It's all change under the new World Handicap System. Here's what your handicap allowances will be for each format of the game

Loathed by lower handicappers, it’s blamed by many as putting players off entering betterball competitions. But the controversial 90 per cent allowance, which has split opinion since its introduction by CONGU at the start of 2016, is changing. Fourball strokeplay and Stableford competitions will now receive 85 per cent allowance when the World Handicap System comes into effect later this year.


Those hoping for further relief in matchplay, though, are set to be disappointed. Under WHS, fourball matchplay allowances will remain at 90 per cent.

The keen-eyed will also notice that handicap allowances for individual medals and Stableford competitions are set at 95 per cent.

Something approaching that figure has always been in place, handicap chiefs have said, but was administered in the background during annual handicap reviews.

Handicap allowances under WHS

Individual strokeplay, Stableford, par/bogey, maximum score: 95%

Fourball strokeplay: 85%

Fourball Stableford: 85%

Fourball par/bogey: 90%

Individual matchplay: 100%

Fourball matchplay: 90%

Foursomes: 50% of combined team handicap

Greensomes, Pinehurst/Chapman: 60% low handicap + 40% high handicap

Best 1 of 4 strokeplay: 75%

Best 2 of 4 strokeplay: 85%

Best 3 of 4 strokeplay: 100%

Best 4 of 4 strokeplay: 100%

Scramble (4 players): 25%/20%/15%/10% from lowest to highest handicap

Scramble (2 players): 35% low/15% high

Total score of 2 match play: 100%

Best 1 of 4 par/bogey: 75%

Best 2 of 4 par/bogey: 80%

Best 3 of 4 par/bogey: 90%

4 of 4 par/bogey: 100%

These handicap allowances will only count as part of playing handicaps. They will not, for example, have any bearing on the acceptable score you return as part of your best eight of 20 under the new global handicap system.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below or you can tweet me. Why not also take a look at our dedicated World Handicap System page.