Golf's Governing Bodies Planning 'World Handicap System'

Golf's handicap systems look to be getting a major shake up

World Handicap System

The R&A and USGA are working with golf's handicapping authorities and plan to announce proposals on new worldwide handicap system later this year

Golf's Governing Bodies Planning 'World Handicap System'

Golf's handicap system looks to be getting a shake up.

The R&A and USGA have announced that they are working together, along with golf's handicapping authorities across the globe, to create a one-size-fits-all handicap system.

Details of the 'World Handicap System' will be announced later this year with the aim to 'adopt a universal set of principles and procedures that will apply globally'.

There are currently six different handicapping systems worldwide, with GB&I's system administered by CONGU.

world handicap system

More than 15 million golfers in over 80 countries presently have a handicap

The R&A and USGA have been working with golf organisations across the world to extensively review the handicap systems currently in place.

They have been working together now for two years to shape the future world handicap system, and have considered golf's different cultures and formats of play.

They have also been looking at course ratings, also known as slope, which is not currently a factor in GB&I with our Standard Scratch Score and Competition Scratch Score.

The R&A and USGA has formed a joint committee with representatives of:

  • Golf Australia
  • Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) in Great Britain and Ireland
  • European Golf Association (EGA)
  • South African Golf Association (SAGA)
  • Argentine Golf Association (AAG)
  • United States Golf Association (USGA)
  • Japan Golf Association
  • Golf Canada

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The joint committee plans to announce its proposals for the World Handicap System later this year.

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “We have been concerned for some time that many golfers find the handicapping landscape to be complicated and can be frustrated when it is not always applied in the same way in different parts of the world.

“We are working closely with the existing handicapping bodies to benefit from their insights as we try to formulate a system that will be easy to understand and can be applied consistently on a global basis. We very much appreciate their support for this initiative.”

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL

Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5