This new way of calculating our handicaps will come into effect in GB&I from April 2024. What is it and how does it work?
The way your Course Handicap is worked out under the World Handicap System is changing. From April 2024, Great Britain and Ireland will join many other handicapping associations around the globe by including a Course Rating minus Par adjustment.
But what is this new term we’re all going to have to get used to, and how will it affect the number of shots you receive? Let’s take a look…
Here’s what you need to know about Course Rating minus Par
What is course rating?
First things first. You need to be on top of Course Rating and it’s a metric a lot of golfers misunderstand.
The Course Rating represents the difficulty of a course for a scratch golfer. That’s a ‘0’ handicapper – not +1 or 1. Zero.
If a course has a par of 71 but a course rating of 72, it’s the latter number our scratch golfer is expected to record if they played a round.
What is Course Rating minus Par?
England Golf say it is an adjustment for the difference between the Course Rating and par of the course you are playing.
Your Course Handicap is currently worked out using this calculation: Handicap Index x (Slope Rating/113).
Course Rating minus Par is pretty much as it says on the tin. Take the Course Rating, minus the par of the course, and add that to your Course Handicap calculation, which now looks like this:
Handicap Index x (Slope Rating/113) + (Course Rating – Par)
How does this work in practice?
Really simply. If the par of your course is lower than the course rating, you will receive extra strokes. If the par is higher, you will lose strokes. This will apply to every handicap.
Let’s show how it works in practice.
In crude terms, a layout with a course rating of 73.6, but a par of 72, would see 1.6 shots added to your Course Handicap.
A course with a rating of 69.5, but a par of 70, would see half a shot taken from your Course Handicap.
What will it mean?
Players will now play to par and not the Course Rating for handicapping purposes.
With most clubs having a different Course Rating for each tee, you should start to see your Course Handicaps moving a bit more between tee sets as Course Rating minus Par is applied.
That’s not the only benefit. You should also be able to play from different tees without needing an adjustment.
These would only come into play if the pars of the respective courses were different.
Even then, it should make mixed gender events far easier to organise because all you need to cater for is the difference between the pars.
Lower handicappers could also see some benefits – particularly on layouts which have a more difficult course rating.
Let’s take our 73.6 rated course, as an example, and consider a scratch and 18-handicapper. Both will receive 1.6 shots under Course Rating minus Par. Which of those golfers, though, is likely to find this more beneficial?
And the scratch handicapper won’t see their newfound bounty subject to as big a chop under the Playing Handicap in club competitions either.
Now have your say
What you think about this? Do you welcome the changes? Let me know by leaving a comment on X.
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