Golfers north of the border flocked to put in general play scores as the new global system got under way, but the governing body stresses it will press on with education programmes

More than 2,000 golfers submitted general play scores in Scotland as the World Handicap System completed its first week.

David Kernohan, Scottish Golf’s head of handicapping and course rating, said the governing body had been delighted with the response from players, who took the chance to put WHS to the early test by logging scores from casual rounds.

With English clubs now under lockdown, Welsh clubs shut last week, and Irish clubs remaining closed, Scottish golfers have been the only ones to have a full seven days getting used to the new ways of handicapping.

Of those general play scores, 1,300 were logged directly through Scottish Golf’s app and Kernohan believes the initial response to WHS has been positive. 

“From a WHS system perspective, it’s gone very well,” he explained. “All the scores we’ve seen going into the system have been calculated correctly, and are all being uploaded to a player’s record the following day. General play has been a massive success.

“Golfers, generally, love putting scores in against their handicap and it has been an opportunity for them to see how a score would affect their WHS index and how quickly that would align to their demonstrated ability.

“It hasn’t surprised us because we knew the opportunity that general play would bring but it has been exciting to see all the scores coming through the system.”

He added more education was still needed – both to help players and clubs get used to the new system and to navigate the massive change of converting WHS indexes into Course Handicaps.

“The challenge has been the transition and educating golfers and golf clubs on why members’ handicaps look like they do,” Kernohan said.

“We went live with the projected WHS index the week before launch – so we could get feedback from golfers and clubs. 

“We then put a lot of fixes into that initial calculation to get it as accurate as possible for as many golfers as possible.

“Once we get that transitional period over, and we can get everyone’s handicaps as accurate as they can be through the tools were are providing the golf club, we are really confident the new system is going to work as expected.

“The other challenge has been potentially understanding how the system works – so the handicap index as opposed to the course handicap.

“A lot of players have had their handicap index calculated accurately but then potentially haven’t understood how that index could potentially change as they go and play different courses, and when you apply the Course Handicap calculation to that handicap index.

“It’s definitely a big job moving forward from an education viewpoint but, as far as week one of WHS is concerned, we are really happy with how it has gone.”

Kernohan said the easiest way for players to get to grips with WHS was to get out onto the course, play, and submit scores.

“We’re at a time where competition golf probably isn’t being used as much so golfers can start submitting some general play scores and seeing how their handicap recalculates the following day.

“That’s probably the biggest opportunity to help understand the system. But it’s been great to see the buzz around handicapping and great to see everyone taking an interest in their handicap record and their new WHS index.

“It’s definitely been a big talking point over the last week and will continue to be going forward.”

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.

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