The New handicapping method is now in operation.  It is known as the World Handicap System (WHS).

Below is an explanation of how the system works, what criteria are used to calculate your handicap and the data used in arriving at your handicap:

There are 3 elements to the World Handicap System:

Handicap Index

Course Handicap

Playing Handicap

There are also 2 calculations (course & slope ratings) used in the determination of your handicap.  These will differ depending on which club and/or course you play (Click to view the chart):

St Nicholas Course & Slope Ratings (pdf)

Handicap Calculator


Handicap Index:

This is the index that changes based on your recorded golfing ability.

It will fluctuate based on the moving average of your best eight scores from your last twenty.

In practice this means that if you play in the next medal, your score will become score number 1 and the old score number 20 will drop off.

The key difference is that you no longer will be subject to a 0.1 increase as before.

Instead your new average of your best eight scores will be recalculated to become your new Handicap Index.

Course Handicap:

This is where you convert your handicap index into the number of actual shots you’re entitled to when playing over ANY rated golf course in the world.

You find out your Course Handicap by looking at the course slope charts which will be displayed at all golf courses.

To do this you take your Handicap Index, say 12.2, and locate that value in the Handicap Index column on the slope chart.

For St Nicholas white tees, that will give you a Course Handicap of 13.

This will be different for other courses as their slope rating may be different to your home clubs rating.

Playing Handicap:

This is an adjustment applied for competitions only.

It does not affect your handicap index.

A Playing Handicap is calculated automatically for you and is 95% of your course handicap.

This is only used to determine your finishing position in competitions.

It is applied as WHS recognised that without it higher handicap players gain a significant advantage over lower handicap players, so think of it as a way to level the playing field for competition purposes only.

Useful Links:

R&A Website

How-Did-I-Do Website (account required)

Scottish Golf Website (account required)