(World Handicap System)

WHS in Brief

WHS is the latest addition to the golfing world:

  • Certified friendly games can be taken into account for index calculation as soon as the card is returned to the club.
  • The calculation includes individual scores played over 18 or 9 holes, on classic courses as well as Compact or Pitch & Putt golf courses.

  • You get your first temporary index as soon as you register your first card.

What doesn't change:

  • With WHS, the index remains a decimal value ranging from 54 to 0 or scratch for the best players, and even below with negative value indexes!

  • It always fluctuates up or down as cards are registered.

  • It always fluctuates up or down as cards are registered.

Calculation changes :

  • The index is now calculated on the average of my 8 best performances out of the last 20 recorded, and no longer score after score.

  • My performances will no longer be measured by a conversion into stableford points, but on my shots hole by hole.

  • Stableford is still a playing formula, like stroke play, but no longer a basis for calculating the index.

What is WHS

WHS stands for "World Handicap System".

To avoid any confusion, the following terms are used:

  • Index (handicap index1) : A player's overall level, reflecting his or her performance index among all players.

  • Handicap or Playing Handicap (Handicap1 or Playing Handicap1):

The particular level of a player that reflects his level of play, compared with other players in the same competition, based on his index, the characteristics of the course played and his starting balls, and which will give him an advantage or disadvantage over the other players in his series, in order to be able to separate them in Net.

WHS is a new Index that reflects the best level of play of players. It's a system that provides easy access to an Index.

The evolution of a player's Index takes into account his score calculated according to his previous Index, the weather and the slope of the course played.

What is the role of WHS

Golf already has a unique set of playing, equipment and amateur rules, governed by the USGA and the R&A.

There were six different index calculation systems in the world: Golf Australia, the European Golf Association, the Council of National Golf Unions, the South African Golf Association, the Argentina Golf Association and the United States Golf Association.

Each helps to ensure fair play at local level, but each produces different results when calculating players' indexes.

The R&A and the USGA, in collaboration with all the federations, have proposed and enabled the harmonization of a worldwide system. The seminar for Africa was held in Marrakech.

The role of the WHS is to unify existing systems into a single one that will :

Enable golfers of all levels to play and compete on a fair and equitable basis, in any format, on any course, anywhere in the world;

Meet the varied needs and expectations of golfers, golf clubs and governing bodies around the world by adapting to all golfing cultures.

When the decision was taken to change the index system to WHS?

Since 2016, international institutions have been looking at a renovation of the rules structuring the game of golf. The WHS, like the new 2019 rules of golf, is one of the solutions.

Since 2018, world golf has been working on a new handicap system: the WHS. It has been tested and then proposed to all countries from 2019.

When did FRMG switch to WHS?

Morocco implemented this program in 2020 and tested it on past competitions. It has been compared with the previous system, with which it shares many similarities.

After testing it on the first competitions from November 2, it was generalized as the single system on January 1, 2021.

What are the advantages of the new WHS system?
  • It's a fun program that facilitates access to a handicap and therefore to the game of golf.
  • It reflects the player's best (potential) level of play.
  • The evolution of the player's handicap takes into account his score, the weather and the slope of the course played.
What's new with WHS

The two biggest new features are related. They allow players to take scores into account for the evolution of handicap indexes:

  • Over 9 or 18 holes

  • In competition or in friendly matches

All you have to do is respect the following rules:

    • Play within the rules of golf,

    • Play in a format authorized by the FRMG,

    • Play with at least one other licensed player with an index,
    • Play on a calibrated course (one that has a slope; announce from which tee markers you're going to score).

How the WHS index is calculated
  • The index is calculated on the average of the eight best scores achieved out of the last twenty recorded. This will give you an idea of your playing potential on a good day, not the score you're expected to achieve (play) on a daily basis.

  • A player may not move up his handicap by more than 5 moves per year (365 consecutive days).

  • It allows you to record scores over 9 and 18 holes during competitions or friendly games. The worst scores are not taken into account.

  • The handicap can change daily once scores have been recorded.

    • Your Index may not increase by more than 5 strokes in any twelve-month period, compared with your lowest Index during that period.

    • Your Index may not increase by more than 5 strokes in any twelve-month period, compared with your lowest Index during that period.

  • The Federation retains the right to revise your handicap (initializations or adjustments).

    • A player can lower his handicap in two different ways: either with his own scores, or via a federal handicap committee which, if in doubt, can intervene officially between the end of his game and the prize-giving ceremony.

    • To do this, all your scores will continue to be saved in the federal software.

How do I get my first WHS index?
  • A maximum handicap of 54.0 will be allocated to you in order to enter the competition system.

  • But your index will be official from your first recorded score, including eligible scores in friendly games.

How do I calculate my WHS index, if I already have one?
If I already have an index, the 20 scores taken into account will be my new score and the previous 19. If I already have an index, but less than 19 scores, a progressive calculation is applied. Up to 5 registered scores, the lowest score is used. From 6 up to 20, the calculation is based on a progressive average until I reach the best 8 of my last 20 scores.
Number of historical scores Index calculation Index Calcul
1 Index played or differential score -2
2 Lowest -2
3 Lowest -2
4 Lowest -1
5 Lowest
6 Average of lowest 2 -1
7 or 8 Lowest 2 average
9 to 11 Average of 3 lowest
12 to 14 Average of the 4 lowest
15 to 16 Average of the 5 lowest
17 to 18 The average of the 6 lowest
19 Lowest 7 average
20 Lowest 8 average
How do I calculate my WHS index, if I don't already have one?

If I don't have an index yet, my first recorded score will give me my first index, based on the index I played -2.

If I play 30.2, I'll have an index of 28.2.

Then, from score to score, the calculation will be based on the same progressive calculation method.

If I already have an index but no scores in competitions or certified friendly games, my current official index remains unchanged.

How can I enter my scores in WHS

Everyone can ask for their scores to be recorded as soon as they have played 9 or 18 holes in a competition validated by their club or the FRMG, or in a friendly match.

This means that clubs can organize 9-hole competitions. You'll need to play 9 holes twice for the index to change.

To play these competitions, the following conditions must be met:

  • A valid medical certificate and a valid golf license.

  • All scores on the card must be entered, depending on the choice of 9 or 18 holes.

This will enable juniors in particular to score during golf school hours.

During friendly matches, your scores can also be recorded in the WHS if the following conditions are met:

  • Current medical certificate and license

  • Designate a licensed scorekeeper, who must be present throughout the game.

  • Have your card certified by the scorer at the end of the game.

  • All scores on the card must be entered, depending on the choice of 9 or 18 holes.

  • Any game that is incomplete or not signed within 48 hours will be considered as a "non-returned/disqualified card" and will be subject to a penalty score integrating the player's history and taking into account previous results. (or a cancellation of the score).

How can I track my WHS index?

In your member area (www.frmg.ma),you can find your score history and index evolution.

This information is also available from your club.

How often is the WHS index and handicap updated?

A player's handicap index will be updated promptly upon submission of an acceptable score by the Federal Handicap Committee, so the player's handicap index will generally be updated before his next game.

What factors will have an impact on my index according to the WHS?
  • Your best 8 scores out of your last 20 scores over the last 365 days.

  • Adjustment of Slope Rating to course handicap and playing handicap

  • Buffer-zone mechanism: limits ascent

  • PCC: robust but conservative mechanism

  • An exceptional score triggers an immediate reduction, which can be triggered by a single score.

  • Double bogey net - maximum score per hole for handicap purposes

Putting into practice

Depending on the tee markers and the type of game you've chosen for your round, you'll be assigned a handicap. This determines the number of strokes you will receive on each hole.

To save time and avoid letting a bad hole spoil your game, and when the format allows it, the notion of net double bogey enables you to enter a maximum score in the computer equal to "par plus two strokes plus the number of strokes received" on this hole.

Example on a "par 4":

If you have "zero received strokes", the maximum score will be 4 + 2 + 0, i.e. 6.

If you have "two hits", the maximum score will be 4 + 2 + 2, i.e. 8.

The creation of a federal index committee, with clear rules to follow, will make it possible to intervene clearly on anomalies at any time, including between the signing of the card and the prize-giving ceremony.

Taking into account a maximum number of scores for all players will enable a fairer adjustment for everyone.

If a player fails to return a card, or returns a score that does not seem consistent, the Handicap Committee can intervene at any time.

Key WHS terminology