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New Rules of Handicapping what you need to know

• The World Handicap System (WHS) came into force in Spain on June 8, 2020.

• Both in the player area of the RFEG website and on the app (by pressing the players handicap index) you can consult a document explaining how your handicap is calculated. There are, however, certain teething problems with the app.

• An RFEG registered player has a three-month period to register a claim if he is not in agreement with the way his/her initial WHS handicap index has been calculated. Such claims may be discussed with me in advance.

• Here are some of the key definitions under the WHS:

Handicap index the measurement of a player’s demonstrated ability calculated against the slope rating of a golf course of standard playing difficulty.

Course handicap the number of handicap strokes a player receives before handicap allowances from a specific set of tees. These course handicaps are posted on the board outside the buggy desk and have columns for 100 percent (informal), 95 percent medal and stableford competitions and 85 percent for fourball competitions.

Handicap allowance the percentage of a course handicap recommended to create equity for all players participating in a specific format of play (informal, strokeplay/stableford, fourball).

Playing handicap the course handicap adjusted for any handicap allowances. It represents the actual number of strokes the player receives for the round being played.

Playing conditions calculation (PCC) the statistical calculation that determines if conditions on a day of play differed from normal playing conditions to the extent that they significantly impacted players’ performance (-1, 0, +1, +2, +3).

Home club a player’s primary golf club designated by the player to ensure their handicap index is managed in accordance with the Rules of Handicapping,

Scoring record a history of a player’s acceptable scores along with the player’s handicap index and other information (the scoring record is the information found by clicking on the handicap index on the RFEG app).

Net double bogey a score equal to the par of a hole plus two strokes and adjusted for any handicap strokes applied on that hole. A net double bogey is a player’s maximum score for handicap purposes.

Score differential the difference between a player’s adjusted gross score and the course rating reflecting the slope rating and the playing conditions calculation. It is the numerical value attributed to a score achieved on a golf course on a specific day that is posted into the player’s scoring record (this is the “diferencial” you will see on your app). This is automatically calculated by the RFEG handicapping programme.

• How is a handicap index (HI) calculated? The HI is calculated from the lowest score differentials in a player’s scoring record. If a scoring record contains at least 20 score differentials, the procedure for calculating the HI is as follows: average the lowest 8 of the most recent score differentials and round to the nearest 10th.

• There are safeguards in place to prevent a player’s HI going up too quickly (soft and hard caps) as well as well as measures in place to deal with exceptional scores (where the score differential is seven strokes or more lower than the HI).

• Although the Handicapping Rules foresee the possibility of freezing handicaps, once again the RFEG (via section Z of their rules) have gone further and will automatically freeze handicaps of 26,5 or greater, meaning only downward movements are possible. It is, however, still possible to file a request for an increase in handicap, if warranted.

• The maximum handicap for men and women is 54.