World Handicap System Officially Launches
January 1, 2020 | LIBERTY CORNER, N.J.
By Lee Rainwater, USGA
The USGA marks another extraordinary milestone in golf by being the first national association to launch the World Handicap System (WHS). In doing so, the U.S. joins countries on every continent in adopting the new Rules of Handicapping throughout 2020, connecting the golf community and promoting what makes our game great – a fair match, a welcoming spirit and camaraderie among friends.
A joint initiative between the USGA and The R&A, the WHS has been an eight-year effort to unite different systems around the world and provide a single measure for determining a golfer's ability. It enables golfers of different abilities to play and compete on a fair basis, in any format, on any course, anywhere in the world. Ultimately, the WHS aims to add enjoyment for all who play the game.
We could not have reached this point without the collaboration of national associations, golf clubs and golfers from around the world, as well as our Allied Golf Associations providing their feedback and support. Starting with the base of the USGA Handicap and Course Rating Systems, thousands of golf courses across the world are rated and millions of golfers are ready for their next round under the new system.
For the first time in the United States, every Handicap Index will now be computed through a centralized database to ensure consistency and integrity in every number. In anticipation of this change, golfers in the U.S. will not be able to post scores or access their Handicap Index between January 1-5, 2020, as we transition to the new technology. Starting on January 6, golfers will be able to post any scores they missed during this temporary down time, and any rounds played between January 1-5 will be used for handicapping purposes under the new World Handicap System.