Rules/ Handicaps

WHS Changes 2024

There are 4 significant changes to the WHS system which will come into effect on 1st April. Although this information is to help you understand the changes, the underlying message is ‘let the technology take the strain’!

Course Rating Minus PAR (CR – Par)

A player’s Course Handicap will now be adjusted by the difference between the Course Rating and PAR. If the Course Rating is lower than PAR you will lose shots and vice versa. For Vicars Cross, the impact is:

Whites Minus 0.2
Yellows Minus 1.9

Reds Plus 0.4

The logic behind this change is that a player’s ‘target’ to play to their handicap is now PAR rather than Course Rating. The handicap board outside the Proshop will be replaced to incorporate this change.

Unrounded Course Handicap for Competitions

Your ‘unrounded’ Course Handicap will now be used to calculate your Playing Handicap for competitions. In the past, your Course Handicap from the calculation [Handicap Index x (Slope Rating/113)] was rounded to the nearest whole number before then applying the % allowance for the competition being played. This number was then rounded again to get your Playing Handicap. Now, the rounding at the first step will not take place.

The implication of this is that you cannot take your Course Handicap from the board outside the pro-shop and apply the competition allowance to work out your Playing Handicap as in many cases this will be wrong. As all competitions will be run through the club software, you should rely on the Playing Handicap printed on your scorecard label. If you do need to calculate it yourself, I’m afraid you will need to use a calculator!

Note, your Playing Handicap is only used to determine the result of a competition and is not used for your handicap. You should always play your round with your Course Handicap in mind. This is particularly important for medium to high handicap players in a Stableford competition to avoid picking up on a hole where your Playing Handicap does not give you a shot whereas your Course Handicap does. This is equally the case for picking up if, when using your Playing Handicap, you cannot score better than net double bogey in a medal, the maximum score WHS will allocate for a hole, as your Course Handicap may give you a shot.

Expected Scoring

In the past, if a hole was not played, the system allocates the player net PAR to make up a 18 hole score. Now, the system will allocate an ‘Expected Score’.

This is a score that, from statistical data, is the score that a player of similar ability would expect to score on a course of ‘standard’ difficulty. It is not logical that you would always score net PAR every time you didn’t play a hole when statistics show that you only play to your handicap about 25% of the time.

The methodology behind the allocation is complex and not shared with us and will be completed by the computer software. This methodology is also used to scale a 9 hole score up to 18 holes.

Better Ball Scoring

Scores from 18 hole Fourball/Better Ball competitions will potentially now be added to a players Handicap record. For this to happen, two criteria must be met:

1: A team must have scored at least 42 Stableford points (or 6 under Par)
2: A player in that team must have scored on at least 9 holes

If this is the case, the player who has scored on at least 9 holes will have a score allocated to them for the holes on which they did not score based on their partners score as follows:

Partner’s score 2 or 3 points, 1.5 points allocated.
Partner’s score 1 point, 1 point allocated.
Partner’s score zero points, zero points allocated.

The total score for the 18 holes is rounded down to the nearest whole number. An adjustment upwards is then made to reflect the difference between Playing Handicap and Course Handicap (i.e to account for the 85% playing allowance for a Better Ball competition). This adjusted score will then be added to the players handicap record, providing this total is at least 36 points.

Note that even if the two criteria above are not met, the score will still be added to a player's WHS record but not used in the calculation of their Handicap Index and will be indicated as such.

Steve Kelly
Handicap Secretary