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World Handicap System

The software flaw that takes the ‘world’ out of World Handicap System

WHS was meant to unify golfers from all countries, but venture over borders for a round and you'll have to do things the old fashioned way. Steve Carroll explains
 

The clue is in the name. World Handicap System. A global order where your handicap would be recognised anywhere on the planet, where you’d be able to put in a score that counted whether you were in Spain, America or Argentina.

But it turns out that, for the time being, the new ways will require a little more effort than you might originally have anticipated.

NCG has been told that, at present, some of the various software systems managing WHS across various jurisdictions can’t talk to each other.

So you can’t currently use your digital app to submit scores in other countries – and typing your name into a touchscreen on another continent may come up with a blank.

Hope is not lost. You can still play a meaningful game that impacts your handicap while on your travels. For the moment, though, you’ll have to go old school.

To play golf in another country, and put in a general play score, you’ll have to pre-register your intent at the course you are playing – presumably by telling the pro or the secretary – and record your numbers on a paper scorecard in the traditional way.

You’ll still have to get a marker to verify your card and, when you’re finished, you’ll submit your score at the course.

But there’s more.

You’ll also have a take a copy of the card, or a photograph of it, and then hand that over to your home club.

It might be a bit more effort than you’d imagined but at least we’ll still have the option to add a round for handicap at a bucket list venue.

I’m told that a long-term global solution is being sought to make this process digital and easier in the future. So watch this space.

Are you planning to put in a general play score on your travels this year? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me.

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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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