World Handicap System Update

WHS Banner

The World Handicap System (WHS) now applies.

The WHS is a joint initiative of golf’s two international governing bodies, The R&A and the United States Golf Association. These two bodies have worked together with the world’s major handicapping authorities to develop a single handicap system for the game. Golf Australia is one of the organisations that has been closely involved.

The WHS involves less change for Australia than it does for any other country. But whilst your handicapping experience will remain largely the same, we will see a few changes in Australia.

Here are the main ones that might impact you or your friends:


Bonus Reduction for Exceptional Net Score GOLF Link will apply an automated extra reduction to your GA Handicap for any net score that is at least 7 strokes better than it (go to your handicap record on and compare your ‘Score Differential' for the round with what your GA Handicap was before that round was played).


Soft Cap

In addition to the existing Hard Cap of 5 strokes, a Soft Cap is being introduced. The Soft Cap will take effect if your GA Handicap increases to 3 strokes above its best point for the previous 12 months. Once in the Soft Cap zone, your GA Handicap will only be allowed to increase by 50% of the calculated amount.


Adjustment made to Daily Handicap if Scratch Rating is different to Par

Examples of the adjustment:


If Scratch Rating 73 & Par 70; 3 is added to the Daily Handicap calculation

(ie 73 - 70 = +3).

If Scratch Rating 68 & Par 70; 2 is subtracted from the Daily Handicap calculation

(ie 68 - 70 = -2).


We’re making this change to create some key benefits for golfers and clubs.

Firstly, it simplifies handicapping by making 36 Stableford points (or net par) the universal measure of a golfer playing to their handicap, regardless of the tees or course.

Secondly, it makes mixed-gender or multi-tee competitions simpler to run which enables clubs to provide members with a more diverse range of playing options – this will also make it easier for clubs to ensure compliance with gender equality laws (


Transfer of 0.93 Multiplier

The 0.93 Multiplier will be transferred out of the GA Handicap calculation and into the Daily Handicap calculation. Our statisticians confirm this change will have no overall impact on the handicaps players actually play off (ie Daily Handicaps). This is because the slight increase it will cause to GA Handicaps (by being removed from the GA Handicap formula), will be exactly the same as the decrease it will cause to Daily Handicaps (by being transferred into the Daily Handicap formula). As a result there will be no overall impact.


Maximum GA Handicap under the WHS is 54.0 for both men and women

Note: Many clubs will operate Daily Handicap limits lower than 54 (for example 36 for men and 45 for women for any/all competitions).

As a part of the transition to the WHS, your GA Handicap will be recalculated using the WHS regulations. During 30 January your new GA Handicap will then be released for your viewing on But how much will it change by?

There are several new regulations that could impact you.

  • For the vast majority of golfers, the only change that will have any effect on GA Handicaps is the shift in the position of the Multiplier (see change D), which will cause an increase of about 7%.

  • But if you’re trying to work out what your new GA Handicap will be, you should also consider the impact of some of the other new WHS regulations (where applicable to you).

  • One example is the new maximum GA Handicap limit (change E).

  • Another example of something to check is whether you have any ‘exceptional scores’ amongst your most recent 20 rounds (change A).

More information on the WHS is available from

On behalf of everyone at Golf Australia, we hope you will enjoy the handicapping upgrades that the WHS will deliver, together with the additional improvements to fairness that will flow through to the results of Australian competitions.

WHS Logo

Join our newsletter

Get weekly updates on news, golf tips and access to partner promotions!

Golf Australia NEW LOGO White Mono_logo
Join our newsletter

Get weekly updates on news, golf tips and access to partner promotions!