Playing Handicap Calculation - World Handicap System
A new defined term, Playing Handicap, is set to be introduced within the Rules of Handicapping in January 2020. It’s important to note that a Playing Handicap does NOT replace a Course Handicap.
Here are some definitions for clarification:
Handicap Index – The measure of a player’s demonstrated ability calculated against the Slope Rating of a golf course of standard playing difficulty (that is, a course with a Slope Rating of 113) and based on the number of scores in the player’s record at the time of revision. A Handicap Index is displayed as a number taken to one decimal figure, as 15.2. Think of your Handicap Index as your “raw” number, and one that you will never actually play with.
Course Handicap – The number of handicap strokes a player receives from a specific set of tees as determined by the Slope Rating and the difference between Course Rating and Par. A Course Handicap is arrived at by “converting” your Handicap Index to the specific Slope Rating of tees played. It is expressed as a whole number.
Playing Handicap – The Course Handicap adjusted for any handicap allowances or Terms of the Competition. It represents the actual number of strokes the player gives or receives for the round being played in an event and is expressed as a whole number.
To further clarify, in some forms of play, it is appropriate to reduce the player’s Course Handicap to a number less than 100% - this is called a Handicap Allowance. This percentage (85%, for example, for Four-Ball Stroke Play) is recommended to create equity for all players participating in a specific format of play.
Here’s the formula for a Playing Handicap –
Playing Handicap = Course Handicap x handicap allowance
Example – A player with a Course Handicap of 15, has a resulting Playing Handicap of 13 when receiving 85% of his Course Handicap (with .5 or greater rounded upward – 15 x .85 = 12.75, rounded to 13).