1.1) What is the World Handicap System (WHS) all about?
Golf already has a single set of playing Rules, a single set of equipment Rules and a single set of Rules of Amateur Status overseen by the USGA and The R&A. Yet, today there are six different handicap systems used around the world. Each is well developed and successfully provides equity for play locally, but each of the different systems produces slightly differing results. The WHS unifies the six systems into a single system that:
– enables golfers of different ability to play and compete on a fair and equitable basis, in any format, on any course, anywhere around the world;
– is easy to understand and implement, without sacrificing accuracy; and
– meets the varied needs and expectations of golfers, golf clubs and golf authorities all around the world, and is adaptable to suit all golfing cultures.
The WHS encompasses both the Rules of Handicapping and the Course Rating System (formerly the USGA Course Rating and Slope System).
1.2) What are the benefits of the World Handicap System?
As the world becomes a smaller place with a much greater frequency of international play (as demonstrated by golf returning to the Olympics in 2016), a single handicap system makes for easier administration of international events and allows National Associations to focus more on golf development and strategic planning to support the sport. It also provides the opportunity to evaluate de-personal golfing data to help monitor the health of the game.
1.3) Did you consult with golfers and golf club administrators about the formation of the World Handicap System?
Yes. We solicited the opinions of golfers and golf club administrators all around the world via an online survey, to which we received over 52,000 responses. We also conducted focus group sessions in five markets throughout Europe, the USA and South America. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive; for example, 76% surveyed were supportive, 22% undecided at that stage, and only 2% opposed.