Handicap Changes are in the Wind for 2020

I just read this article from Online Academy of Golf. I had heard rumors about the “powers that be” in golf changing the handicap system so it would be easier for the amateur golfer to get a handicap. No longer rumor, this article outlines the basic shift in determining your golf handicap. Can’t stop progress!


Score CardThe current rules for obtaining and keeping a golf handicap will be changing in 2020…

…as the governing bodies attempt to make it easier for golfers to play using a handicap anywhere in the world.

As things stand, the way a handicap is worked out and maintained for a golfer is different in various regions of the world.  In the United Kingdom for example, a player must play 54 holes of golf to be considered for a handicap.

  • This can be played over three 18-holes of golf but can also include 9-hole rounds.
  • Each card must be signed by a member of the committee at the golf club, who will then use the information to work out the handicap.
  • Each of the scores will added together, such as 80, 77 and 84 and divided by 3 to give a total of 80.33.  This will be rounded down to 80.
  • The scratch score for the course will then be used to work out the handicap.  So, if the scratch score for the course is 70, this will be taken away from 80 to leave a handicap of 10 for the player.

Things are currently done a little differently in the United States where a player must play five rounds of golf to qualify for a USGA Handicap Index and the rounds must be played on a golf course with a valid USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating.

The slope rating allows players to adjust their handicap based on the difficulty of the golf course they are about to play and this is similar to the new World Handicap System which is going to be in place from the year 2020.

The World Handicap System has been created by the United States Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient to give golfers a handicap which will work throughout the world.  The idea is that it will allow golfers to play various courses in different countries and use their handicap easily to ensure a level playing field.Enter your content here.

It will do this by using scores from both competitive and recreational play and the USGA’s course and slope rating system will be in force.  The maximum handicap limit will be lifted to 54 and the idea is that will encourage more players to obtain a handicap and take an interest in their progress as a golfer.

Poor weather and course conditions will also be considered under the World Handicap System.  Therefore, an abnormally high score on a course where the weather conditions were awful will not severely damage a handicap as the conditions will be taken into consideration when calculating the handicap.

It will be interesting to see if the number of golfers obtaining their handicap and using it regularly with change following the implication of the World Handicap System in 2020.


Do you have a handicap? If not, it’s easy to get one. Check with the pro at your golf club, or check out this website: http://www.usga.org/handicapping/getting-a-usga-handicap-index.html

For more posts re: handicaps, why you should have one, what it can do for your game, do a search on golfgurls.com for the word “handicap” There are dozens of articles to help you.

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