WHS - Needs support, needs improvement or needs shooting?

Want to see your views on this, my view at the moment is mixed. Like the concept, don’t love the execution.

When it was introduced my ‘index’ dropped to 16.5 from a Hcap of 22. Largely based on one really good round, off the white tees in a club competition. It crawled back to 19.5 before lockdown. This Sunday, club monthly Stableford, off the whites and first round I entered a score for since resumption. Reasonable round but still a bit rusty. Index now risen to 21.

My thoughts are that this is way too reactive to one good or bad round. Does anyone else see this happening?


I don’t see any significant problems, but some of each player’s perception will be based on what he was accustomed to. So my first question, where do you live, which (of the six) handicap system were you used to? I think the folks who were in CONGU will see the biggest change, going from a “ratchet” system to the “averaging” system that the WHS uses. With the averaging, a single good round today can have a significant impact on the Handicap Index. Similarly, dropping a really low round off the “old” end of the list can have a similarly large impact.
Another odd effect might happen as a result of the lockdowns that occurred in some parts of the world, combined with the “soft cap”. If a HI has run into the cap, and no scores are posted for months on end, the one-year look-back period will change, and the reference low index will change. Your Handicap Index could rise without posting a single score, simply because your reference low index has changed.


I personally like the WHS a lot and think it’s a big improvement over the old system. Having one unified system for the most of the golfers in the world is a plus too.
For a lot of folks, I think the best mindset to have is that the handicap is not your “average score,” but instead is what you could reasonably expect to shoot on a good day. Putting together a really good round in a comp definitely does and should affect that (after all, you just showed what you can score!)


I don’t see much movement for bad rounds - it also caps upward movement of a handicap which is good.


If your oldest score was a really good one, and you post a new score that’s average or worse, you’ll see a significant jump, exactly opposite the effect of posting a really good score. But otherwise, upward movement is generally slower than downward movement.

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Yeah, I see that, which is why I am surprised it went up 2 off one round which was slightly worse than average. I would feel slightly uncomfortable playing off the new index as I think some comments about bandits may be muttered!!

I guess it will be more even once I have more rounds being taken into consideration. Thanks for your response.

I guess I saw that last year when I went from about 20 to 16 shooting an 81 and 82 in tournaments, but it didn’t take long to climb back to 18. One of my buddies saw some large changes, but he was a 27 and shot an 82 in a tournament…no muttering as he does that. I like that it changes more often.

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Just getting my head round this still so thought I would revisit this thread.

Weather has turned in the UK, wetter, colder and ,more wind. As a result golf gets tougher. That said, shot a decent 87 Sunday, 1 under my course handicap. (four poor shot decisions I would take back but that’s another thread). However that round caused an 85 to drop out of the last 20 so as a result my WHS has risen by 1.

This is probably reasonable as in the worse weather, I will play worse golf.

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This is something you’ll get used to, I hope. For those of us who have been in some kind of “averaging” system, including the USGA and I think Australia, and maybe others, we’ve learned to look at the oldest score (the one leaving your “last 20”)as well as the newest.

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Yeah, guess it makes sense in reflecting how I am playing ‘now’ as opposed to then. Overall I think the system works.

Nope, lost it again. Don’t understand this system so can anyone point me to an idiots guide to how its calculated.

Need to say I don’t care what the number is, I am really enjoying golf at the moment and that’s the reason I play. But I like to understand how things work when they impact me and I am hearing the term bandit a little too often.

So the average score to par for my last 20 rounds in total is +20.35. I know that isn’t how it works, its the best 8 of those. That is +19.37 (I have been pretty consistent over the summer) My HCI has risen to 23.3 over this period and I don’t see how that reflects ‘me on a good day’.

Any guidance or links to WHS for Dummies would be appreciated, I’d like to answer the disgruntled ‘how the hell are you off 23?’ questions I got during the last monthly comps!!!

OK, don’t worry, I have solved it as I didn’t understand the role of score differential in the calculation. I was still in the old days of actual score being what mattered.

Would love to hear your simple version of your epiphany. I haven’t taken the time to dive in deep to see if I can understand it, but I’m always surprised like this morning when I posted a 41 on my morning 9 and I moved from an 11.7 to a 12.9.
41 is a really good score for me on 9…so I was a bit surprised.
Dumb it down for me! :slight_smile:

I will try…here goes as I understand it.

Your HCI is what you should score relative to par on a good day on a course of average difficulty. So each course is assessed and given a Slope rating If it’s under 113 the course is seen as easier and over 113 its tougher, hence the change to the number of shots awarded (course handicap) in addition the course has a specific rating which is used to calculate score differential.

The HCI is based on an equation that calculates your ‘score differential’ and compares it to your WHS Index.

In my case the slope rating for the course is 110 and score differential 63.9. I shot 90 on Sunday in normal playing conditions.

So the equation is (113/110)* (90-63.9)=26.8. My HCI was 22.8 so I shot ‘worse’ than that and therefore my HCI has risen to 23.3.

It doesn’t really reflect shots to par, I was 22 over so ‘on par’ for my HCI.

No idea if that helps, the jump of 1.2 based on 9 holes seems high though.

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So for a player like me that usually only plays and posts 9 holes at a time, does it just randomly pick 9’s to pair up, or does it mostly do that sequentially/chronologically?

In the USGA system, they are combined chronologically. I believe that in some parts of the world, a single 9 hole score is doubled, but please do not accept that as a fact. This is one of the (few) remaining differences between different handicapping authorities.

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I didn’t think it was possible to move up 1.2 off one score! I have been posting bad scores for a while now and I move up 0.1 with each. I dropped pretty quickly last year with a few good scores, but apparently the algorithm is assuming I am long term sandbagging?

I’ve somehow managed to bounce between a 10.6 and 12.9 this year and everything in between. I’m not smart enough or observant enough to understand why apparently. Feels like my scores can be anywhere from 78 to 92 which might be too large of a dispersion between my best and worst…

I’m like 81 to 94 so not a small gap for me lol. It did let me go from 14 to 16 this year, but I feel like I should be at 19-20 :frowning_face: