Future World Handicap System changes in 2024 will improve index reliability and timeliness

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a surge in golf's popularity, with 3.3 million new players in the United States in 2022.

Nine-hole rounds of golf have become increasingly popular, and many golfers prefer them.

The World Handicap System (WHS) introduced significant changes to account for nine-hole rounds and those playing fewer than 18 holes.

Starting in January, the WHS will use an "expected score" formula to adjust nine-hole scores to 18-hole differentials.

This formula is based on data from the 100 million scores recorded annually worldwide under the WHS.

The new formula applies to your handicap index and calculates an expected score for the remaining holes you didn't play.

It replaces the old method of using a net par score for any missing holes and is designed to work on standard golf courses.

In the past, golfers had to wait for a matching nine-hole score to create an 18-hole handicap number, which sometimes led to inconsistencies.

The WHS changes aim to offer a more consistent and responsive approach to reflect golfers' true abilities.

In 2024, the USGA and R&A will reduce the minimum yardage required for courses to be included in the Course Rating System, making it more inclusive for short courses and accommodating new players learning the game.

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