Mapperley Golf Club
Mapperley Golf Club
Mapperley Golf Club

Rules of Handicapping

The World Handicap System

The handicaps of all club golfers worldwide are administered according to the World Handicap System.

The WHS is designed to attract more players to the game and enable as many golfers as possible the opportunity to:

  • Obtain and maintain a Handicap Index
  • Use their Handicap Index on any golf course in England, Great Britain and around the World
  • Compete, or play recreationally, with anyone else on a fair and equal basis.

Click to view a brief video overview of the WHS

Tap to view more about the World Handicap System:



1. Course Rating & Slope Rating

Course Rating represents the score that a scratch golfer (0 handicap) is expected to achieve on a course.

Slope Rating is the relative difficulty of a course for a bogey golfer (20 - 24 handicap) compared to a scratch golfer.

See the Course Rating & Slope Rating page.  

2. Acceptable Scores

Individual Competition rounds and General Play Scores, if pre-registered, count for handicap purposes, as described on the Acceptable Scores page

3. Handicap Index

A measure of a player's demonstrated ability on a golf course of standard playing difficulty, as described on the Handicap Index page.

4. Course Handicap and Playing Handicap

Course Handicap is the number of handicap strokes a player receives on a specific course and set of tees before Handicap Allowances.

Playing Handicap is the Course Handicap adjusted for any Handicap Allowances. It is the actual number of strokes the player gives or receives for the round being played.

See the Course Handicap & Playing Handicap page.  

5. Definitions

The WHS introduced a number of new terms as described on the Definitions Page.  

6. Know The Score

Know the Score is an educational campaign by England Golf  as described on the Know the Score Page


Further Information

Additional information and videos about the World Handicap System can be found from a range of sources, including England Golf, the R&A, CONGU and HowDidiDo, as described on the WHS: Further Information Page.