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Australia to be among first group of countries rolling out golf’s new world handicap system
Australia will be among the first group of nations to roll out golf's new world handicap system next year.
The World Handicap System (WHS) is ready to be launched from January 2020 and will provide golfers with a unified and more inclusive handicapping system for the first time.
Though many countries are planning to adopt the new system in January, the system will go live in other parts of the world throughout the year to accommodate different implementation plans and variations in the golfing calendar.
Developed by The R&A and US Golf Association in close coordination with existing handicapping authorities, the WHS will provide all golfers with a consistent measure of playing ability, with handicaps calculated in the same way wherever they are in the world.
A key objective of the initiative was to develop a modern system, enabling as many golfers as possible to obtain and maintain a Handicap Index. Golfers will be able to transport their Handicap Index globally and compete or play a casual round with players from other regions on a fair basis. It will also indicate the score a golfer is reasonably capable of achieving the next time they go out to play.
The estimated implementation timeframes for a selection of countries, which are subject to change, are:
January - Argentina, Australia, Canada, India, Mexico, Panama, Republic of Korea, South Africa, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela
February to April - Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore and Sweden
May to August - Portugal
September to December - Great Britain and Ireland
The WHS has two main components - the Rules of Handicapping and the Course Rating System. The Rules of Handicapping are encompassed within seven Rules to inform administrators and golfers on how an official Handicap Index is calculated and administered, with some flexibility given to national associations based on how the sport is played and enjoyed in their region. The Course Rating System, based on the USGA Course Rating System first adopted nearly 50 years ago and already adopted on nearly every continent, sets out a consistent method of determining a course’s difficulty. Together, these components become the foundational elements in determining a golfer’s Handicap Index.
Commenting on the roll out, Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, stated “the game of golf is transforming to meet the needs of the modern-day golfer; modernising the Rules this year was an important step forward in that regard and the World Handicap System will be another.
“Our hope is that the launch of the WHS will be a catalyst for change; signalling the start of a new era of golfer engagement, being inclusive by embracing all golfers, whatever their level of ability, and broadening its appeal to a much wider audience.
“Change also means opportunity and, managed appropriately, this can only be good for the game. It does mean there will be a period of adjustment, as we saw with the new Rules, but once it beds in golfers and golf clubs will benefit in many ways from the new system.”
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