Confused as to why this isn’t forming one of your best eight out of 20 scores? Could this be the answer?

One of the cool things about the World Handicap System is we can see all of our scores right in front of us – and we can see exactly which are counting towards our index.

England Golf’s software, whether on desktop or in the My England Golf app, helpfully picks out the best eight out of our last 20 rounds and highlights them in a green circle. Others do something similar.

But being able to pour over our performances has also revealed what many golfers think to be an anomaly. Namely that there is a score on our chart that is lower than one of the eight that’s currently counting.

How can that be?

World Handicap System explained: Our expert says

Clearly, plenty of you have been bugging your handicap committees and managers about this because it came up when the Golf Club Managers’ Association held a recent webinar with Gemma Hunter, England Golf’s head of handicapping and course rating.

“Was it their score, or was it their score differential because the two are different,” she said.

Let’s stop at that point and explain what a score differential is. Every time you play and put in an acceptable score, it is converted into a score differential.

The USGA says it “measures the performance of a round in relation to the relative difficulty of the course that was played, measured by Course Rating and Slope Rating”.

So, to go all Carol Vorderman on you for a second, it’s worked out by multiplying the difference between your adjusted gross score and the course rating by 113 and dividing by the slope rating off the tees you played.

It’s that score differential that goes forward into your most 20 recent scores, of which the best eight are taken and averaged to find your handicap.

Cue Gemma. “So they may have a lower adjusted gross score within their eight, but it’s actually the score differential that is used to calculate the best eight and our handicap index.

“There’s a misconception when people see a 75 and a 74 and the 75 is counting and the 74 isn’t. It could be for a number of reasons.

“It could have been that it was played on a different golf course, or there could be two different golf courses with different course and slope ratings.

“It could also be that there’s a PCC adjustment [that’s] been applied that can affect that. So it’s not the adjusted gross score people should be looking at, it’s the score differential.”

Is there somewhere we can see that? Helpfully, there is. You can view it within your handicap record. Click on your scores and take a look at Score Diff.

Now you can take your two conflicting scores and, if it turns out the lower gross score has a higher score differential, that’s why it’s not counting.

Does that help? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me.

Need more information on the World Handicap System?

Visit our dedicated WHS page where you will find everything you need to know and details of how to contact us if you have any more questions.