Handicapping Safeguards - World Handicap System | Oregon Golf Association

Handicapping Safeguards - World Handicap System

There will be several significant safeguards built into the WHS. These safeguards will be in the form of features and automatic calculations that increase the likelihood that the resulting Index will be indicative of the player’s demonstrated ability. This means more protection for the field. While the WHS will be more modern and adaptive, it will also have more “moving parts.”

  • Fewer Scores Used to Create Index: Eight out of 20 scores will be used to calculate a Handicap Index, instead of ten out of twenty, which will provide for a system that will be more responsive to the player’s good scores.
     
  • Adjustment for Low Number of Scores in Record: A player typically plays to their handicap one out of every five rounds, so when first establishing a Handicap Index and only 3 scores exist, for example, it’s possible that the player hasn’t yet played to their potential. Due to this, an additional downward adjustment will be made to a player’s Index when limited scoring information is available.
     
  • Exceptional Score Reduction Procedure: ESR is a procedure for handling certain scores which may indicate the player’s true ability. The ESR rule considers all scores and not just tournament scores. If a player posts a score that produces a score differential 7.0 strokes or better than their Index at the time the score was submitted, an automatic adjustment is made. The existence of the ESR applies an adjustment to up to 19 of the player’s previous scores retroactively, which in turn, automatically adjusts the player’s Handicap Index.
     
  • Limiting Upward Movement of Handicap Index: A Soft Cap and Hard Cap will be applied to limit the upward movement of a player’s Handicap Index within a 12-month period.
    • The Soft Cap will suppress upward movement by 50% after a 3.0 increase over a player’s 12-month Low Handicap Index has been reached.
    • The Hard Cap will restrict upward movement to 5.0 over the Low Handicap Index from the past 12 months.


The caps will ensure that a temporary loss of form does not cause a player’s Handicap Index to move too far from a level consistent with their demonstrated ability. The caps also serve as anti-abuse safeguards and will aid in minimizing the potential for handicap manipulation.


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