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Foreword - To the 2020 Edition of the Rules of Handicapping

World handicap System logo 

Golf is a global game with a single set of playing rules, a single set of equipment rules and a single set of amateur status rules. After working closely with the existing handicap authorities and national associations, the USGA and The R&A are pleased to present this single set of handicapping rules that apply worldwide to all golfers.

The vision to create a World Handicap System, incorporating a single set of Rules of Handicapping and a Course Rating System, began almost a decade ago during a meeting involving representatives from each of the six existing handicapping authorities - the USGA, Golf Australia, the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU), the European Golf Association (EGA), the South African Golf Association (SAGA), and the Argentine Golf Association (AAG) - along with The R&A. There was enthusiastic interest in the concept of establishing one unified handicap system, which prompted a comprehensive review of the existing handicap systems.

This first edition of the Rules of Handicapping is the result of that review. It reflects seven years of work carried out by representatives of the USGA, The R&A, and many golf associations around the world, and in particular the outstanding efforts of the Handicap Operations Committee. It also reflects feedback received from thousands of golfers and handicap administrators worldwide.

The World Handicap System has three main objectives: (i) to encourage as many golfers as possible to obtain and maintain a handicap; (ii) to enable golfers of differing abilities, genders and nationalities to take their handicap to any course in the world and compete on a fair basis; and (iii) to indicate with sufficient accuracy the score a golfer is reasonably capable of achieving on any course around the world, playing under normal conditions. We are confident that the Rules of Handicapping meet these objectives, that golfers will find them to be inclusive and fair and that handicap administrators will find them to be a modern, adaptable code that can be consistently applied.

The Rules of Handicapping are jointly governed by the USGA and The R&A on a unified basis throughout the world. The administration and oversight of handicapping in each country will continue to be the responsibility of national associations or other authorized bodies which will help ensure the system operates effectively and responsively at the local level. The Rules of Handicapping also give those authorized organizations certain discretion to adapt the system to fit their own golfing cultures.

This is a historic moment for the sport of golf and we wish to express our sincere gratitude to all those individuals and organizations who have contributed to this project. We include in that number the late Alan Holmes and would like to acknowledge his significant contributions and commitment to the development of the World Handicap System.

 

J. Michael Bailey (USGA) Dr. Hans Malmström
Chairman (The R&A) Chairman
World Handicap Authority Handicap Operations Committee

Quicklinks

 Rules of Handicap Golf Booklet   booklet
 Rules of Handicapping  Rules
 Member Score Posting at Home  https://www.ghin.com 
 WHS - 5 Things to Know Handout  5things
 WHS - Member Presentation Part 1   GHIN_2020_Part_1.pdf
WHS - Member Presentation Part 2  GHIN_2020_Part_2.pdf

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