World Handicap System 2020 & Beyond

Changes for Net Tournaments

The topics below will detail the steps to get from your Index to your Playing Handicap.
For details on the WHS and changes to your index, click here.

Calculate Your Playing Handicap

In the World Handicap System, the handicap used in competitions is called a Playing Handicap. The Playing Handicap takes your Course Handicap and applies any adjustments for the format of play. Details on Course Handicap and Playing Handicap are below. Use the calculator below to determine your Playing Handicap for CGA tournaments.

Index at the close of entries:

Slope Rating (ex: 125):

Course Rating (ex: 68.9):


Calculate Reset

Course Handicap

Rule 6.1a details calculation of a Course Handicap. The calculation to compute a Course Handicap from an Index now includes two additional elements, Course Rating & Par. The formula is now:


This new formula will provide the a player a different Course Handicap for each set of tees on a golf course. The Course Handicap is used for handicap purposes to determine the correct application of Net Par and Net Double Bogey adjustments. In CGA tournament play, Net Double Bogey will be calculated by the scoring system.

Playing Handicap

Rule 6.2a details calculation of a Playing Handicap. The Playing Handicap is used for equity purposes and determines the number of strokes a player gives or receives. The Playing Handicap is calculated by multiplying a Course Handicap by the Handicap Allowance assigned to the format of play. The two most common USGA Recommended Handicap Allowances used by the CGA are:

Stroke Play Individual = 100% (see Rules of Handicapping C/1)
Stroke Play Four-Ball = 85%

In the case of an Individual Stroke Play tournament, the Playing Handicap will be the same as the Course Handicap. The tournament director on site for a CGA tournament can provide you with a step by step breakdown of how your Index was used to calculate your final Playing Handicap. Additionally, you can use the calculator below to see how your Playing Handicap changes based on playing from different tees.

Four-Ball Scorecards

To promote a better pace of play, players are encouraged to pick up when his or her score is not going to count for the team for that hole. When this occurs, the player must record his or her most likely score as the CGA scoring policy requires markers to record all hole scores for all players for handicap purposes.
For unfinished holes, record the score you most likely would have made (more often than not) and precede that score with an X (e.g. X-6) to denote that the player did not hole out. The USGA provides the following guidelines for holes not completed:

  • If the player did not start the hole, record the total of par plus any handicap strokes.
  • If the player did start the hole, count the player's score at that point plus:
    • 1 additional Stroke - If the ball lies on the putting green, and is no more than 5 feet from the hole
    • 2 or 3 additional strokes - If the ball lies between 5 feet and 20 yards from the hole
    • 3 to 4 additional strokes - If the ball lies more than 20 yards from the hole
See Rules of Handicapping Rule 3.3 for additional details.