World Handicap System

The Handicap Index in World Handicap System (WHS) is the designation of “the measure of a player’s demonstrated ability on a course of standard relative playing difficulty (that is, a course with a Slope Rating of 113)”. It is expressed as a number taken to one decimal place, to a maximum value of 54,0.

The player must have only one Handicap Index and use it around the world at whatever course he (or she) is playing.


Handicap Index calculation in WHS

Handicap Index is recalculated recurrently after each submitting of an acceptable score. Whole process of Handicap adjustment is presented at the picture below as Handicap Calculation Loop.

Handicap Index calculation
Subsequent steps of Handicap calculations in Handicap Calculation Loop


  • Handicap Index is the average value of the lowest 8 of the most recent 20 Score Differentials in the player’s scoring record.
  • Score Differential is the numerical value attributed to a score (Adjusted Gross Score) achieved during a round of golf. It is calculated by de-sloping the score back to a course of standard difficulty.
  • Adjusted Gross Score is the number of strokes scored on all holes, adjusted for net double bogey on a holes, where number of strokes exceeds net double bogey (hole par + 2 + handicap strokes received on this hole).
  • Number of handicap strokes is determined by Course Handicap. It is the number of strokes a player receives for a specific set of tees at the course being played. A player is entitled to deduct these strokes from his gross score.
  • Course Handicap is a Handicap Index adjusted for the playing difficulty from a specific set of tees. It is calculated on the base of the Course Rating, Slope Rating and par.
  • Scoring Record is a register of a player’s submitted scores.


Available Calculators

Online calculators of different “handicap” values are available at the following subpages. Please select appropriate link below or tab on the right menu.

Initial Handicap Index – calculation of the first Handicap Index of a beginner after submitting acceptable scores.

Adjusted Gross Score – calculation of the adjusted number of strokes taken for handicap purposes.

Score Differential – calculation of the final score of the round for handicap purposes.

Handicap Index – calculation of new Handicap after submitting an acceptable score.

Course/Playing Handicap – calculation of Course Handicap and Playing Handicap of the player.

Playing Handicap of Side – calculation of Playing Handicap of the 2-player team for Foursomes, Greensomes and Texas Scramble competitions.


All calculations meet Rules of Handicapping.

The link to the website dedicated to WHS:



Menu path:

update: May 2021