World Handicap System

The World Handicap System (WHS) has been introduced by the R&A and USGA to standardise handicap calculations throughout the world.  During 2020 many golfing countries have or intend to adopt the system and more propose to do so in 2021.

What are the main changes for Club Systems International Limited?

In the past, Club Systems have only supplied systems to clubs in countries using the CONGU system of handicapping and most importantly have performed those calculations at the club level, using our own software applications.  In the future, many national federations are moving to a central calculation model, meaning, in those countries, club applications will no longer calculate handicaps, but connect to national central servers to do so.

Different national federations have taken various routes with technology suppliers and functionality.  Club Systems is supplying central systems to national federations through an initiative with the R&A to ensure that all golfing countries maintain handicap indices for their member clubs and golfers.  In Great Britain and Ireland, the national federations have awarded contracts to two companies.  In England, Wales and Ireland: DotGolf International Limited and in Scotland, OCS (I Office Limited).

Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) like Club Systems, Intelligent Golf and Handicapmaster, need to have a Licence with each national federation to send scores to, and receive handicap indices from, their central systems.  These have now been agreed with the following federations:

National Body

WHS Central System Supplier

England Golf (EGU)

DotGolf International Ltd.

Ireland Golf (GUI & ILGU)

DotGolf International Ltd.

Scottish Golf (SGU)

OCS (I Office Ltd.)

Wales Golf (GUW)

DotGolf International Ltd.

Malta Golf Association

Club Systems International Ltd. & R&A

Bahrain Golf Association

Club Systems International Ltd. & R&A

Kenya Golf Union

Club Systems International Ltd. & R&A

Cook Islands Golf Association

Club Systems International Ltd. & R&A

Jordan Golf Federation

Club Systems International Ltd. & R&A

Costa Rican Golf Federation

Club Systems International Ltd. & R&A

Gabon Golf Federation

Club Systems International Ltd. & R&A

In each of these jurisdictions, differing levels of data will be required to obtain and retain a handicap and differing levels of data will be shared with the ISVs to enable the supply of services.

In all countries Club Systems can and will continue to be the club’s supplier of competition and score management systems.  HowDidiDo will continue to offer competition results and up to date handicaps.  National competitions such as the Titleist Order or Merit and the Prostate Cancer UK HowDoWeBeatit will carry on as normal and members scoring a Hole in One in a qualifying competition, will continue to be awarded a Free special edition Boss Watch.

National governing bodies will have communicated their intended transfer date to the new WHS calculation, and what will need to do to be done to prepare.  With the support of these governing body, we are on track to be ready for the new system.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What will change for club administrators and members?

England – We will have access to the WHS handicap index, and handicap record, we will be able to display all data in ClubV1 and HowDidiDo as we do currently.  All scores submitted at English clubs can be put through our systems.

Scotland/Wales/Ireland – We will be able to retrieve a WHS handicap index but may be restricted in where we display it.  We will not be given the player’s handicap record, this will not be available in ClubV1 Back Office, ClubV1 Members Hub or HowDidiDo.  All scores submitted at these clubs can be put through our systems.

Outside GB&I – All data will continue to be available after transition and all scores will be submitted as they are now.

Will scores submitted outside the national federation automatically adjust WHS handicaps in the home federation?

At launch scores will be passed only between countries using the same WHS central system supplier. 

What can the club do in ClubV1 to prepare for WHS?

Both the course and slope rating need to be entered into ClubV1 now for all courses that have been assessed by your national federation, this is done by going to Club>Settings>Courses>Edit.  Enter the course rating and slope rating for all existing courses or add new ones.

Educate your competition/handicap committees and members.  Many national federations and the R&A have excellent resources available on their websites for distribution.

Particular areas to concentrate on should be: the differences between a handicap index, a course handicap for each set of tees and the stroke allowance in a competition.

What can players do to prepare?

All national federations are encouraging golfers to submit as many qualifying scores as they can before and soon after transition to WHS.  This will ensure an accurate WHS transition or correct any anomalies soon afterwards.

Can clubs create competitions now for after the transition date?

We would advise against creating competitions due to take place after the transition date as there will be updates to the competition templates to be compatible with WHS.  We will contact clubs before each country’s switchover when the new WHS version of ClubV1 will become accessible, allowing creation of future competitions.

Will ClubV1 show an estimated handicap index prior to transition?

We will display a WHS handicap index as soon as the national federation’s system makes this data available to us.  We hope this will be prior to the changeover.

Will there still be a winter handicaps option when WHS is implemented to ClubV1?

No.  It is the intention of the national federations that there is a 12-month handicapping season – and the WHS gives plenty of scope to facilitate this. For example:

  • 9-hole rounds are acceptable for handicap purposes for all individual stroke play formats of play.
  • If a club designates one or two holes out of play due to extreme conditions, 18-hole scores may still be submitted for handicap purposes.  
  • The system has guidelines to accommodate shortened holes and winter tees.
  • PCC (the new equivalent to CSS) is designed to take account of daily playing conditions, whether the round was played in a competition or in general play.

Clubs will still be able organise non-qualifying competitions and process these through ClubV1 for publication on HowDidiDo.

How will handicaps update in ClubV1 once WHS is live?

All scores from each day will be sent to the national federations (regardless of whether a competition has been closed or not) at around midnight local time, a PCC will be calculated, and the new handicap index will be downloaded.  It will then be available in our systems ready to be displayed or used for play the following day.

How will all handicap indices be recalculated prior to switchover? 

All data will be synced with the new systems in advance of the switchover date and WHS indices will be calculated by the national unions’ systems ready for that date.

When a player signs in for a specific competition, will ClubV1, MSi/PSi show a course handicap as well as a handicap index?

All our systems will show a WHS handicap index, a course handicap, and the playing handicap (strokes allowed) for that relevant competition or casual round. Currently on PSi, MSi and Sign In Labels it will only show Handicap Index, it will be updated soon to include course and playing handicap.  The system will also automatically calculate Stableford points, maximum score at hole and missed hole scores.  As of now, golfers will only be required to enter the gross shots taken at every hole.  One difference is that holes can now be skipped.  So a score is not retuned at a hole, we ask if it was played and not finished, or not attempted at all.

Do members have to enter all social golf?

No, however a WHS handicap index will be more accurate the more scores that are returned.  If a round is pre-registered and played under the rules of golf and played in an acceptable format for that national federation, it can be entered.  Most national federations are actively encouraging golfers to enter social scores.  However, only rounds that are pre-registered, where a score is not returned, are liable for a penalty score.

How will social round scores be submitted?

If a player wishes to return a score for handicap purposes, this can be done by registering the round first using the club’s software.  The score then needs to be returned in the same way.  However, it is possible with Club Systems applications to mix these.  So for example a score registered in the HowDidiDo App, can be returned on the ClubV1 PSi unit, or vice versa.

What data will we send from ClubV1 to the national union?

In GB&I the four golfing unions have specified that the ISV software sends scores together with membership number/CDH ID number, first and last names, initials, adult/junior, date of birth, email address, gender, membership type (18/9 hole), professional player flag, club membership category, home club.

After requesting clarification England Golf have told us that from the list above: name, gender, date of birth and email address are mandatory.  Wales Golf and Golf Ireland have confirmed that no personal data (email, DOB) will be mandatory and we are awaiting further clarification from Scottish Golf

Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as the club’s ‘data processor’ we cannot make decisions about the data itself and are required to follow the instructions of the data controller.  Therefore, if Club Systems are requested to upload personal information and the club are satisfied this is necessary and adequate for the purpose, we will act on that instruction.

As the ‘data controller’, it is the club’s own decision whether to share all the data requested.  We will be offering the club the option to send all, or to allow each member to opt to have their own data shared.  Where the club or individual members have consented, we will send the data in accordance with our data privacy statement.  If the club or the member does not consent, we will only send score data.

Outside of GB&I, in the countries we currently service, only name, home club, unique ID number, handicap index and scores data is required to calculate a WHS handicap index, and therefore is the only data sent to the national federations’ central system.

Will CLUB2000 be compatible with WHS?

CLUB2000 will not be compatible with WHS, if your club is still using CLUB2000 please contact us on +44 (0)345 222 9999 opt 2 or email to arrange a free conversion to ClubV1.  This is a simple process, which can be done remotely and takes very little time.

For more information regarding WHS see - 

©Club Systems International Limited – All trademarks and IPR in WHS are acknowledged.  Last updated 18:40 7th October 2020