Your handicap is changing: What it means for your index

December 31, 2019

The is a new world order of handicapping the game of golf. The USGA and R&A have worked steadfastly to create a world handicap system and will be implementing it throughout 2020. Here is what it means for your index.

Chances are, you’ll see some minor improvement! The current system computes your 10 best scores from your 20 most recent rounds. Under the new system only your top eight rounds will count toward your handicap. So if those 9th and 10th best rounds on your docket are not your best performances, expect your index to improve.

What might be most important is the logging of those scores. Whereas some players currently add their scores in bunches, needing to only get them in by the 1st and 15th of the month, going forward, you are strongly encouraged to add your score as soon as possible. The new system will update every single day. So your great round yesterday could impact your handicap tomorrow. The USGA has a GHIN App that makes it very easy to log scores immediately after a round. This has some ramifications for your annual club championship. In the past, if your championship took place on, say, June 24, your handicap from June 15 was used, and all scores from June 16-23 didn’t matter. Now, those scores will have more relevance.

Posting is not only encouraged ASAP, it is also encouraged for all types of rounds, specifically 9-hole rounds. It is easier than ever to establish an index, so those 9-holers you squeeze in after work mean much more than they used to.

The updated World Handicap System will now make adjustments (where necessary) for the weather. How about that?! It’s called the Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC). With enough scores posted from the same course on a given day, the system will be able to tell if it was a particularly difficult course to play that day. While the adjustment won’t be in effect often, it does mean sometimes the 92 you carved out amid torrential rain is potentially even more beneficial to your index than the 90 you logged in on a gorgeous day in the sun. Finally, some love for Mother Nature.

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