49% Of Handicaps Cut - Golf Monthly Forum Reacts To New WHS Indexes

The new World Handicap System goes live on 2nd November - what does the Golf Monthly Forum make of the changes?

New WHS Indexes
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The new World Handicap System goes live on 2nd November - what does the Golf Monthly Forum make of the changes?

49% Of Handicaps Cut - Golf Monthly Forum Reacts To New WHS Indexes

The hope is that the new system will better reflect our current form, in both directions, but there’s been plenty of comments already about the new Handicap Index and whether it’s going to be a good thing or not  

Following early access to the World Handicap System a poll on our forum asked if members’ handicaps had gone up, down or roughly stayed the same under the new system.

Of those who voted: 

20% had gone up

49% had gone down

31% had stayed the same

View poll and full forum thread

The figures may be a little skewed given there might still be some confusion that your Handicap Index is not what you will be playing off and that will only properly be cleared up for some when we get up and running. 

And there’s still time for Handicap Indexes to change with more recent and occasionally some missing competitions to be taken into account and there have been mistakes made in projecting the indices.

Even though we’ve all known this has been coming there’s a lot to take in and one particularly clued-up member (rulefan) makes the valid point not to rely on anything on the WHS site until November 2.

But, to hopefully clear up some initial concerns and explain why the voting went like it did, here’s  what we’re all talking about (and still scratching our heads over). 

Related: How do I find out my course handicap? - Slope Rating explained

Those who will stay the same

I was off 16 and new index says 14.5. I was expecting it though as our course was given a slope of 131 off the whites, which is higher than most of the other courses in the local area. But I think that means I'll still get the usual 16 shots on my home course? Unfortunately two of my best eight counting scores are 19th and 20th on the list, so in all likelihood it will balance back out to 16 anyway after my next two comps - Orikoru

Currently off 12 exactly...WHS index is supposed to be 11.2 but I've played a couple of comps in October that aren't reflected in the Index yet. At our club 50% of players have lower indexes than their Congu handicap, 30% higher and 20% are exactly the same. The vast majority of those who have stayed the same are those who don’t have 3 scores in their record since Jan 2018 and have been automatically allocated an index the same as their Congu handicap - nickjdavis 

Down in terms of index but with slope roughly same. CONGU 17.9. WHS 15.2. Playing off whites 18 (or 17 if 95%). Can’t see playing history as they claim not to have my email despite sending me emailed newsletters every month - Scott W

From 14.1 to 13.7 although I probably haven't got a full 20 scores. At my course that puts me off 13 for yellows and 14 for whites, but I gain 3-4 shots at other courses I've played recently. Part feel they've put the slope rating at my course lower than it should be as I don't feel there is that much disparity if I knew the other courses better - Sports_Fanatic

So many members at my club thought their handicap index was their actual new playing handicap, not just an index number to use in association with every slope to obtain their handicap for that round!  I think it’s quite a widespread confusion. Mine’s exactly the same at my home club, but looking at courses I play elsewhere has shown me where I’ll pick up or lose extra shots due their slope ratings being higher or lower. 

With our slope being the highest in the area, it’s going be interesting when we resume A, B and Senior club matches against clubs in the county, we’ll be surrendering more shots to all visitors - Fish

Related: World Handicap System - What you need to know

Those who have come down

Down to 16 and I haven't played in a comp for nearly 18 months - spongebob59

My congu handicap is 8.0. Whs currently saying 3.2 🤣 I'll just wait until the 2nd to see my real number - TheJezster

CONGU 5.0. WHS 1.7. Course slope 123. Par 68. Course rating 68.6. Playing handicap 2. Seems like a big drop in my handicap, think I may struggle to win anything at my home course now - SimonC

Congu 14.2. WHS 11.7. Tbh other than one 36 pointer I’m not sure I’ve been struggling around 30ish in most Stableford comps for ages. No idea how that would translate in a reduction. Was expecting to go up to 16 or so - gary996

Those who have gone up

Gone up by 0.7 but I expected as much as I have had some shocking results over the past year or so, particularly following lockdown. That said, I play on a tough course, so whilst this was reflected in my handicap under CSS, it wasn’t shown in my scores.

Under WHS and slope it will be reflected in both, as my course handicap goes up, so I expect to play to my handicap more often, which is more satisfying. Overall, once we get used to it, I think it will be a better system - Sweep

And those who are yet to be convinced

Someone's done a cracking job; take your current handicap, work it up or down to your handicap index according to your home course slope rating, and then get a table out to work it down or up (the opposite direction to the one you've just done) to about where it used to be to get your home course playing handicap.

I take it whoever sold this to the golf authorities got tired of selling snow to Eskimos and wanted a new challenge? An ashtray on the Ducati would be more use to me - Blue in Munich 

Currently need to shoot 72 to play to handicap. On 2nd Nov I will need to shoot 69 on the same course to play to handicap... "Go figure" as they say across the Pond...  Luckily, I know that I can get 2 more cards in before 2nd Nov which might raise the average, and then when I submit the 21st card an equal best will hopefully disappear, so the silly low HI won't last long - Traminator

Finally, one member, PhilTheFragger, actually tried out the new numbers and he offered some cause for optimism…. 

Was on 23. New HC is 26 off the whites. 25 off the yellows. Imurg is up 3 to 9 and CVG is up 5 to 18. So played off the whites 138 using the provisional handicap figures - CVG had 27 points. Imurg 34. Fragger 39

Equal to 22 / 31/ 36 in old money. Played well, but not 39 points well, Imurg reckons the three extra shots is adding to my confidence.

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Mark Townsend
Contributing editor

Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on skysports.com. He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.