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It’s been the bane of club golfers across the UK – but the World Handicap System flaw is finally getting fixed

Golf's governing bodies in England and Scotland have announced a solution to a WHS issue is imminent. Steve Carroll reports
 

A pilot scheme which should allow golfers in England and Scotland to more easily cross borders and put in a score for handicap is set to be unveiled next year.

England Golf have given details of the World Handicap System integration project they are working on with Scottish Golf alongside the R&A and the WHS Interoperability Group.

Despite being one of the key planks on which WHS was sold – the chance to record an acceptable score that counts on courses across the globe – the reality for golfers has been different.

Back in April, we reported how various systems managing WHS across a number of jurisdictions couldn’t talk to each other. That has meant golfers haven’t been able to use their digital app or a touchscreen to submit scores in some other countries – instead having to carry out a convoluted process, which included pre-registering intent to score at the course played, submitting it, and then taking a copy or photograph of the scorecard and handing it into home clubs.

Now part of this two-pronged pilot will focus on the “ability to automatically transfer scores from rounds played and submitted at clubs in England to a player’s Scottish record and vice-versa”.

England Golf said they aim to have that available in 2022.

Looking at the background, the Woodhall Spa-based body explained that England, Wales and Ireland had adopted the same operating system to roll out the World Handicap System but in Scotland, and other countries around the world, “the administration system chosen to implement the same WHS calculation does vary in design”.

They continued: “The pilot scheme between England and Scotland will help provide a blueprint that allows each platform to ‘speak’ to each other and allow greater connectivity between national associations in the future”.

The other part of the scheme will give clubs in both countries the ability to look up the handicap index of a player by inputting their ID number into the system. That is already available through England Golf’s WHS platform.

England Golf said: “There is a long-standing tradition of golfers from both sides of the border enjoying trips either north or south to experience new courses or re-visit old favourites.

“As a consequence, England Golf and Scottish Golf fully recognise the importance of this pilot and are working in close collaboration with The R&A and the WHS Interoperability Group as we move towards a fully connected WHS.”

Want more from the World Handicap System?

Visit our dedicated WHS page to keep up to speed.

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Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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