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WHS Update November 2021

Posted on 10/11/2021

It’s been almost 1 year since we went live with one of the biggest changes in golf in recent times. The new World Handicap System (WHS) allows golfers to have a handicap which is portable around the world and aims to welcome more golfers into the game by making it easier to understand.  
 
Since going live with WHS on 2nd November in Scotland, there have been an incredible 1.9 million scores submitted through the system. All scores have been calculated correctly, providing golfers with an updated Index that is reflective of their demonstrated ability overnight.
 
We are delighted to see that over 244,000 golfers in Scotland have also now registered for the Scottish Golf App. The App, which has a variety of different functions from allowing General Play scores to Course Look up information, is the go-to place for News and Handicap information in Scotland. 
 
General Play is a new feature under WHS that allows golfers to play for their handicap at any time using the Scottish Golf App. Since launch, over 350,000 General Play scores have been submitted, with 200,000 of these being processed through the Scottish Golf App. 
 
It has been a busy year for all associated with Handicapping in Scotland and we wanted to provide all clubs with a brief update on some key points as we continue to work together to embed the new system. 


International score submission is now available in the Scottish Golf App. This means that any Scottish Golfer with a WHS index who has registered for the App can submit their competition or general play scores directly into the Scottish Golf App.

All the safeguards that are in place for home general play scores are also in place for international score submission:

1. Geo Location – you must be at the course to pre-register for the round.
2. Time submission – there is a time delay meaning that your score can only be submitted once a particular time has passed.
3. Marker verification – your score must be verified by a marker and their details submitted.

This new functionality will mean all scores can be submitted on the day of play and a players handicap index will be calculated ready for the following day no matter where they are in the world.


As part of the ongoing work on WHS integration, Scottish Golf and England Golf are currently working together alongside The R&A and the WHS Interoperability Group on a new pilot scheme.

The pilot scheme aims to develop and improve functionality of the WHS for golfers and golf clubs and provide a greater connection between the operating systems of national associations.

National associations around the world are already unified in using the WHS to provide a standardised method of calculating a golfer’s Handicap Index which can then be translated into a Course Handicap and Playing Handicap.

Furthermore, in Scotland we have adopted an operating system to ensure the successful roll out of the WHS.

In England and other countries across world, the administration system chosen to implement the same WHS calculation does vary in design.

This pilot scheme between Scotland and England will help provide a blueprint that allows each platform to ‘speak’ to each other and allow greater connectivity between national associations in the future.

Stage one of the pilot will give clubs in Scotland and England the ability to look up the Handicap Index of a player from either territory simply by inputting the individual’s ID number into their existing WHS platform. This is now available in the Scottish Golf WHS CDH lookup that all Scottish Golf clubs have access to, just go to the WHS CDH lookup and you will now see a cross-border lookup option.

Stage two of the pilot will focus on the ability to automatically transfer scores from WHS approved software providers for rounds played and submitted at clubs in England to a player’s Scottish record and vice-versa. Clubs should note that Scottish Golfers can already submit scores from other jurisdictions directly into the Scottish Golf App. All golfers have received direct communication outlining this functionality.

There is a long-standing tradition of golfers from both sides of the border enjoying trips either north or south to experience new courses or re-visit old favourites.

As a consequence, Scottish Golf and England Golf fully recognise the importance of this pilot and are working in close collaboration with The R&A and the WHS Interoperability Group as we move towards a fully connected WHS.


As we come to the end of the first year of WHS, clubs will be looking to potentially start their memberships’ annual handicap review.

As we approach the one year anniversary we are undertaking a review of all the reports and associated data that are currently available within the CDH with a view to identifying what additional tools we can provide to clubs in order to undertake the annual review accurately and seamlessly.

It is important to remember that as WHS is a reflection of a players current demonstrated ability, we expect to see less recommended adjustments than under the previous CONGU UHS which was based on potential ability.

There will be further documentation and reports made available to clubs over the winter and we are not recommending clubs do any reviews until a final suite of reports are made available. We will provide more detail over the coming months once we have had a chance internally to undertake further analysis of the data at a national level.


As we move into winter we are starting to receive a large number of emails about guidance for playing an altered course. We have put together a winter guidance document that can be found here.


We have made large strides in cleansing the CDH database removing more than 120,000 duplicate CDH IDs from the System.

We still have a long way to go as we still have around 290,000 live CDH IDs which doesn’t correspond to the membership returns provided by clubs.

Can we please ask where possible that all the data fields are filled in against a golfer record (email and DOB being strong identifiers of duplicates)

Any golfer that leaves your club should be resigned/released correctly from your club software. Golf clubs should be reviewing their club records against the WHS CDH list to ensure the player has been removed and that the lists match. We are still receiving emails from clubs outlining that the WHS CDH and the club’s database do not match and this is causing issues for the club and the golfers when trying to move clubs.


Clubs should also have access to all the tools they need to address any anomalies that are having a material effect on any of their members’ records.

Adjustment Tool Video
General Play Tool Video
Away General Play Tool Video
CDH Lookup Tool Video
Override Low Handicap Index Video

We have also added additional reports that can be accessed through the WHS CDH portal. They include:

Active General Play Scores
GP History
Penalty History
PCC History
Exceptional Scores

We have put together a document that can be accessed here which helps explain all the different tools and reports in the WHS CDH.

If you have still not set up access to your club platform please contact us at [email protected] and our team will be able to walk you through how to do this. 

Scottish Golf also held a Webinar for club officials where we discussed some of the frequently asked questions from club administrators on WHS. A link to the Webinar can be found here.

You can also access our WHS / App FAQ’s here.




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