Most golfers know a fellow player who believes they aren’t good enough to hold a handicap. Edmonson laughs at the thought because it goes completely against the goal of the Handicap Index.
“That’s still a myth that still we get challenged on,” Edmondson said of the not good enough notion. “We were very intentional with the 2020 release to say our maximum Handicap Index is 54.0 for both men and women. We did that for a very deliberate reason. A Handicap Index is meant to provide greater enjoyment. It’s not meant to provide greater enjoyment for just those that are elite or better at the game, it’s meant so you and I can go out there, you’re a 12, I’m a 24, and we can compete and have fun and it does precisely that.”
“The message is to double down and make sure that players understand a Handicap Index is absolutely for everyone. It’s not for competition purposes only, even though it’s great for that purpose. Tracking one’s individual game and performance has really resonated and started to make a difference because so many people coming into the game who want to see their progress over time.”
The governing bodies will continue to review the WHS at regular intervals, just as they do with regard to the Rules of Golf and Rules of Amateur Status.
“We have made good progress in the early stages of WHS but we know there are always areas that can be improved as we gather more data and information on the system from around the world,” said Claire Bates, the R&A’s Director of Handicapping. “Conducting a regular review process is important in terms of good governance and enables us to examine some of the key areas in which we have received feedback.”
Beyond 2024, the WHS will likely delve deeper into hole-by-hole characteristics. There currently isn’t enough information for the hole characteristics, and the WHS would love to have a system where it knows the uniqueness of every golf course carry versus tree line versus whatever the significant obstacles are, and then be able to compare how different players fared.
The folks at the USGA want to continue to evolve and improve the WHS for all different types of players. They want a system in place that represents an ever-evolving sport that meets the game where it’s moving next.
To learn more about the WHS and take the next step towards holding a handicap, visit here.