Will we ever be able to put the ‘world’ in World Handicap System? England Golf have revealed a little more about the possible timeline, as Steve Carroll reports
I was in Scotland recently playing Carnoustie. One of the toughest tracks on the Open rota, it’s nicknamed ‘Carnasty’ for a reason. It’s a thrilling blend of technique and toughness and I was itching to meet the challenge and put my handicap mark on the line on each of its glorious 18 holes.
Only I couldn’t – at least not without the process being convoluted. Yes, the globe hasn’t quite caught up with the World Handicap System yet and the process of making it more interlinked, and easier for us to put scores in wherever we are in the world, continues to be just a little frustrating.
But there could soon be light at the end of what’s been a long tunnel. Last October, Gemma Hunter, England Golf’s head of handicapping and course rating, revealed an “interoperability” project the governing body was working on with Scottish Golf on behalf of the R&A and USGA.
A key part of a two-pronged pilot is focusing on the “ability to automatically transfer scores from rounds played and submitted in England to a player’s Scottish record and vice-versa”.
In a WHS and iGolf update at a webinar hosted by the Golf Club Managers’ Association, Hunter revealed the fruits of this pilot may not be too far away – and that England Golf were lining up more countries with whom we could soon connect.
“We’ve been working – ourselves and Wales Golf – with Scottish Golf and our relevant technology partners on a pilot scheme along with the R&A and USGA interoperability group,” she explained.
“We have been working on the pilot. We are in the final stages of testing that now and we hope that we will have something by the end of May and that will be rolled out.
“So it is getting nearer. Firstly, we will be able to communicate with Scottish Golf and Scottish golf clubs.
“From then on, once that pilot programme has been approved, we will start to look to roll that out around the world in terms of picking off key countries where our golfers play.
“I have already created a hit list of the next five or six countries we may be looking at connectivity with but, obviously, eventually it will be a global connection.
“But some countries aren’t as far on in their development in terms of technology as maybe we are, so we’re having to be quite strategic on who we will link up with to start off with before giving everybody else time to catch up.”
Need more information on the World Handicap System?
Visit our dedicated WHS page where you will find everything you need to know and details of how to contact us if you have any more questions.