated after each new acceptable score submitted

 

Why does my Handicap Index increase after submitting a good score, and vice-versa?

  • Each new acceptable score that you submit replaces the 20th oldest score and creates a new Score Differential
  • If a good 20th Score Differential is replaced within your best 8 Score Differentials with a good, but higher, Score Differential your updated Handicap Index could potentially increase 

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  • If a poor 20th Score Differential is replaced within your best 8 Score Differentials with a poor, but lower, Score Differential your updated Handicap Index could potentially decrease 

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