The education aspect of the World Handicap System is presented as one video separated into three segments with voice-over, providing a detailed presentation of the Rules of Handicapping.  The user can complete the videos at their convenience and the total run time of the three videos is approximately 75 minutes.  The videos can be accessed at the following links:

Video 1 – Click here  | Video 2 – Click here  | Video 3 – Click here


The Rules of Handicapping consists of revised definitions, seven (7) rules – each of which are prefaced with a Principle Statement (setting out the philosophy behind the Rule), and Appendices which contain further, more detailed information.

The idea for a new, unified system was conceived by the USGA and The R&A and developed following an extensive review of systems administered by six existing handicapping authorities – Golf Australia, the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) in Great Britain and Ireland, the European Golf Association (EGA), the South African Golf Association (SAGA), the Argentine Golf Association (AAG) and the United States Golf Association (USGA).

Interpretations, examples and illustrations have also been included to highlight and explain key principles. The Rules of Handicapping are divided into five sections:

1) Fundamentals of Handicapping (Rule 1)

2) Scores for Handicap Purposes (Rules 2-4)

3) Handicap Calculation and Updating a Handicap Index (Rules 5-6)

4) Administration of a Handicap Index (Rule 7)

5) Appendices (A-G)

Knowing the proper procedure will help provide a framework for equitable and enjoyable games.As the owner of the term Golf Canada and a Licensee of USGA and The R&A trademarks and service marks included in the Rules of Handicapping, Golf Canada has the sole right to authorize the use of those marks by others.

Reminder, the requirement through the Handicap License Agreement is:

“Within the Term of this Agreement, Member Club must have a minimum of one representative to complete a Handicap Certification seminar (conducted by the authorized provincial golf association or Golf Canada™) and pass a test exhibiting knowledge of World Handicap System™ and its policies. Certification can be achieved online or in person.”

Handicap Certification can be achieved either through the Golf Canada online seminar and certification test, or through Handicap Seminars conducted by your Provincial Golf Association.

    • Flexibility in formats of play, allowing both competitive and recreational rounds to count for handicap purposes and ensuring a golfer’s handicap is more reflective of potential ability.
    • A minimal number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap; a recommendation that the number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap be 54 holes from any combination of 18-hole and 9-hole rounds, but with some discretion available for handicapping authorities or National Associations to set a different minimum within their own jurisdiction.
    • A consistent handicap that is portable from course to course and country to country through worldwide use of the USGA Course and Slope Rating System, already successfully used in more than 80 countries.
    • An average-based calculation of a handicap, taken from the best eight out of the last 20 scores and factoring in memory of previous demonstrated ability for better responsiveness and control.
    • A calculation that considers the impact that abnormal course and weather conditions might have on a player’s performance each day.
    • Daily handicap revisions, taking account of the course and weather conditions calculation.
    • A limit of Net Double Bogey on the maximum hole score (for handicapping purposes only).
    • A maximum handicap limit of 54.0, regardless of gender, to encourage more golfers to measure and track their performance to increase their enjoyment of the game.

Quantitative research was conducted in 15 countries around the world, through which 76 percent of the 52,000 respondents voiced their support for a World Handicap System, 22 percent were willing to consider its benefits, and only two percent were opposed. This was followed by a series of focus groups, in which more than 300 golf administrators and golfers from different regions around the world offered extensive feedback on the features of the proposed new system.

This feedback has helped shape the WHS, which has been developed by the USGA and The R&A with support from each handicapping authority as well as the Japan Golf Association and Golf Canada.


    Handicapping is at the core of equitable competition in amateur golf, with few other sports enabling players to compete equitably across different skill levels the way that golf does.

    Golf Canada is the Authorized National body that is responsible for implementing and administering the Rules of Handicapping in Canada in co-operation with the provincial golf associations.

    The purpose of the World Handicap System (WHS) is to make the game of golf more enjoyable for golfers by providing a consistent means of measuring one’s performance and progress and to enable golfers of differing abilities to compete, or play a casual round, with anyone else on a fair and equal basis.

    Through the WHS, each golfer establishes a “Handicap Index” which is the measure of a player’s demonstrated ability on a course of standard playing difficulty.

    The Handicap Index is calculated using the lowest 8 of the player’s most recent 20 Score Differentials and updated with each new round played. The Handicap Index travels worldwide with the golfer from course to course (and tee to tee) and is used to calculate a “Course Handicap”. The Course Handicap is the number of strokes a golfer receives from the specific set of tees at the course. The more difficult the golf course, the more strokes the golfer receives and vice versa.

    The relative difficulty of a golf course is determined jointly by Golf Canada and the provincial golf association using the WHS Course Rating System as administered by Golf Canada. Specially trained Course Rating Teams evaluate the difficulty of a golf course based on such variables as length and a number of obstacle factors (e.g. topography, bunkers, lateral & crossing obstacles, severity of rough, etc).

    Only Golf Canada member golf clubs are permitted to use the World Handicap System and Course Rating System (as administered by Golf Canada) including related trademarks and service marks. Member golf clubs must do so in a manner that preserves the integrity and reliability of these systems. All rights to use these systems and related trademarks and service marks terminate should the golf club cease to be a member in good standing with Golf Canada.





Handicapping System Education


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