As of the 1st of April 2024, a number of WHS updates come into affect that will effect how handicaps and scores are calculated and recorded, full detail and links are included below to the major changes taking place:

Course Rating Minus Par Adjustment

One of the biggest changes being made in GB&I is to the Course Handicap calculation. The Course Handicap calculation will now take into account the difference between the Course Rating and the Par of the course, so instead of playing to the Course Rating, you will be playing to Par.

Previous Calculation of CH = HI x (SR/113)

New Calculation of CH = (HI x (SR/113)) + (CR-PAR)

  • Brings us into line with the majority of countries using the system.
  • Produces bigger differences in Course Handicaps from different sets of tees.
  • Target score now Par + Course Handicap.
  • Makes the target 36 points to play to handicap, which players are familiar with.

If the Course Rating is higher than par, you will receive more shots. If the Course Rating is lower than par, you will receive not as many shots.

Expected Score / Holes Not Played

Improvements have been made to the method used to handle Holes Not Played, which will now be based on a player’s expected score rather than a score of net par. When one or more holes have not been played, this method takes your Score Differential for the holes you did play and combines it with an expected Score Differential for the holes you did not play, based on the scoring pattern of players with the same Handicap Index as you.

This new method will produce an 18-hole Score Differential that more accurately reflects a player’s ability.

Four-Ball Scores

The USGA/R&A have provided an additional clause in the Rules of Handicapping that allows the acceptance of individual scores from Four-Ball formats for handicap purposes, which have satisfied a set list of criteria.

That criteria is as follows:

  • The team returns a net score of at least 6 better than par; 42 points
  • The individual player’s score counts at least 9 times
  • The player’s individual calculated score is greater than or equal to 36 points.

An individual player’s score is calculated using the following procedure:

  • When the player’s score counts, they receive those points
  • When the player’s score does not count, they receive 1½ points – except that:
  • If their partner only scores 1 point, they only score 1 point
  • If their partner scores zero points, they only score zero points

Society/Alliance scores

Players are responsible for returning scores from any organised competition which is:

  • played in an authorised format
  • from a rated set of tees
  • on any rated golf course
  • played by the rules of golf
  • included when that competition has been organised by an unaffiliated organisation, i.e. an Alliance, Society or internal club group


Course Handicap (CH) Rounding

The full calculated CH value (before rounding) will now be used for the Playing Handicap (PH) calculation.


  • Makes players’ handicaps more accurate
  • Allows players to see the benefit of the PH adjustment
  • The difference to a player’s CH could be 1 stroke depending on the calculated CH


What do you need to do about these changes?

Familiarise yourself with the changes. You don’t need to memorize the new calculations, the computer will work out everything for you!

Remember it is your responsibility to play by the rules of golf and handicapping, act with integrity and always aim to play the best golf you can.

Please find link to pdf here with full details here

Please find link to Golf Ireland website here to find further information and some useful video explainers


Course Rating Detail
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