On November 2nd, the World Handicap System (WHS) will come into effect in Ireland alongside the other Home Unions of England, Scotland and Wales.

The WHS is an averaging system based using the best 8 of the last 20 scores on your record.

This new system is designed to enable all golfers, from anywhere in the world, to play and compete with others on a fair basis.

At this point, all handicap records are in the process of being transferred to the new WHS system, which will replace Golfnet. Here are some things you will need to consider in preparation for the new system.

Do I need to do anything to transfer my handicap to the new WHS?

No, your handicap records will be automatically transferred and your club has been given access to the WHS platform in advance.

As the site comes online, which is likely to be during the afternoon or early evening on 2nd November, you will be able to create a new WHS system account. You will do this using your eight-digit CDH number and 4-digit PIN, both of which are printed on the rear of your GUI/ILGU Member Card. This will allow you to view your handicap index and further details of where to create this account will be shared on November 2nd.

If your PIN is missing from the back of your card, you can look it up on Golfnet or ask your Handicap Secretary to get it for you from Golfnet.

What if my handicap has changed significantly?

Don’t panic!

It is likely that your handicap index will change from your current CONGU handicap. This change is not an exact science as the data from an old system (CONGU) has been used to calculate new WHS Indices. While this has been done as accurately as possible, there will be some anomalies.

The Handicap Index you view on November 2nd will fluctuate as you begin to submit eligible scores under the new system. At Royal Belfast, there will no immediate opportunity to submit eligible scores, due to the winter course works and the future use of mats, so we will have an opportunity to “bed” in and sort out any teething problems over the coming weeks

However, if you feel that your handicap index is significantly inaccurate then first address your query to the M&H Committee. You can do this by emailing MandH@royalbelfast.com

In the vast majority of cases we will be able to make an adjustment to your Handicap Index and resolve the situation for you quickly. We expect to receive a number of queries, so please be patient as we work our way through the list

If we are unable to answer your query, we can escalate it accordingly.

How do I use my new WHS Handicap Index?

Golf Ireland have provided Course & Slope Rating tables to all golf clubs. These tables will be positioned in clear locations around the club making it simple for you to find prior to beginning your round.

You simply have to choose the tees you are playing off that day and cross reference your Handicap Index on the Course & Slope Rating table to ascertain your Course Handicap. Different tees on the same course could have varying slope ratings. Your Course Handicap determines the number of strokes you give or receive off the tee set you intend to play from.

Then, depending on the format you are playing (singles, fourball etc.) you will apply a handicap allowance to your course handicap which will present you with your Playing handicap.

Example: Ian has a handicap Index of 17.8. He intends to play in a stroke play competition off the green tees. Based on the slope rating for the green tees, Ian’s course handicap is 18 (he finds this by checking the Course Handicapping tables). His course handicap is further adjusted because of the stroke play format by multiplying by 95%, which leads to a Playing Handicap on the day of 17.

This is new and somewhat confusing new system which we are all trying hard to understand. Hopefully with time and a little practice this will all become second nature.

More information on the World Handicap System can be found at www.golfnet.ie/whs