How your handicap will change in 2024

A stack of golf scorecards

A brand new system will permit scores from quick programs and 9-hole rounds.

Getty Photos

Glad (nearly) New Yr!

Now that we’ve bought your consideration, an vital reminder: although your golf sport may not get extra correct in 2024, your handicap will.

On Jan. 1, the World Handicap System, which was established in 2020 to unify golfers across the globe by means of a normal measure of enjoying potential, can be up to date. 

The modifications, carried out by the USGA and R&A, are supposed to create a system that extra precisely displays how the sport is performed at the moment.

And the way is the sport performed at the moment?

More and more, in 9-hole rounds, on shorter courses

The up to date system will accommodate that new actuality.

Right here’s a refresher on the modifications.

Posting scores for 9-hole rounds

Should you’re like a variety of golfers, you play a variety of 9-hole rounds. And no surprise. They’re enjoyable. They’re quick. The match properly along with your go-go way of life. Drawback is, in lots of nations, america included, a single 9-hole spherical can’t be counted towards your handicap index. Below the present system, it’s important to wait till you play one other 9, after which mix these two scores into an 18-hole whole.

As of the brand new yr, that may change. Relatively than make you wait till you play one other 9 on one other day, and perhaps even on one other course (components that may introduce every kind of variables), the up to date system will assist you to publish your rating instantly, which it should use to provide an 18-hole tally that mixes your rating for the holes you accomplished along with your “anticipated rating” on the remainder — your anticipated rating being what a participant of your potential can be anticipated to shoot on a course of ordinary problem.

Posting scores for rounds of 10-17 holes

Yeah, we all know. Enjoying 10 to 17 holes is rather a lot much less frequent than enjoying 9. But it surely occurs, often when darkness or climate intervenes. The brand new system can have a greater manner of dealing with these rounds, too. For starters, you received’t must play 13 holes to make it official; beneath the present system, should you don’t make it by means of 13, your scores on holes 10, 11 and 12 don’t rely. What’s extra, as a substitute of utilizing web par to calculate an 18-hole rating, because the system presently does, the up to date WHS will add the participant’s Rating Differential from holes performed to the participant’s anticipated Rating Differential for holes not performed. It’s, in brief, a extra correct manner of accounting for the holes you didn’t get to.

Posting scores for rounds on quick programs

Par-3 and govt programs are all the fashion today. However as a result of many of those programs had not beforehand been assigned a Course Score and Slope Score, the scores you posted on them couldn’t be counted towards your handicap, both. On Jan. 1, that, too, will change. Below the brand new system, the size necessities for inclusion within the WHS can be considerably lowered, with programs as quick as 750 yards for 9 holes and 1,500 for 18 holes introduced into the fold.

As you may most likely think about, this isn’t a change that has occurred in a single day. To organize for it, the USGA — with assist from its allied golf associations across the nation — has been busy dispatching raters to quick programs from coast to coast. That work continues to be in progress. Because it stands, a bit greater than one-third of eligible quick programs have been assigned Course and Slope Scores. Plans name for half of them to be rated by the spring of 2024, and the remainder accomplished by the tip of the yr.

Handicap changes primarily based on irregular situations

Golf is performed in variable situations. That’s one of many beauties of the sport. But it surely additionally makes it tough on handicapping. The present WHS make automated changes for irregular course situations (issues like excessive winds and standing water and floor beneath restore). But it surely may very well be extra exact. As of Jan. 1, the up to date system can be extra delicate to irregular situations, and thus higher in a position to precisely alter for them. 

Extra steerage for handicap committees

Final however not least (nicely, truly, it’s the least related to the non-tournament rounds of golf most of us play), the up to date system will present further steerage to handicap committees conducting handicap opinions, with new instruments to assist type by means of the potential headache of outlier scores and different inconsistencies.  

Josh Sens

Golf.com Contributor

A golf, meals and journey author, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Journal contributor since 2004 and now contributes throughout all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Greatest American Sportswriting. He’s additionally the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Enjoyable But: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.

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