World Handicap System

I played my last game of the season last week before I left for Europe. Since the course will be closed when I get home my playing partner commented on a number of highlights from the 2019 season.

One of his first comments was that he finally understood most of the 2019 Rules of Golf as well as the revisions to the handicap system adopted in 2018. He allowed as how he was happy the changes were done…. Well Jimmy, not quite. 2020 will see the introduction of the “World Handicap System”. Read More>>

The changes are the result of a worldwide commitment to standardise how courses are rated, how slopes are determined and how handicaps are calculated. The tall foreheads of the USGA, Royal and Ancient, and other national golf associations also claim the changes make the system more inclusive and friendlier to new golfers – you can be the judge of that.

The biggest change in the way handicaps are calculated will be in Equitable Stroke Control. Effective in 2020, all players, regardless of handicap can take a maximum of two over NET PAR on every hole. This means that an 18 handicap can take 3 over par on every hole. A 9 handicap can take 3 over par on the handicap holes 1-9 and two over par on handicap holes 10-18. Got it?

Another change is that only the top 8 of the last 20 scores will be used to calculate a player’s handicap. That compares to the current system using the top 10 of the last 20 scores.

The most interesting addition to the system is an adjustment for abnormal playing conditions – weather or course related. There’s bound to be some controversy on the application of this change, but golf’s brain trust is endeavouring to make this an objective decision. Here’s a quote from a recent e-mail from Golf Canada:

The PCC (Playing Conditions Calculation) is a daily statistical procedure that compares the scores submitted by players on the day against expected scoring patterns.

The Score Centre will automatically analyze and calculate any potential PCC adjustment, and apply it to golfers as necessary.

There will be no change to how golfers will post scores.  Golfers will continue to post scores as normal (as either a hole-by-hole score, or as an adjusted gross score), and when a PCC adjustment is necessary, it will automatically be applied to the appropriate score in the golfer scoring record.

The number of holes required for to obtain an official handicap is also changed. Fifty-four holes (six nines or three eighteen hole games) will now be sufficient.

Golf Canada and Golf Manitoba will be providing more information on the new system prior to implementation. In the meantime here’s a link to the page on the USGA website for more information.

Jimmy also made a couple more observations about the 2019 season. One, which every Member will agree with, is that the course was in great condition in 2019 – as good as we can recall. Given the weather conditions over the course of the season that’s quite an accomplishment by Shawn and his crew. 

The final observation from Jimmy was that there seemed to be more dress code violations than normal – quite a comment from a guy who usually stumbles up to the first tee yawning and rubbing his eyes, looking like an unmade bed. It is true that the Club has been a bit more relaxed in enforcement of the dress code, partly to give new members a chance to familiarize themselves. The Board, Pro shop and Club Captain will be endeavouring to communicate and educate on both dress code and cell phone policy for next season. 

Thanks to all Members (including Jimmy) and staff for a great season. See you on October 21 at the President’s Soriee.

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