1. How the system works

The Hong Kong Golf Club follows the World Handicap System (WHS) which includes the Rules of Handicapping and the Course Rating System.  The World Handicap System stipulates as one of its conditions that a scorecard should be submitted on every occasion a golfer plays 7 holes or more. If a player only plays 7-13 holes, a 9 hole score will be recorded. Once another 9 hole score is recorded, they will be combined for an 18 hole score for handicap purposes. If a player plays 14 or more holes, an 18 hole score will be recorded. Any holes that have not been completed must be posted as Net Par, i.e. the par of the hole plus any handicap strokes received.

Handicaps are calculated based on the average of the lowest eight Score Differentials of the twenty most recent scores, and rounded to the nearest tenth.

A Score Differential is the difference between the players adjusted Gross Score, the Slope Rating and the Course Rating of the course on which the score was made.  In addition, a Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC) will be included to account for any abnormal course or weather conditions. The PCC adjustment ranges from -1.0 to +3.0.

A scorecard submitted for handicap purposes must be certified by a player in the same flight. If the player is a Member, their account number should be clearly under their signature. Alternatively, scores can be inputted via the United States Golf Association’s (USGA) Golf Handicap Information Network (GHIN) mobile app, which can be downloaded from the Apple iOS App Store and Google Play Store, or via the Kiosk located outside the Men’s Main Changing Room at Fanling.

The maximum hole score for handicap purposes is Net Double Bogey. When a player enters the score using the GHIN app, we recommend the player uses the hole-by-hole function, as this will automatically apply this for the player.

If a player starts but fails to complete a hole, they shall, for handicap purposes only, record the most likely score as Net Par.

An Exceptional Score Reduction (ESR) is applied automatically in the following situations. If the Score Differential is between 7.0 and 9.9 strokes better than Handicap Index, an ESR (-1.0) will be applied to the Handicap Index. If the score is 10.0 or more strokes better than Handicap Index, an ESR (-2.0) will be applied to the Handicap Index.

Each time a players Handicap Index updates, the new value is compared to the players Low Handicap Index from the past year and if a 3.0 stroke increase takes place, a Soft Cap will slow additional upward movement by 50%. If a 5.0 stroke increase takes place (after the Soft Cap is applied), a Hard Cap will prevent any additional upward movement.

2. How to obtain a handicap

A Handicap Index will be issued to a player after three 18-hole scores are submitted and a revision takes place.

A Handicap Index is calculated from the lowest Score Differentials in the scoring record. If a scoring record contains fewer than 20 Score Differentials, the table below is used to determine the number of Score Differentials to be included in the calculation and any adjustment that may apply. Round the result of the calculation to the nearest tenth.

Number of
Differentials in scoring record

Score Differential(s) to be used
in calculation of Handicap Index
3 Lowest 1 -2.0
4 Lowest 1 -1.0
5 Lowest 1 0
6 Average of lowest 2 -1.0
7 or 8 Average of lowest 2 0
9 to 11 Average of lowest 3 0
12 to 14 Average of lowest 4 0
15 or 16 Average of lowest 5 0
17 or 18 Average of lowest 6 0
19 Average of lowest 7 0
20 Average of lowest 8 0

3. Score cards from other golf clubs (away score)

Scores from other golf clubs can be accepted provided that the scorecard shows the Course Rating and the Slope Rating for the tees from which the round was played.

4. Discretionary adjustment of handicap

The Golf Sub-Committee may in their discretion adjust a handicap up or down if a player:

  1. does not turn in all scores or,
  2. otherwise does not observe the spirit of the Handicap System or,
  3. regularly performs better in competitions than in informal play.

For the WHS handicap system to work effectively a score must be posted as soon as possible after the round is completed, as your current score displaces the oldest of your last 20 scores.


Handicap Index

Your index is based on a slope index of 113 which is the average stroke index of all golf courses rated by the WHS. This allows portability of a player’s Handicap Index on any golf course worldwide, and its use removes the need to indices of your home course or courses.

If the golf course is rated and sloped under the WHS system, you are able to convert your index to produce a particular handicap for the course and the tees you are playing. With this system charts are displayed on the first tee for men and ladies for each set of tees. For instance a man playing the championship tees on the Eden Course with an index between 14.6 to 15.4 will have a handicap of 17. If a golf course is not rated and sloped under the WHS system, your handicap will be as follows: your index is calculated to one decimal point and indices of 0.4 or less should be rounded down and 0.5 above rounded up, e.g. indices of 5.9, 16.3, 23.5 give course handicaps of 6, 16, 24.


Post Score Cards

Members can post scores after finishing their round by:

(1) logging into www.GHIN.com then enter their email address or GHIN number and password

(2) through the GHIN mobile App

(3) through the Kiosk located outside the Fanling Men’s Main Changing Room

Please contact the Membership Office for detailed procedures.


Handicap Allowances

Match Play

  1. Singles Match Play
    Each competitor is allowed 100% of course handicap. The higher-handicapped player is allowed the full difference between handicaps of the two players.
  2. Three or Four Ball Better Ball
    The lowest-handicapped player allows the other players 90% of the difference in handicaps.
  3. Foursomes The higher-handicapped side is allowed 50% of the difference between the combined handicaps of the members of each side.

Stroke Play

  1. Individual Stroke Play
    Each competitor is allowed 100% of course handicap.
  1. Bogey
    Each competitor is allowed 100% of course handicap.
  1. Stableford
    Each competitor is allowed 100% of course handicap.
  1. Four Ball Stroke Play Better Ball – Medal or Stableford
    Each competitor is allowed 80% of course handicap.
  1. Four Ball Stroke Play Better Ball – Bogey
    Each competitor is allowed 90% of course handicap.
  1. Best Ball of Four Stroke Play – Medal, Bogey or Stableford
    Each competitor is allowed 75% of course handicap.
  1. Foursomes Stroke Play – Medal, Bogey or Stableford
    Each team is allowed 50% of combined team handicap.
  1. Shanghai Foursomes Stroke Play or Greensomes – Medal, Bogey or Stableford
    Allowance of 60% of low handicap + 40% of high handicap.
  1. Scramble – Team of 2 players
    35% of low course handicap, 15% of high course handicap.
  1. Scramble – Team of 4 players
    25%/20%/15%/10% from the lowest to the highest course handicap.

The World Handicap System requires full precision to be maintained in intermediary calculations. Rounding is performed only once and as the last step.