World Handicap System

The World Handicap System arrives in Ireland on 2nd November 2020.

Golf Ireland, the GUI and ILGU have confirmed that the World Handicap System (WHS) will come into effect in Ireland from 2nd November, replacing the current Unified Handicapping System (CONGU).
The implementation of the World Handicap System represents the biggest changes to our handicap system in over 30 years.
A wealth of explanatory resources can be accessed at and all members are encouraged to familiarise themselves thoroughly with the detail of the new system.
From time to time we will update these pages with explanatory material provided by Golf Ireland that may help to answer frequently asked questions.

Understanding your Handicap Index, your Course Handicap and your Playing Handicap

• You will have a Handicap Index instead of an exact Handicap – this will be expressed to one decimal place and be valid worldwide.
• You will have a Course Handicap according to the tees being used at the golf course. You must write this Course Handicap on the scorecard. A look-up table, located near the first tee, will help you with this.
• Neither of these, however, is necessarily the handicap you play-off.
• Your Playing Handicap (Strokes Received) is dependent on the format of play – a look-up table, located near the first tee, will indicate a Handicap Allowance applicable to that format of play.
Course Handicap = Handicap Index x (Slope Rating / 113)
Playing Handicap = Course Handicap x Allowance

What about Skerries Golf Club?

The Slope Ratings for our White, Yellow and Red courses are 132, 130 and 128 respectively.

Skerries Golf Club Course Rating and Slope Database

Your exact Handicap Index

  • It is an averaging calculation based on the best 8 out of your last 20 scores.
  • You will no longer receive 0.1 increases and handicap categories or buffer zones will no longer apply.
  • Handicap Indexes will be recalculated at the end of each day (no longer at close of competition)

Here is an example of a player playing off an exact Handicap Index of 13.5:

  • My exact Handicap Index is 13.5; I am playing in Skerries off the yellow tees, which have a Slope Rating of 130; I am playing in a Singles Stableford format competition (allowance 95%).
  • My Course Handicap becomes 16 ie. 13.5 x (130/113) = 15.53, which is rounded to 16. I enter this on the scorecard in the space provided.
  • My Playing Handicap for the purpose of calculating my score is 16 x 0.95 = 15.20. So I play off 15.
  • Do not worry about doing the above calculations, the competition entry software will do it for you and a look-up table will be available for additional help

I played well and scored 38 stableford points, including no score on 14 after going out of bounds.

My Adjusted Gross Score was 86 strokes – the system automatically entered 8 strokes for the 14th, equivalent to a net double bogey.
The Course Rating off the yellow tees is 72.2
The Playing Conditions Calculation adjustment (PCC), at the end of the day, was reckoned by the system to be plus 2 strokes – reflecting the difficulties experienced by all who returned scores from those tees that day – thick rough and awful weather.

The system first calculates an initial differential, namely Adjusted Gross Score minus Course Rating minus PCC adjustment, 86 – 72.2 – 2 = 11.80
This is then ‘scaled’ based on the Slope Rating to give my Score Differential (113/130) * 11.80 = 10.26, rounded to 10.3
[The full formula:  Score Differential = (113/Slope Rating) x (adjusted gross score – Course Rating – PCC adjustment)]

As it happens, my previous eight best Score Differentials were 9.4, 12.4, 13.1, 14.0, 14.1, 14.6, 15.1, 15.5. The average of these being 13.5.
My new best eight will now be 9.4, 10.3, 12.4, 13.1, 14.0, 14.1, 14.6, 15.1 with an average of 12.9. So my new Handicap Index became 12.9 as of midnight on that day.

All these calculations were done behind the scenes and I would have received an update alert informing me of my new Handicap Index.
Notice too that SSS, CSS, Buffer Zones, Handicap Categories and 0.1 increases have all been done away with!

Notable Changes

Handicap Index has replaced Exact Handicap
Course Handicap is new and is based on the Slope Rating
Playing Handicap has replaced Strokes Allowed
Course Rating has replaced SSS (Standard Scratch Score)
Playing Conditions Calculation has replaced the need for CSS (Competition Scratch Score)

Intrigued?  Confused?  Want to find out more? Visit

You can listen to a podcast which has been prepared by the GUI and ILGU here –

Curious about other golf courses around the world?

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