Rules of Handicapping FAQs

World Handicap System (WHS) Background and Overview

Q. Has the World Handicap System impacted the way the game is played in the United States?

A. Prior to 2020, golfers were already playing to a unified set of Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status and Equipment Rules. Now, the WHS has been added to this list as part of the joint governance structure between the USGA and The R&A.

The cultural diversity that exists within the game, including different formats of play and degrees of competitiveness, is what makes the game so universally popular. Through collaboration with National Associations, the goal has been to try to accommodate those cultural differences within a single WHS. With that in mind, while the WHS has introduced a new Handicap Index calculation and other key changes for golfers in the U.S., it has not impacted the way the game is played. Golfers are simply expected to play the game, have fun, and post their scores while understanding the fundamentals of the Rules of Handicapping.