Course Handicap Calculation and Application
Prior to 2020, a Course Handicap represented the number of strokes a player received in relation to the Course Rating of the tees being played. The formula was:
Course Handicap = Handicap Index x (Slope Rating / 113)
With the new World Handicap System, a Course Handicap will represent the number of strokes a player receives in relation to the “Par” of the tees being played. The formula will include a Course Rating minus Par adjustment:
Course Handicap = Handicap Index × (Slope Rating/113) + (Course Rating – Par)
- Starting 2020, Course Handicap values will change more from tee to tee, as they will represent the number of strokes to play to Par.
- Par is a term that resonates with golfers, so setting Par as the benchmark for a Course Handicap adds simplicity to handicapping.
- Players will be able to determine their Target Scores (the score they’ll shoot if they play to their handicap) by simply adding their Course Handicap + Par.
- A score of Net Par will be used for holes not played, and the maximum hole score for handicap purposes will be a Net Double Bogey. Having a Course Handicap that is relative to Par will ensure that the correct number of strokes are received and applied for both procedures.
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Playing Handicap Calculation and Application
Prior to 2020, when a player’s Course Handicap was adjusted based on the application of a Handicap Allowance or other term(s) of a competition, the resulting value was not defined and was still referred to as a Course Handicap.
With the World Handicap System, the term “Playing Handicap” will be used within the Rules of Handicapping and will represent the number of strokes a player receives in a competition. The following formula will be used to determine a Playing Handicap:
Playing Handicap = Course Handicap x Handicap Allowance
In addition, if players are competing from tees with different Pars, then the player(s) competing from the tees with the higher Par will receive an additional stroke(s) based on the difference.
By introducing the term Playing Handicap, there will be a clear distinction between two key Rules of Handicapping definitions, where both serve specific purposes:
- A Course Handicap will be used to adjust individual hole scores (Net Double Bogey and Net Par procedures).
- Playing Handicaps will be used for net competition purposes – including determining the results and winner(s).
- Under the previous system, confusion existed because there was only one defined term that often represented two different values.
- For example – A player with a Course Handicap of 21 participating in a four-ball stroke play competition using the recommended Handicap Allowance of 85% will receive 18 strokes during the round. In 2020, the 18 strokes received will be their Playing Handicap.
- The defined term Playing Handicap will be intuitive and ensure that both terms are applied properly.
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