This month, we are taking a closer look at how your Handicap Index is calculated.
The World Handicap System (WHS) has three main objectives:
To encourage as many golfers as possible to obtain and maintain a Handicap Index (HI).
To enable golfers of different abilities, genders, and nationalities to take their HI to any course in the world and compete on a fair basis.
To provide an accurate indication of the score a golfer is reasonably capable of achieving on any course worldwide under normal conditions.
What is a Handicap Index?
Simply put, a Handicap Index (HI) is a number that represents your proven potential as a golfer and indicates your ability.
To obtain a World Handicap Index, a player needs to be a member of a Golf Club affiliated with their National Association, which is licensed by the World Handicap System run by the R&A and the USGA.
The player must then play at least three 18-hole rounds and thereafter record their adjusted gross score. The score can be entered either on the HNA app, via the HNA terminal at each club, or on the HNA website at www.handicaps.co.za.
There is a table in the Handicap Rules, available on the HNA website, that details how many scores are used for golfers who have recorded fewer than 20 scores. However, for most golfers, the Handicap Index is calculated using the average of the players’ best eight differentials from their last 20 scores.
Now, let’s take a look at how differentials are calculated.
When you go to play at a course, you use your Handicap Index to determine your Course Handicap. For an 18-hole round, the formula for calculating Course Handicap is as follows:
Course Handicap = HI x Slope/113 + (Course Rating – Par)
For example, if a player with an 18 HI plays a course with a Slope of 123, a Par of 72, and a Course Rating of 71, the Course Handicap would be 18 x 123/113 + (71 – 72) = 18.5. This is then rounded upwards to 19 (18.4 would be rounded downwards).
If the aforementioned player records an adjusted gross score of 93 with no Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC) adjustment for the day, the differential to be recorded in their scoring records would be:
Score Differential = 113/Slope Rating x (Adjusted Gross Score – Course Rating – PCC)
Using the example above, the Score Differential would be 113/123 x (93 – 71 – 0) = 20.2, which would be reflected in the player’s scoring record in the system.
The Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC) adjustment ranges from -1.0 to +3.0, depending on the scores entered by the players for the day.
The calculations mentioned above are for an 18-hole round. For a 9-hole round, the calculation for the Course Handicap is similar but uses the 9-hole Course- and Par Rating. The 9-hole score is then converted to an 18-hole gross score by adding the Par, handicap strokes, and an additional stroke for the second nine.
The explanation provided is a broad overview, and we strongly suggest that golfers review the WHS Rules of Handicapping, which can be viewed on the HNA website at www.handicaps.co.za under Handicaps Info.
‘If you think it’s hard to meet new people, try picking up the wrong golf ball.’— Jack Lemmon
The Handicaps Team