Handicapping in Canada
Handicapping is at the core of equitable competition in amateur golf, with few other sports enabling players to compete equitably across different skill levels the way that golf does.
Golf Canada is the Authorized National body that is responsible for implementing and administering the Rules of Handicapping in Canada in co-operation with the provincial golf associations.
The purpose of the World Handicap System (WHS) is to make the game of golf more enjoyable for golfers by providing a consistent means of measuring one’s performance and progress and to enable golfers of differing abilities to compete, or play a casual round, with anyone else on a fair and equal basis.
Through the WHS, each golfer establishes a “Handicap Index” which is the measure of a player’s demonstrated ability on a course of standard playing difficulty.
The Handicap Index is calculated using the lowest 8 of the player’s most recent 20 Score Differentials and updated with each new round played. The Handicap Index travels worldwide with the golfer from course to course (and tee to tee) and is used to calculate a “Course Handicap”. The Course Handicap is the number of strokes a golfer receives from the specific set of tees at the course. The more difficult the golf course, the more strokes the golfer receives and vice versa.
The relative difficulty of a golf course is determined jointly by Golf Canada and the provincial golf association using the WHS Course Rating System as administered by Golf Canada. Specially trained Course Rating Teams evaluate the difficulty of a golf course based on such variables as length and a number of obstacle factors (e.g. topography, bunkers, lateral & crossing obstacles, severity of rough, etc).
Only Golf Canada member golf clubs are permitted to use the World Handicap System and Course Rating System (as administered by Golf Canada) including related trademarks and service marks. Member golf clubs must do so in a manner that preserves the integrity and reliability of these systems. All rights to use these systems and related trademarks and service marks terminate should the golf club cease to be a member in good standing with Golf Canada