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We hope you are all staying well during these difficult times.

From the handicapping side, 2020 is the transition year to the World Handicap System (WHS). At the beginning of the current year, the EGA has been concentrating on making sure that all members have signed the agreements and have posted the discretionary items with their choices. The Members’ Area has been constantly updated and also includes a document with guidelines on this period of coexistence between the new Rules of Handicapping and the EGA Handicap System.

The EGA Handicapping & Course Rating Committee (HCRC) is happy to state that almost 100% of members have signed the WHS Agreement and most have already submitted the EGA discretionary items; i.e., the choices permitted within the system.

During the last few weeks, the new WHS finally started its implementation in Europe.

Finland was the first country to transition on 20 February for a total of 140,000 players. The conversion day went better than expected. It took four hours to import approximately 1,8 million rounds and, from the first day, all players were also able to use the official App to run their Handicap with the new system. The initial feedback was positive. Most players are happy with the new system and its operation; they are willing to play more rounds to see how it reacts.

Just a few interesting numbers: almost 80% of players saw their handicaps increase or decrease up to 2 shots and 90% up to 3 shots.

Sweden switched to the new system during the first week in March. They transformed 9 million scores from 2017-2019. The reaction from the players and the clubs have been mostly positive, but with little golf played and very few competitions so far this year.

The Swedish Golf Federation ran a substantial education process before transition, including a road show, to all parts of the country targeting handicap committees with material that the clubs themselves could use, an online system that both clubs and players could use, and webinars just before and after the transition regarding practical IT solutions.

Other countries have already implemented WHS (e.g., Poland) and others were just about to switch before COVID-19 caused the closure most golf courses in Europe.

At the moment, golf is at a standstill in most of Europe. Everybody’s priority must be to stay safe and take care of themselves. The consequence is that players could have fewer scores in their records for WHS implementation. However, although additional scores can help, we would like to remind you that it is possible to transition to WHS despite a paucity of scores; see the WHS handicapping table and the EGA’s guidelines on transition.

The HCRC remains available to assist all members on any matter concerning transition and implementation.