last updated:  01/15/20  |  Total Club Page Views:407,106
 To all ECGC Members:

Here are some items of information regarding the change-over that will occur on January 1, 2020, when we change from the USGA handicap system to the World Handicap System (“WHS”).  I and the rest of the members of the Handicap Committee (Willie Weddle, Lonnie Holcomb and Marv Good) are all now WHS certified, and any of us can answer any questions you may have.  There is a ton of very technical information about formulas that will be used to calculate handicaps, but following are some of the main things to be aware of:

1.         The most significant change for club members is that WHS completely changes the way you post your scores.  The previous system of “Equitable Stroke Control” (“ESC”) was just to allow posting of a maximum score on any hole, depending on what your Index is, regardless of whether the hole is a par 3, 4, or 5.   Generally, under the old system, the most you could post on any hole, regardless of whether it is a par 3, 4 or 5, was either 7 or 8, depending on your Index. Under the new WHS system, you are required to post ESC scores for each hole that are either the actual score, or no more than “net double bogey”.  The formula for “net double bogey” for your score on a particular hole is: par + 2 + any strokes allowed by your Course Handicap. The formula for Course Handicap is: (Handicap Index X (Slope Rating/113) + Course Rating – (minus) Par.)  Other than your own personal Handicap Index, the rest of the information for this calculation will be on your scorecard (at least, it is all on ECGC’s scorecards, hopefully on scorecards of all other courses too but I’m not totally sure of that).  But as explained immediately below, you probably will not be required to actually perform this calculation because most courses with have charts in the pro shop that will do it for you.

Many courses will help you calculate your course handicap by having charts or tables available in the pro shop that will show your course handicap based on what your Index is. Revised course rating tables will be available in most pro shops, generally adjacent to the scoring computer, as currently in our pro shop, where you can continue to find your course handicap for any tee you play by finding your current index and reading the corresponding course handicap next to this value. You can also continue to use your GHIN app to find your course handicap after January 6th 2020.

So as an example, if there was no chart available in the pro shop, and you had to calculate your course handicap on your own, a man playing the Blue Tees for 18 holes at Eaton Canyon with a Handicap Index of 14, according to the information on the current Eaton Canyon Golf Course scorecard, would calculate his course handicap as follows: 14 X (113/113) + 66.8 – 70 = 10.8, rounded to the nearest whole number = 11.  Therefore such a person could only post a maximum score of double bogey plus 1 more stroke on the first 11 hardest handicapped holes as shown on the ECGC scorecard, which would be Holes 1, 10, 9, 18, 2, 11, 7, 16, 5, 14, and 6.  On any other holes, using this example, the most the player could post is double bogey.

2.         WHS will be a world-wide system.  Presently, USGA handicaps only work in the USA, but not if you go to another country.  Once WHS is in effect, your handicap will be acceptable for play on any course in the world.

3.         WHS handicap indexes will be computed in real time, instead of twice a month as they are now under the USGA system.  So, once you post any score, under the WHS system, the computer will calculate your new handicap index and your new index will be available to view the following day.

4.         The maximum handicap index will change from 36.4 for men and 40.4 for women to 54.0 for everybody.

5.         The number of holes that must be played to be able to post an acceptable score for an 18-hole round will change from 13 to 14. There will be no change for the number of holes that must be played to post a score for a 9-hole round, which will remain at 7.  There is a formula for the score to give yourself for holes not played, which is par plus any handicap strokes you are given on that hole.

6.         Your WHS handicap will immediately change on January 1, 2020, to your existing Low Index under the prior system, and eventually will be based on the best 8 of your most recent 20 scores going forward.  However, there will be a “blackout” period of January 1 to January 6, 2020 for SCGA to adjust its computers to the new system, so if you play during that period, save your scores and post them on January 7, 2020.

I am attaching a handout we were given when we recently attended the class that enabled us to become WHS certified.  This handout explains some of the major changes that will occur when WHS takes effect on January 1, 2020. It also provides a good example of how to post your score.

Although there are many technical changes in how your handicap index will be calculated under the new WHS system, all of those calculations will be made by the SCGA computer system upon posting of your score.  SCGA will still be our sponsoring association and will be in charge of giving us access to an on-line site to post our scores, just as we do now, but their system will use the WHS method of calculating your handicap index.

            So the bottom line is that you just need to accurately post all appropriate playing scores, and the SCGA computer system with take care of the rest of the process of calculating your handicap index. It will remain true that the more scores you have posted, the more accurate your handicap index will be.  One of our problems is that members who do not play much or post many scores do not have a very reliable basis for their handicap index, which detracts from fairness of competition in handicapped tournaments.  Of course, the entire handicap system requires all members to try their best on every single stroke, and try for the best possible score, every time they play, and to be honest and accurate in the number of strokes posted, including the ESC score-posting rules described above.  Players who do not honor this requirement are not qualified for competition in club tournaments.  The purpose of the handicap system is to level the playing field so that all golfers can compete fairly with each other and have an equal chance in the competition.

            The SCGA has a good website (see link below) that explains, in more detail than this Memo, the changes that will be coming with adoption of the WHS system. Following is an excerpt from that website, which is:

5 Things You Need to Know

1. Your Handicap Index may change.

But that’s okay! Finally, players around the world will have an apples-to-apples handicap. Your new Handicap Index will be more responsive to good scores by averaging your eight best scores out of your most recent 20 (currently, it’s 10 out of 20 with a .96 multiplier). In short, your Handicap Index will be determined by your demonstrated ability and consistency of scores. In most cases for golfers in the U.S., it will change less than one stroke.

2. You need to know your Course Handicap.

In the new system, your Course Handicap will be the number of strokes needed to play to par. This will result in greater variance in that number and presents a change, as historically it has represented the number of strokes needed to play to the Course Rating. This is a good thing, as par is an easy number to remember. Target score for the day? Par plus Course Handicap. The Course Rating will now be inherent within the calculation to be more intuitive and account for competing from different tees.

3. Net Double Bogey.

The maximum hole score for each player will be limited to a Net Double Bogey. This adjustment is more consistent from hole to hole than the Equitable Stroke Control procedure. Net Double Bogey is already used in many other parts of the world and the calculation is simple: Par + 2 + any handicap strokes you receive.

4. Your Handicap Index will be revised daily.

One way that handicapping is being modernized is a player’s Handicap Index will update daily (which will provide a fairer indication of a player’s ability in the moment), if the player submitted a score the day before. On days where the player does not submit a score, no update will take place.

5. Safeguards in the new system.

The new system will limit extreme upward movement of a Handicap Index, automatically and immediately reduce a Handicap Index when an exceptional score of at least 7 strokes better is posted, and account for abnormal course or weather conditions to ensure that scores reflect when a course plays significantly different than its established Course Rating and Slope Rating.


      If you have questions about the upcoming change-over to the WHS system, please feel free to contact me or any of the other members of the ECGC Handicap Committee, Willie Weddle, Marv Good, and Lonnie Holcomb.  Play well, and just as importantly, post well! 
Bill Larr

Current ECGC Handicap Chairman (Willie Weddle takes over for me on January 1, 2020).,

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