Handicapping FAQ’s

Additional information about Handicapping can be found in our Handicap Resource Centre on the Golf Ontario website.  Please feel free to browse the collection of articles, posters, and other documents to learn more about the Handicap System.  If you have any further questions, please forward them to Duncan Chau at dchau@gao.ca 


Why is Handicap Factor changing to Handicap Index? The USGA’s current “Handicap Index” does not update each time a player’s score is entered.  Since our current Canadian system updates for each score that is entered, we have used the term “Handicap Factor”.  Under the WHS, updates will be daily in all countries, so the term “Handicap Index” will be used universally for everyone.
Is my handicap going to change (significantly) in the WHS? Your handicap may change depending on several factors such as consistency, and frequency of play. Preliminary testing has shown most players new Handicap Index will be within 1 stroke its current position.
How do I return my score at home? From Abroad? Who is responsible for this? Scores can be posted in several ways including through the Golf Canada website, the smartphone application, as well as the score posting kiosk that is set up at your home club. It is the golfer’s responsibility to ensure that all eligible scores are being posted.
How does the new system work? The World Handicap System will be averaged based, using the best 8 of the last 20 scores in your record.
How are handicaps initially allocated? A player will need to return 54 holes worth of scores to be issued an initial Handicap Index.
How do I get a (World) Handicap Index? Handicap Indexes are only available to those who are members of Golf Canada/Provincial Golf Association. If you are new to golf, we require 54 holes of scores to be returned to obtain a Handicap Index. If a returning player, we can calculate an initial Handicap Index from your existing (historical) record.
Once I have a handicap index what happens if I don’t have 20 scores? Following your first 54 holes worth of scores your handicap index will be allocated, then each time you add a new score it will be recalculated using an adjusted calculation to give you an Index equivalent to that of the Best 8 from 20 principle. Further information will be available in the Rules of Handicapping book.
How long do I have to submit my first 3 scores or 54 holes for an Initial Handicap Allocation? Is a mix of 9 and 18 holes permitted? A new player has no time limit to return the first 54 holes worth of scores, but they won’t hold a handicap index during this time.

Any combination of 9 or 18 holes.

How do I move clubs on the new system? Notify your new club that you have kept a Handicap in the past. They will initiate a transfer process through Golf Canada. This will retain all your scoring history and Handicap Index.
How long do my 20 scores last on the new system? Scores will not expire. However, to maintain the most accurate handicap it is recommended that players continue to post all eligible scores.
Can my handicap lapse? No, if you retain membership your Handicap Index will remain valid. If your membership does lapse, your account will no longer compute a Handicap Index. Scores are not deleted at this time. If your membership is reactivated, the Index will be computed again based off scores existing in the account.
What will happen to my existing playing history when WHS comes into effect? The scores you currently have in your record will be used to calculate your new Handicap Index.
What is a slope rating? Slope rating is the difference between the course rating for a ‘scratch’ golfer and the course rating for a ‘bogey’ golfer multiplied by a factor. The Slope rating indicates the difficulty of a golf course for the ‘bogey’ golfer relative to the scratch player.
When will I as a golfer know what my Handicap Index will be? The aim is to show all members a sample of their new Handicap Index towards the end of the 2019 season.
How do the daily course conditions affect the score? The WHS includes a Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC), which will analyze how players have performed that day compared to their expected performance on that golf course. It will naturally include weather and course setup (reflected in the scores), and if expected results fall outside a tolerance level, an adjustment will apply to all scores played on that course for that day.
How is the PCC (Playing Conditions Calculation) calculated if only one player submits a score? A Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC) can only be calculated if at least 8 scores from players with fully developed Handicap Indexes have been entered on that day.
What happens to the Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC) if the weather is significantly different in the morning to the afternoon? Only one PCC will be calculated, so both sets of conditions will be included within the PCC calculation.
Scores should be entered as soon as possible. What would happen if a score is not returned quickly, is there a time limit? Scores should be entered before the end of the day (approx. midnight (local time). Any scores not entered before that time will still be acceptable but will not be used as part of the PCC determination. However, the PCC determination for the day of play will still be applied when the score is posted.
Will there still be an active/inactive Handicap Season? Yes, there is still a seasonal need for an Active Handicap Season. With other tools available within the system, each Provincial Association has the right to choose their seasonal dates to which scores played in that region are acceptable for Handicap purposes.
What restrictions will a Committee be able to place on handicaps for club competitions? As with any competition, the Committee can have a set of Conditions which may include a handicap limit.
Will your handicap change over 36-hole events? In an event that is played over 1 day or 2 consecutive days, it is recommended that no change is made to a player’s handicap during the event, for competition administration purposes.
What is the recommended minimum number of scores per year that should be submitted to maintain an accurate Handicap Index? While there is no minimum number of required scores, the more scores submitted the more accurate the Index becomes in reflecting a player’s potential ability.
Will we still need a Club Handicap Committee? Yes: a club will still need to appoint a Handicap Committee to manage and maintain members handicaps e.g. carry out handicap reviews, adjust handicaps where necessary, and ensure that scores are being submitted.
What is a playing handicap and what does it consist of? The playing handicap will be the player’s course handicap (handicap index adjusted by course rating and slope rating), and any handicap allowances.
Will handicaps change on 1st January 2020? January 1, 2020 is the launch date. Whether a Handicap Index changes or not on this date depends on many variables (see above: “Is my handicap going to change”).
Will the Handicap Index be based on historic data or new scores/data only? If a player has an existing handicap record that will be used to generate their first handicap index.
Will the handicap allowances (percentage of handicap) for different formats of play (four-ball, foursome, match play, etc) be the same as in the past? Some are changing, due to the new formula.  Data testing was done to provide new allowances that will still provide equity for all forms of play.
Who will we ask for support/Help? Support for the WHS will be provided by your Provincial Golf Association (and Golf Canada) in partnership with each club (club administrator or Club Handicap Committee/Chair)


How do I sign up for a Handicap Seminar?

A:  A full schedule of Handicap Seminar dates is posted on the Golf Ontario website.  Each seminar date has a link beside it that will redirect you to our secure website where you can sign up and register for the seminar that best fits your schedule.  You will be required to enter some information during the registration process (name, address, email, club affiliation, etc.) as well as payment information.  Please note, that only Visa and Mastercard are accepted through the secure website.  If other payment arrangements need to be made, please contact Duncan Chau at dchau@gao.ca

To sign up for our online Handicapping Seminar, simply follow this link https://training.gao.ca/user/login  Register with your email and a password of your choice.  From there, click “Purchase Now” to pay for the seminar (a secure process) and you will be on your way!