Golf welcomes new world handicapping system

Bernie McGuire

The way golfers around the world will calculate their handicaps is set to be transformed by a new system developed by The R&A and the USGA, with key features designed to provide all golfers with a consistent measure of playing ability.

The new World Handicap System, to be implemented in 2020, follows an extensive review of systems administered by six existing handicapping authorities: Golf Australia, the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) in Great Britain and Ireland, the European Golf Association (EGA), the South African Golf Association (SAGA), the Argentine Golf Association (AAG) and the USGA.

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “We are working with our partners and national associations to make golf more modern, more accessible and more enjoyable as a sport and the new World Handicap System represents a huge opportunity in this regard.

“We want to make it more attractive to golfers to obtain a handicap and strip away some of the complexity and variation which can be off-putting for newcomers.”

On the news, Pat Finn of the GUI commented: “We welcome the announcement today in relation to the World Handicap System and we look forward to engaging and consulting with our affiliated golf clubs prior to adoption.”

Sinead Heraty of the ILGU also offered her support of the announcement: “A standard system of handicapping worldwide is a welcome development for the sport.  The new system will make it easier to obtain and retain a handicap and will be easier to understand for all golfers.”

“The introduction of flexible formats to count for handicap purposes will also ensure that the game continues to become more inclusive and recognises more modern formats of the game which in turn will encourage more players into club membership.”

To provide feedback on the new World Handicap System or for more information, visit

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