How you’ve played during your round will now decide how your ‘missing’ scores are calculated when you don’t play a hole, or how 9-holes are scaled into 18
You know 9-hole scores are acceptable for handicapping within Great Britain and Ireland. You also know you are required to submit a score even if you have not played or finished a hole.
But the way those calculations are made – upscaling a 9-hole score into 18 and adding numbers to your score differential for a hole not played – is changing.
The new method is called ‘Expected Score’. Here are the key details you need to know…
WHS Changes 2024: What is Expected Score?
This is a change in the way 9-hole scores are upscaled into 18-holes. It is also a change in how any holes not played during a round are dealt with.
It aims to make player handicaps more accurate by providing a better prediction of what a player would score on those holes rather than using net par.
How does it work right now?
For a hole, or holes, not played, if a minimum number of holes have played in a round then a score is scaled up to 18-holes. That’s done like this for each hole:
- At least 10 holes played: Add net par, plus one additional stroke for the first hole played.
- At least 14 holes played: Add net par.
Even though the reason for not playing a hole had to be valid, this still raised some concerns of the potential for scores to be manipulated.
A 9-hole score is scaled up to an equivalent 18-hole score differential in a similar way – by adding net pars for the remaining holes plus one additional stroke for the first hole not played. That means 17 points.
The Rules of Handicapping say “the second 9 holes used for scaling up is always the same 9 holes that have been played”.
How will Expected Score work with 9-hole scoring?
It will be an automated calculation – combining the 9-hole score differential that has been completed with a player’s expected score over 9 holes.
The R&A say that will not take the front or back 9 of the course that has been played. It will be based on a course slope of 113 and your Handicap Index. The Expected Score calculation will be personal each player.
When the 18-hole differential is calculated, it will then be rounded to the nearest tenth. .5 will be rounded upwards.
Rounds of fewer than 9 holes will not be acceptable for handicap purposes.
How will Expected Score work with any holes that are not played?
As with 9-hole upscaling, it’s an automated calculation. It will be worked out using selected criteria to create a 9- or 18-hole score.
Essentially, it will work out a score differential for the holes not played using the scores the player has already recorded and the rating of those holes played.
The score differential from those holes played is combined with the expected score differential to produce either a 9- or 18-hole total.
If a player starts a hole, but doesn’t finish it, then a net double bogey will still be applied to their score.
Handicap chiefs believe it will be a more accurate way of calculating scores, compared with using net par. They think it will also produce more accurate handicap indexes.
Now have your say
What do you think of Expected Score and this World Handicap System change? Get in touch on X?
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