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Your handicap is changing: Here’s what’s happening and why

December 30, 2019

The is a new world order of handicapping the game of golf. The USGA and R&A have worked steadfastly to create a world handicap system and will be implementing it throughout 2020. Here is what is happening and why.

In short, the handicap system you know is getting 1.) Better and 2.) Global. For most folks who use the USGA Handicap System there will be little change. The current system computes your 10 best scores from your 20 most recent rounds. Under the new system only your top eight rounds will count toward your handicap, so if those 9th and 10th best rounds aren’t so hot, expect your index to improve. The 96% multiplier that existed in the old handicap system no longer exists, which should make calculating index changes in your head a bit easier for those quick with numbers.

Why is this happening? Well, shouldn’t an international game have some sort of international handicap system? We think so.

In the past, Americans looking to post a score while abroad on their bucket list trip to Scotland may have noticed a course wasn’t rated via the USGA Course Rating System. Vice versa for golfers who normally used other handicap systems. Beginning next year all courses across the world — save for a few — will have the same grading system, dubbed “The Course Rating System.” Thanks to the efforts of the USGA and R&A, more than 3,000 courses worldwide have now been added as rated courses, which will make for easier handicapping for all players.

By 2021, the golfing populace will have transitioned from six different systems in place worldwide to just a single one. Matches against your international friends will be better off because if it.

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