Dear Affiliated Scottish Golf Clubs,Following our last update on the new World Handicap System (WHS), on Friday 27th September, we are aware of some potentially misleading communication by 3rd parties. This has led to a number of questions and as a result we would like to provide clarity on a number of these to all our affiliated golf clubs.If you haven’t had the opportunity to read our last WHS update, then you can read morehere.
A reminder: what is changing?From November 2020, the way in which handicaps are administered is changing. This change is part of the new WHS being rolled out internationally by The R&A and USGA.As part of the implementation of WHS in November 2020, the governing bodies of amateur golf in Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales will now become the official licensee for all handicap calculations in Great Britain and Ireland.All handicap calculations will be done centrally by each home nation and no Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) will be licensed to calculate or administer any handicaps in GB&I not just Scotland.This means that each home nation, within their own jurisdiction, will perform all handicap calculations from all authorised formats of play as outlined in the new WHS rules. Each home nation will then publish a player’s newly calculated handicap index and make this accessible to all clubs and golfers.
Are Scottish Golf working alongside the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) to deliver WHS?Yes, over the next 13 months, in the lead up to the implementation of WHS, Scottish Golf will be working closely in partnership with CONGU and our partners in GB&I in order to deliver the new World Handicapping System.Upon the implementation of WHS in November 2020, each home nation will become responsible for calculating and administering the handicaps of all golfers under their jurisdiction. For each nation, including Scotland, this will be done using the Central Database of Handicaps (CDH).  By moving handicap calculations to the CDH, it will mean there will be one central handicap system in each nation. This will reduce the likelihood of errors such as duplications or conflicts that occur frequently in the current setup.For clarity, Scottish Golf has always controlled their own CDH as have each of the other home nations. The key change is the CDH will now store and calculate the golfers handicap.Under WHS, each home nation will produce a new CDH. While Scottish Golf are using a different provider for this than the other home nations, the different systems will interface with each other to ensure our golfers’ handicaps are portable across GB&I which is not currently the case as presently the different CDHs do not interface well with each other.
Are Scotland doing anything differently to the other CONGU nations?Presently CONGU, as the authority for handicapping across GB&I, license the calculation and administration of handicapping to the eleven various ISVs.Under WHS, CONGU becomes the licensee from The R&A/USGA to perform the handicap calculation and administer handicaps across the whole of GB&I. No ISVs will have a licence to perform or administer handicapping under WHS in GB&I.In the rest of GB&I, a new licence is currently still being finalised by CONGU and once agreed it will be shared with all ISVs. This will give ISVs an option to purchase a new licence agreement under the new terms outlined by England, Wales and Ireland. This licence will not be to perform the handicap calculation or to administer handicaps for golf clubs.As the new ISV licence has not been finalised by CONGU, it’s not known how many ISVs will seek to purchase a new licence. Scottish Golf will not be offering any ISVs the opportunity to purchase a WHS licence in Scotland. Scottish Golf’s implementation of WHS will ensure that all golfers and clubs in Scotland will have access to handicapping software.What we have been working on is an option to ensure that ISVs still have the same functionality to allow clubs to administer their competitions and publish competition results by pushing data directly to them.
Will Scottish Golf Clubs be required to use the new Venue Management System (VMS) as part of this process?Under WHS, each home nation has been provided with the specifications from The R&A/USGA to develop software required for the calculation of handicaps.In all of GB&I, affiliated golf clubs will need to use the handicapping software supplied by their home nation, but for all club management functionality other than handicapping, clubs will still have the choice to use other ISV systems as they currently do.
Will there be any additional cost to the golf club if they use Scottish Golf’s Venue Management System?As stated at the 2018 conference and to shareholders at the EGM which approved the increase in affiliation fee which supported the investment in Scottish Golf VMS, the new system and all its club administration and management functionality including and beyond handicapping will be free of chargeto all affiliated clubs in Scotland.Additionally, Scottish Golf will provide one free touch screen per affiliated golf club at no additional charge. There will also be an option for clubs to purchase additional touch screens at cost price to Scottish Golf.More detailed communication to clubs, golfers and stakeholders as a reminder of why Scottish Golf has developed VMS will follow in due course. Trials are at a progressed stage in a number of clubs and it is estimated that golf clubs across Scotland are currently spending circa £2.5 million annually on management software.
As a golfer, how will I view my handicap under WHS?Under WHS, all golfers in GB&I will be required to view their handicap on their respective home nation’s handicapping software. This will allow them to view information such as their handicap index, handicap data and their handicap scoring record.We will be providing access to this through our website, app, direct link with CDH or in the handicapping software provided to clubs who will also have access to all these platforms.