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USGA, R&A to develop single world handicapping system

April 19, 2017

The USGA and R&A will be working with golf’s world handicapping bodies to develop a singular handicapping system that will be applied to players worldwide, the organizations announced Wednesday.

Currently, golfers who employ a handicap do so via one of six available systems, which can vary depending on where the game is being played and what format is most popular in that part of the world. A joint committee led by the USGA and R&A, including representatives from from each authority, plus ones from the Japan Golf Association and Golf Canada, will announce a proposal later this year.

“One wonderful aspect of golf that separates it from other sports is the ability of players of differing abilities to play on an equitable basis through handicapping,” said Mike Davis, Executive Director and CEO of the USGA. “With one global system, golf courses will be rated and handicaps calculated in a like manner everywhere in the world. Reducing borders or barriers to provide an easy way for all to play together is great for the game and golfers everywhere.”

Chief Executive of the R&A Martin Slumbers added that unifying the handicapping systems will eliminate and confusion or frustration players experience when applying their own handicap in various parts of the world.

“We are working closely with the existing handicapping bodies to benefit from their insights as we try to formulate a system that will be easy to understand and can be applied consistently on a global basis,” Slumbers said. “We very much appreciate their support for this initiative.”