News

USGA Announces Changes to the Rules of Amateur Status

The R&A and the USGA are pleased to announce significant changes to the Rules of Amateur Status, becoming effective: January 1, 2022. These changes result from a multi-year modernization initiative that identified a clear need to bring the Rules up to date to reflect today’s global amateur game and ensure that the Rules are easier to understand and apply. Continue below to explore resources to​ familiarize yourself with the latest changes.

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FULL Rules of Amateur Status pdf

More Resources about Amateur Status here: https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/amateur-status/amateur-status-modernization.html

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World Handicap System, Multi-Member Account Setup Recommendations

For golfers who host multiple WHS-roster affiliations, it is a player requirement to have all scores logged to all WHS-records at all times, in order to assure that an official WHS Handicap Index® is being assigned through each outlet. Please note that if multiple independent records are currently in the WHS (GHIN) database, the ability to streamline this dual-record management IS available by requesting a merge/link of all your WHS accounts together. To accomplish this request, please issue the following information to: [email protected], dependent upon where your secondary WHS record is housed (U.S. vs. Canada-based roster):

Secondary Record ALSO from United States

If BOTH records are being assigned from United States-based WHS roster(s), identify the ‘GHIN’ member numbers assigned to each, then provide them to AGA staff ([email protected]), further indicating if you have a preference of which member number should be retained in the forthcoming record ‘merger’. Once accomplished, you’ll then just retain a singular/shared account with all new score and Handicap Index assignments reflected mutually across ALL U.S.-based WHS roster affiliation(s). Note*– For dual-members from: Wisconsin State Golf Association, Chicago District Golf Association or Indiana Golf Association each do not use ‘GHIN’ handicap software locally), please reach out to your out-of-state Association staff contact and request your ‘Handicap ID’ assignment, used for this merger process but may be different than the assigned WSGA/CDGA/IGA ‘member number’ on the localized handicap technology platform in use within these regions. The ‘Handicap ID’ will be the value needing to be issued to the AGA to formalize the merger.

Secondary Record from Canada
RELATED: Arizona/Canada WHS Account Linking Recommendations

If your secondary WHS-account is from Canada, although we cannot fully ‘merge’ these records together, there is an ability to setup a background ‘link’ within each account to accommodate the sharing of all new score postings/handicap index assignments moving forward. To accomplish this US-Canada account ‘link’ setup, please complete the following (4) steps, in this preferred order:

Step 1- Confirm that your Arizona Golf Association-based record is currently in ‘Active’ status and retrieve your ‘GHIN’ number assignment, needed for step 2.

Step 2- Contact your Provincial Golf Association staff in Canada and supply them with your Arizona-based GHIN number, requesting that they add it as a Canada-US ‘link’.

Step 3- Ask your Golf Canada staff to also provide you with your designated ‘NETWORK ID’, the value that is used for these linking purposes and is often times an alternative 6-9 digit value that may be different than the standard Golf Canada Member Number personally in use (link will not function without the ‘NETWORK ID’, in particular).

Step 4- Supply Arizona Golf Association staff ([email protected]) or your AZ-based club administrator with the ‘NETWORK ID’ that Golf Canada staff has confirmed is assigned to you. In turn, that ID will be input in the background of your GHIN record to complete the two-way linking process.

In summary, any golfer in the World Handicap System should only ever host a singular scoring record/Handicap Index assignment, even in the case of hosting multiple active club roster affiliations. If both records are resident through US-based rosters, an official ‘merger’ into one record is possible, or if the secondary record is based in Canada, an account ‘link’ may be setup to share all new score postings and Handicap Index assignments. Please contact AGA Staff ([email protected]) to present any linking request or if you have any questions that have been prompted.

More World Handicap System Resources at https://www.whs.com/

News

Arizona/Canada WHS Account Linking Recommendations

Do you host dual-WHS handicap roster affiliations, one based in Canada, the other in Arizona?
If so, there IS an outlet available to set up a background ‘link’ between them, which in turn will mutually share all scoring detail and Handicap Index® assignments in parallel, without the need to independently post scores to each.

If you are in this circumstance and desire to establish this ‘link’ between records, all of the following steps will need to be accomplished, ideally in this order:

Step 1- Confirm that your Arizona Golf Association-based record is currently in ‘Active’ status and retrieve your ‘GHIN’ number assignment, needed for step 2.
Step 2- Contact your Provincial Golf Association staff in Canada and supply them with your Arizona-based GHIN number, requesting that they add it as a Canada-US ‘link’.
Step 3- Ask your Golf Canada staff to also provide you with your designated ‘NETWORK ID’, the value that is used for these linking purposes and is oftentimes an alternative 6-8 digit value that may be different than the standard Golf Canada Member Number personally in use (*will not function without the ‘NETWORK ID’, in particular).
Step 4- Supply Arizona Golf Association staff ([email protected]) or your AZ-based club administrator with the ‘NETWORK ID’ that Golf Canada staff has confirmed is assigned to you. In turn, that ID will be input in the background of your GHIN record to complete the two-way linking process.

After all of the above steps are accomplished (recommended in this order) you should then see your Canadian postings flow into your AZ record within a few days and any new rounds posted thereafter to either record, mutually shared with the secondary account.

World Handicap System

Overview


The vision of the new World Handicap System is to unify the six different handicap systems used around the world into one, universal system.


The new system, which was introduced in 2020, will enable players around the world to compete on fair ground, in any format, on any course, without sacrificing accuracy.


As the system was adopted by all of the existing handicapping authorities and other National Associations, this collaboration will ensure the system is suitable to all golfing cultures.

When adapted, the WHS will be governed by the USGA and The R&A and administered by national and multinational associations around the world. The WHS will encompass both the Rules of Handicapping and the Course Rating System (formerly known as the USGA Course Rating and Slope System).


WHS Resources

Continuing Education

For Golfers / AGA Members

In an effort to provide a resource that may be utilized for local club member/golfer education, the USGA has produced a club-based educational PowerPoint deck that highlights the most significant WHS system changes.

This presentation is anticipated to be approximately 45 minutes in length. Please download and utilize it at your discretion at the local level and forward any questions that arise to AGA Staff Member, Derek McKenzie.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (602)-944-3035

https://www.azgolf.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2021/02/USGA-Handicap-Committee-Guide-January-2021.pdf?swcfpc=1


Get PowerPoint

Club Administrators & Facility Staff

WHS Club Certification- 2020 World Handicap System (WHS) club compliance policy dictates that at least (1) representative from every licensed handicap roster participate in a WHS Certification Seminar and pass a 20-questions quiz for the affiliated roster to be in WHS compliance. The deadline to accomplish this requirement is June 30th, 2020. Certification will be offered in two formats moving forward, each covering all the standard elements included in the new WHS Rules of Handicapping:

  • Online – We are pleased to announce that an online self-guided WHS certification seminar is now available. This seminar consists of (4) video segments followed by a 20-question quiz. Please use or forward the following link to access this seminar option:

  • Access WHS Certification Seminar

WHS Questions

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News

World Handicap FAQ

1. What is the World Handicap System (WHS) all about?
Golf already has a single set of playing Rules, a single set of equipment Rules and a single set of Rules of Amateur Status overseen by the USGA and The R&A. Yet, today there are six different handicap systems used around the world. Each is well developed and successfully provides equity for play locally, but each of the different systems produces slightly differing results. The WHS will unify the six systems into a single system that will:

enable golfers of different ability to play and compete on a fair and equitable basis, in any format, on any course, anywhere around the world; 
be easy to understand and implement, without sacrificing accuracy; and 
meet the varied needs and expectations of golfers, golf clubs and golf authorities all around the world and be adaptable to suit all golfing cultures.

After significant engagement and collaboration with the existing handicapping authorities and other National Associations, it has been agreed that the time is right to bring the different handicapping systems together as a fourth set of Rules, in support of the global game.
In addition, this project has provided an opportunity for the existing handicapping authorities to come together and share their combined experiences to produce a system which is modern and relevant for the way the game is played today around the world.
The WHS will encompass both the Rules of Handicapping and the Course Rating System (formerly the USGA Course Rating and Slope System).
2. What are the benefits of the World Handicap System?
As the world becomes a smaller place with a much greater frequency of international play (as demonstrated by golf returning to the Olympics in 2016), we believe the development of a single handicap system will result in easier administration of international events and, potentially, allow National Associations more opportunity to focus attention on golf development and strategic planning to support the sport. It would also provide the opportunity to evaluate de-personal golfing data to help monitor the health of the game.
3. How will existing handicaps be used for the World Handicap System? Also, is my handicap expected to change when the system goes live?
Existing scoring records will be retained and, where possible, be used to calculate a handicap under the WHS. For most players, their handicap will change only slightly as they will be coming from systems which are generally similar to the WHS. However, this will be dependent on many factors – including the number of scores available upon which the calculation of a handicap can be based. National Associations are being encouraged to communicate this message to clubs and golfers, i.e. that the more scores available in the scoring record at the time of transition, the less impact golfers will feel on their handicap.
4. Will the World Handicap System impact the way the game is played in my country or region?
It is not our intention to try to force a change on the way that golf is played around the world or to try and remove the variations. The cultural diversity that exists within the game, including different formats of play and degrees of competitiveness, is what makes the sport so universally popular. Through collaboration with National Associations, the goal has been to try to accommodate those cultural differences within a single WHS.
5. Does the World Handicap System have the support of all the existing handicapping authorities and other National Associations around the world?
Yes. A series of briefing sessions was conducted all around the world in 2015, which aimed to cover as many National Associations as possible. The reaction was very positive. It is also worth emphasising that the development of the WHS is a collaborative effort and all the existing handicapping authorities and National Associations who are directly involved in the process are very supportive of the initiative.
Each of the six existing handicapping authorities have recently gone through their own internal approval processes, and all of them have confirmed their support for the new system. While the USGA and The R&A will oversee the WHS, the day-to-day administration of handicapping will continue to be the responsibility of the existing handicapping authorities and individual National Associations.
6. Have you consulted with golfers and golf club administrators about the World Handicap System?
Yes. We have solicited the opinions of golfers and golf club administrators all around the world via an online survey, to which we received over 52,000 responses. We have also conducted focus group sessions in five markets throughout Europe, the USA and South America. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive; for example, 76% surveyed are supportive, 22% undecided at this stage and only 2% opposed.
7. What is the timeline for implementation of the World Handicap System?
We are planning to make the WHS available for implementation by National Associations beginning in January 2020, after an extensive schedule of testing, communication, promotion and education.
8. What other details of the World Handicap System can you share?
Further details of the WHS will emerge over the coming months. However, we want to emphasize that it is being designed to be as accessible and inclusive as possible, while still providing golfers with the portability, accuracy and consistency they expect.
Offering a couple of examples, golfers will be able to obtain a handicap after returning a minimal number of scores – the recommendation being as few as three 18-hole scores, six 9-hole scores or a combination of both to comprise 54 holes. Handicaps will not lapse after a period of inactivity and the maximum handicap will be 54.0, regardless of gender. These elements are designed to clear a pathway into the game, enabling players new to the sport to feel more welcomed into the golf community.
While the WHS is intended to encourage more golfers to measure and track their performance, it must enhance the enjoyment of all golfers. Therefore, it will be important for clubs to ensure that new golfers with higher handicaps pick up at the maximum hole score and maintain a good pace-of-play.
9. How and when will golfers and golf club administrators be educated on the World Handicap System?
The education roll-out is scheduled to commence in January 2019, and we have already started to work on a strategy for the development of a ‘global-ready’ education plan to support implementation and ongoing operations. National Associations will continue to carry out the responsibility of educating its membership.
10. Will the introduction of the World Handicap System have an impact on the current technology infrastructure?
The methods used to receive scores and compute and maintain handicaps remains at the discretion of each National Association. While implementation of the WHS will invariably impact different technology and computation services in use around the world at various levels, it is anticipated that any disruption will be kept to a minimum.
11. Is there a place I can go for more information about the World Handicap System?
You can visit www.usga.org, www.randa.org., or your National Association’s website.