The R&A - Working for Golf

WHS Timeline

Pathway to a World Handicap System

This announcement, revealing some of the key features of the proposed World Handicap System, comes after nearly 7 years of work to bring six different handicap systems together into a single, unified set of handicapping Rules to enhance the enjoyment of all golfers, all over the world. A two-year transition period will now commence, leading to launch of the new system in 2020.

This announcement, revealing some of the key features of the proposed World Handicap System, comes after nearly 7 years of work.
This announcement, revealing some of the key features of the proposed World Handicap System, comes after nearly 7 years of work.

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Looking Back

Since the very beginning of this project, The R&A and the USGA have been committed to involving each of the existing handicap authorities and other National Associations, to ensure that the system accommodates the different golfing cultures currently in place around the world. The Committee structure that has been developed to support the work has representation from as many as 15 different nationalities, making this truly an international effort.

Knowing that the principle of a WHS and the proposed key features have the support of these bodies is vital to its success come launch.

It has also been very important for us to test out our ideas with golfers and golf administrators, to ensure that they are supportive of the proposed direction. During the Summer of 2017, quantitative research was conducted in 15 countries around the world where 76 percent of the 52,000 respondents voiced their support for a World Handicap System. This was followed by a series of focus groups, in which more than 300 golf administrators and golfers from different regions around the world offered extensive feedback on the key features of the proposed new system.

The next 12 months

Over the course of 2018, we will be busy preparing all of the various WHS materials and resources needed to launch the new Rules.

We will also continue to reveal more details of some of the features included in the new system, as well as carry out some additional testing and validation work – to ensure that everything operates as we expect. Some finetuning may be required as a result of this work.

Looking Forward

By the beginning of 2019, we will be looking to roll out the WHS materials and start an extensive programme of education. The system will continue to be tested right up until it is launched in 2020.