Date: April 19, 2017

World Handicap System

World Handicap System implementation schedule for Australia


23 April 2019 by Golf Australia


Golf Australia has announced timelines for the implementation of the World Handicap System (WHS) in Australia.  The first part of the transition to the WHS will take effect on Tuesday 7 May when the new WHS daily rating formulas replace the Australian formulas on GOLF Link.


The remainder of the implementation of the WHS will take place in Australia in late-January or early-February 2020.  Click here to view a resource that sets out the elements of our handicap system where the user experience will remain unchanged for Australian golfers, and also what will be new.


1.  Implementation of the new WHS formulas for daily rating – 6am eastern time on Tuesday 7 May 2019

  • No action at all is required of clubs or of Tier 3 software providers to support the changeover to the WHS daily rating formulas.  The changeover is simply something that will happen in the background – the only work required to make the change is to the internal GOLF Link software.
  • In the short term the daily rating system in Australia will continue to be known as Daily Scratch Rating (DSR).  The WHS terminology for daily rating is ‘Playing Conditions Calculation’ (or PCC).  The new PCC terminology will take effect in Australia when full implementation of the WHS occurs in late-January or early-February 2020.
  • The lower limit of the DSR will remain unchanged at one stroke below the Scratch Rating.  The upper limit will be three strokes above the Scratch Rating (which is a change from the existing four-stroke upper limit).
  • The new daily rating system is more conservative than Australia’s existing DSR system.  As a result, daily ratings at most clubs are expected to be less likely to move around after 7 May than they have previously.  The new formulas have been deliberately designed in this way.  One of the anticipated outcomes of the more conservative approach is that equity in competition results patterns across the seasons is likely to become slightly more consistent, which Golf Australia supports.  Currently the competitive bias can shift slightly towards higher markers in the summer months in most parts of Australia, and slightly towards the lower markers in the winter months in most parts of Australia.
  • The WHS daily rating formulas have a similar degree of mathematical complexity as the current DSR formulas.  They have been designed by a global group of statisticians known as the World Handicap Research Team (WHRT).  Australia is represented on the WHRT.  The WHRT believes that the best daily rating outcomes can only be achieved by detailed formulas.


2.  Full implementation in Australia of the WHS – to take place in late-January or early-February 2020

  • The precise date will be communicated to the industry in the coming months.
  • Apart from the upcoming changes to the daily rating formulas, no further WHS changes will be introduced between now and when full implementation occurs in late-January or early-February 2020.
  • Golf Australia explored an earlier implementation and surveyed a number of clubs on some possible implementation dates in 2019.  Most clubs surveyed expressed concern at the potential disruption that could arise from a major handicapping changeover occurring during what are busy periods on many club calendars.  As a result we believe the best time to make these changes is early in 2020.  2020 is also the global commencement time for the WHS.