World Handicap System

The World Handicap system became effective for all golfers in the United States on January 1, 2020.  Among other changes, this new system changed the method in which golfers’ scores are posted for the purpose of handicap calculation.  The old method (Equitable Stroke Control) established a maximum score which could be posted, based on course handicap, and did not take par into account.  The new method now takes par into consideration, as well as the number of handicap strokes a golfer receives on that hole.  The new maximum score per hole is termed net double bogey, and is defined as par, plus 2, plus any handicap strokes the golfer receives on that hole.  This means that the most a golfer can post for handicap purposes is par for that hole, plus 2 (double bogey) plus any handicap strokes a player receives based on their course handicap. 

To determine how many strokes a golfer receives on any hole, the card should be “dotted” prior to playing, using the course handicap shown on the posted listing for that day/tournament.  For example, if the golfer’s course handicap is 30, she would get 1 stroke on holes 1 through 18, and 12 additional strokes on the 12 hardest holes, which are shown on the scorecard in handicap order.  For the purpose of this example, let’s use Hole #14, a par 4, at Oak Hills.  This is the hardest hole for women, and thus is shown as #1 in handicap order on the card.  The 30-handicap golfer in this example would receive 2 handicap strokes on this hole.  Therefore, the maximum she can post on this hole is par (4) plus 2 (for double bogey) plus 2 handicap strokes, for a total of 8.

Handicaps in effect for all players will be as close as practical to the start of the tournament, unless specified otherwise in the tournament description. The handicap listing will be posted by the start of each tournament showing the course handicaps to be used for that tournament, and will remain the same for that tournament regardless of any subsequent changes to the handicap.

Scores should be posted as soon as possible following play.  Your score may be posted in total using the method shown above. However, if you are not comfortable with this, an easy way to do this is to enter your actual scores, hole by hole, into the computer at the course.  The computer program (GHIN) will automatically calculate the maximum allowable score for you, without you needing to do anything further.  If time does not permit posting your score at the course, you may enter it into GHIN at home or on your mobile phone, either by keeping an extra scorecard to take home, or by taking a picture of the card on your phone, and using that to post your score.  Handicaps will be updated in the system on a daily basis, so it is important to post your scores as soon as possible after completing play.

All scores for rounds played home and away must be entered in the computer for handicap purposes except designated tournaments. Posted scores may be checked on a random basis to ensure that all scores are being properly posted.  All OHWGA tournaments should be entered as “H” (home) in the computer.