WHS – Finding Your Handicap

With lockdown just on the edge of lifting for Golf, we will be starting again with WHS in full operation. Thought it would be worth talking through again how you decide what Handicap you should actually be playing with on the course, and what is on the website to help. We have to decide whether it is the ‘Course Handicap’ or the ‘Playing Handicap’ to be used.

What You Cannot Do

Just take your Handicap Index and round it to the nearest whole number. The old system DOES NOT work any more.

Always Start with your Handicap Index

You can find your Handicap Index in several ways – it will be in brackets next to your name (example below) once you have logged into the site and to Master Scoreboard (only men/juniors), or you can go to the ‘Handicaps’ page and lookup your name for the men, or go to ‘HowDidIDo’ for the ladies, or login to My England Golf for everyone. The My England Golf App in particular has a useful Course Handicap calculator too.


For competitions the job should be easy – you will be told which handicap you shall be playing with when you sign in for the round. This will be the ‘Playing Handicap’ value. On your Score Card, you will need to make sure you have also noted down you Course Handicap. Why? At the end of the round, your score based on Playing Handicap will determine who’s won, but your score based on Course Handicap will be used to recalculate your Handicap Index! – We’ll get used to it.

Non-competition ‘social’ golf

Use your Course Handicap for these sort of games.

Getting Your Course Handicap

Use the tables published on the ‘Course’ page of this site (extract below). Find the line that includes your Handicap Index. Use the table for the tee you are playing off. Note that this table applies only to the Downshire.

Alternatively, use the WHS calculator. This automatically starts with Slope Index values for the Downshire on first use, but can be changed for any other course. If you are logged in, it will automatically fill in your Handicap Index value.

In addition to using the website to find your Course Handicap, you will find tables pinned on noticeboards at the Downshire once it is all opened again.

Or, for the brave you can calculate it yourself – for the Downshire:

White tees: Course Handicap = (Handicap Index) x 129 / 113 rounded to nearest integer

YellowTees: Course Handicap = (Handicap Index) x 121 / 113 rounded to nearest integer

Red Tees: Course Handicap = (Handicap Index) x 128 / 113 rounded to nearest integer


Knockouts are matchplay competitions and so players must use their Playing Handicaps. Unlike other competitions though, you will not be told your Playing Handicap because their is no signing up step at the start.

The Playing Handicap for each player will be 100% of their Course Handicap for singles knockouts, so that’s easy. While it is 90% for doubles knockouts. So in that case, use the WHS calculator and select ‘4B Matchplay’ in the play format box:

The example above shows a player with a Handicap Index of 18.4. Off whites, his Course Handicap is 21 and his Playing Handicap in a 4-ball matchplay is 19. Each of the 4 players gets their Playing Handicap this way. Then do the usual – subtract the lowest Playing Handicap value from the 3 others to get the number of shots in the match for each player. The WHS Calculator has taken care of the 90% bit for you.

Hope that helps.