At the AGM on 11th March 2021, it was agreed that the CILT Golf Society should align itself as closely as possible with the new World Handicapping System (WHS) for the purposes of competition.

The following article attempts to explain the WHS and its impact on society members and those who participate in our events.


Our original rule on Handicaps was deliberately introduced to allow CILT golfers (who are not members of affiliated golf clubs) to participate in our events. GS members (who are members of affiliated clubs) and have scored 36 or more points in one of our event competitions, were expected to give their scorecards to their club for processing – in practice, such cards were usually ignored. GS members (who are not members of affiliated golf clubs) and have scored 36 or more points in one of our event competitions, had their GS handicap cut by the GS Handicap Secretary.

The World Handicapping Scheme (WHS)

On 2 Nov 2020 the WHS replaced national golf union, including CONGU, schemes and ‘competition handicaps’ were replaced by a WHI Handicap Index (HI), calculated from the best eight scores from the last 20 rounds. At the same time an international Course & Slope Rating system was introduced which rated the difficulty of each golf course. Before play, a golfer uses a chart posted by the 1st Tee to check his/her HI, the adjustment for the Course Slope Rating and to show his/her Playing Handicap for that competition round. For details see the WHS Golfers Toolkit available on club and

For new golfers to gain their HI they must submit scorecards to their club for a minimum of 54 holes (using any combination of 9 and 18 holes). Their Handicap Index will be the lowest of their three rounds minus two strokes and continue to be built until the preferred 20 scores are achieved. Thereafter their HI will be calculated from the average of the eight best scores from the previous 20 rounds.

All golfers are encouraged to input their scorecards so that their HI can be updated and arrangements have been made so that scorecards can be recorded by any host golf club. Early indications show that this produces a quicker and more accurate indication of a golfer’s current standard of play than under the old scheme.

England Golf (EG) recognises that this is unsatisfactory for some and is developing plans specifically for ‘nomad golfers’ (golfers who are not members of affiliated golf clubs). Several software packages are also being offered for nomad golfers which replicate WHS. In order to continue to allow such golfers to participate in our events, we need to introduce a temporary arrangement for awarding an equivalent ‘GS Handicap Index’ (*HI) and update it in a comparable way thereafter.

To kickstart this arrangement, the GS Handicap Sec will calculate and award an equivalent *HI based on the GS member’s previous handicap minus two strokes. This can then be used by the golfer to get a Playing Handicap for that competition round in the same way as for other competitors in that event. Their competition scores will then be taken into account and used to update their *HI. Such GS members may also send additional competition (medal or stableford) scorecards, signed clearly by another GS member, to the GS Handicap Sec so that their *HI can be updated.

CILT Constitution & Rules – Revised Rule on Handicaps


On joining the Society, a new member is to notify the Secretary of his/her current WHS Handicap Index and shall thereafter give immediate notice of any changes. It should be noted that to be given a ‘Handicap Index’ a club member must return scores annually amounting to 54 holes in qualifying competitions or in supplementary scores. Further, only golf clubs affiliated to the national Golf Unions may give or adjust the ‘WHS Handicap Index’.

Any Golf Society member without a ‘WHS Handicap Index’ or who is not a member of an affiliated golf club should send signed scorecards amounting to 54 holes in qualifying competitions (medal or stableford) to the GS Handicap Secretary so that an equivalent ‘GS Handicap Index’ can be calculated for use at Society meetings. The GS Handicap Secretary will review scores of those with an equivalent ‘GS Handicap Index’ and make adjustments where appropriate.”

One positive outcome from this change is that handicaps should provide a more up to date and accurate representation of a players’ current ability.

Paul Symes CILT GS Chairman and Handicap Sec