2nd November 2020

World Handicap System: What is it? How does it work? Will my handicap change?

from The Irish Times, published 31st October 2020, by Ruaidhri Croke

How does the new system work to calculate my handicap?

As opposed to the old system which worked based on categories, standard scratch and buffer zones in each competition you played, this new system operates on a basis of score averages. Essentially, the best eight of the last 20 scores you have submitted will be averaged out (with other factors also taken into account) to determine your new handicap index. This index is not what you will play off but instead a base number to determine what your handicap will be for each set of tees at every course you play. As Vivien Bond from the East Leinster district of the Irish Ladies Golf Union explains, “The index is a calculation which represents your demonstrated ability but it’s what you take everywhere, it’s the portable part of your handicap.”

So I’ll play to a different handicap depending on what tees I play off?

That’s correct and this is where the new system will be particularly interesting. Every course in Ireland has been assessed by a team of course raters from Golf Ireland and every course has been given a course rating, bogey rating and slope rating.

To summarise briefly, a course rating is essentially the same as the old course standard scratch meaning that it is the score a scratch golfer would be expected to shoot at that course off each set of tees. For instance, the course rating for Black Bush Golf Club in Dunshaughlin off the blue tees is 74 (one over par) but off the white tees it’s 72.9 (0.1 under par). The bogey rating is what a player off about 20 for men and 24 for women would shoot off each set of tees and the slope rating is the number which indicates the relative difficulty of the course for bogey golfers compared to scratch golfers.


The course rating and slope rating, combined with your handicap index, will determine how many shots you get from each set of tees. Don’t worry, there aren’t any complicated sums to do at the golf course (bar adding up your shots) because you can find out what your course handicap is either from the sign-in computer or from a chart which will be displayed at every course. You can also now see how many shots you will get at each course and off each set of tees on the recently launched Golf Ireland app. Or, if you really just want to get the calculator out, the formula to work out your playing handicap is: (Handicap Index) x Slope Rating/113 = Course Handicap.

As an example: a player with an index of 5.5 playing off the blue tees at Black Bush (slope rating of 136) will have a course handicap of 7. The same player, playing off the white tees (slope rating of 133), will get a course handicap of 6. You can find the rating of every golf course at randa.org/chc-lookup

So now I have a higher handicap for competitions?

That depends on the rating of the course but, at most courses, you will receive more shots than you used to but also don’t forget that everyone is in the same boat. There is also another factor in the new system for competitions to level the playing field somewhat – this is called the playing handicap. Essentially, when you sign in on the computer before your round you will get your course handicap which is what you write on your card and what you play to. However, for competitions, the results will be determined by each golfer’s playing handicap which is 95 per cent of your course handicap. This levels the playing field by giving those with lower handicaps a fairer chance.

For example, if someone has a course handicap of 7, their playing handicap will be 6.7 which rounds up to 7, meaning they still get the same number of shots. For someone with a course handicap of 18, their playing handicap will be 17.1, rounding down to 17, meaning that they will have one shot less for that competition. The percentage figure depends on what format you are playing. For instance, for individual strokeplay and stableford it is 95 per cent while for singles matchplay it is 100 per cent of your course handicap.

So, will my handicap change on Tuesday?

That depends. What is certain is that, on Tuesday morning, all golfers in the UK and Ireland will have a new handicap index which will be available to view on golfireland.ie or on whatever system your club uses such as the Club V1 Members App. The vast majority of people won’t see a drastic change between their new index and their current exact handicap. The sign-up for the new system is open now and can be accessed on the Golf Ireland website although be aware that scores are currently only up to date to the start of October. Scores will be fully up to date by Tuesday.

How do I get my handicap down?

The same as before – by playing well. Your handicap index will be updated at midnight each day you submit a score but it will only come down if you shoot a score good enough to get into the best eight of your last 20 rounds. Remember, the index is now based on an average of those and there are no more handicap categories or buffer zones. However, if your best eight scores range from, for example, 33 points to 38 points and you shoot a round of 34 points it won’t necessarily mean that you definitely get cut because it will depend what playing handicap you were off on the day and the rating of the course. The mathematical equations are far too complicated to go in to here but essentially the key is play your best and then check online after midnight to see if your index has changed.

How does my handicap go up?

Every time you play a round the 20th round on your record drops off and is replaced so, for instance, if the round that drops off was 40 points and your latest round was 28 points, the average of your best eight will drop and your index may increase.

However, to stop handicap indexes going up too quickly, there is a built-in low memory function in the system which remembers your lowest index from the last year and compares your eight best scores to that. There is also a soft cap (which slows down the rate of increase) if your index goes up 3.0 shots and a hard cap (which stops any further increases) if your index goes up 5.0 shots.

Is there still competition standard scratch to take into account bad playing conditions?

There is but it is now called playing conditions calculation. This determines, depending on all of the scores submitted, whether handicap indexes are readjusted to take into account the conditions.

Can non-competition rounds now count towards your handicap?

Yes, scores from casual rounds can now be submitted to your record. However, you can’t just shoot a great round and then decide to enter the score. Before teeing off players have to pre-register their round for handicap purposes, either on the computer at the golf course or on the Golf Ireland app which is due to launch in early 2021. The round must also be played with at least one other person and your card must be signed.

There’s quite a lot to all of this – what are the most important things to remember for when we can get back to playing golf?

So, the most important things to remember for when you are next playing your Saturday morning competition are:

  • Record your course handicap on your scorecard (this is obligatory and you can be disqualified if you don’t do so).

  • Sign your card after you finish.

  • Submit your score as soon as you can after the round.

  • Golf Ireland is also advising players to write their handicap index and, if playing a competition, their playing handicap on the card to make it easier for handicap secretaries. After that, as Bond says, the key thing to remember is that “the software will do it all for you”.

For more information, Golf Ireland have some very handy presentations, a podcast and some short video explainers available on golfnet.ie/whs while the HowDidIDo YouTube channel also has a very good series of videos.

  June 2020 ClubV1 Members Hub App Introduction

On Monday 15th June 2020 all tee time bookings will be through the ClubV1 Members Hub App, bookings are open now.


This free ClubV1 Members Hub App is available from the Appstore and will give all members access to the Club booking system and much more (see image below of App). After you download the App, sign up with your HowDidIDo ID for those that have it or by Passport Registration for those who do not have a HowDidIDo account. Enter your email address here to register, then click on the confirm account bar on your confirmation email. When you have registered correctly you can then search for Doneraile Golf Club on the drop down menu, this will give you access to the full ClubV1 Members Hub.


You will need to have registered your email account with Doneraile Golf Club to avail of this service. If you are having difficulty accessing your account on the ClubV1 Members Hub, please email donerailegolfcomps@gmail.com

ClubV1 App.jpeg

Kildorrery Local Radio Night

Doneraile Golf Club recently participated in a discussion for Kildorrery Local Radio. This involved a lively chat about the benefits of playing golf at Doneraile Golf Club and had music and conversation from members. To listen back to this, press on the link below.



25th September 2018

New Head Greenkeeper 

Doneraile Golf Club is delighted to introduce our new Head Greenkeeper, Seamus Moriarty. Seamus will be responsible for the day to day green keeping and management of the golf course. 

Seamus brings a wealth of experience to Doneraile, having previously worked at some of the finest courses in the Bristish Isles, including Wentworth Golf Club.

We look forward to seeing how Seamus can continue to maintain the high standards set by our previous Head Greenkeeper, Simon, and wish him all the best as we await the new ideas and work that will improve our course and club. 

Welcome to Doneraile Golf Club Seamus.

Doneraile win Mixed thriller to clinch first pennant (Irish Independent 10th October 2016)

Doneraile made history at Gold Coast when they beat Tramore 3-2 in a nail-biting final to clinch their first Munster pennant in the Spanish Tourist Board-sponsored Irish Mixed Foursomes.

Battling heavy rain, Tramore overcame Mahon and Doneraile had and impressive win over Dromoland Castle in the morning semi-finals.

It proved to be a far tighter affair in the final, with the match eventually settled at the second extra hole.

Tim O'Mahony and Anne Heffernan put an early point on the board for Doneraile with a 4 and 3 win, but the other four matches went the distance and beyond.

While Sean Barrett and Karena Hunter put Doneraile 2-0 up, Keith Ridgard and Maeve Enright clawed a point back for Tramore before the last two matches went to the 20th.

Tramore's John O'Brien and Ann Mitchell made it 2-2 when they beat Doneraile's Peter Duane and Anna Cotter on the second extra hole.

It all came down to final match between Eddie Roche and Eileen Coleman and Tramore's Martin Walsh and Amanda O'Connor, which ended with the North Cork club securing a first ever Irish Mixed Foursomes pennant, which was proudly accepted by team captain Sean Collins.

Doneraile now advance to the All Ireland semi-finals, hoping to follow in the footsteps of 2015 winner Dooks by claiming the coveted green pennant.

Irish Mixed Foursomes, sponsored by Spanish Tourist Board

Munster semi-finals

Doneraile 4 Dromoland Castle 1: Tim O'Mahony & Anne Heffernan beat Brian Sheedy & Tina McGuire 2 up;

Peter Duane & Anna Cotter beat Mark Reynolds & Sharon O'Loughlin 2&1;

Eddie Roche & Eileen Coleman halved with Declan O'Leary & Maria Nolan (called in); Phelim Cotter & Eleanor Coughlan beat Noel McMahon & Joan Ryan 4&2; Sean Barrett & Karena Hunter halved with Edward King & Dorothy Brennan (called in).

Munster semi-finals

Tramore 4 Mahon 1: Neil Cashin & Sarah Howard beat Ian Bermingham & Gillian Brohan 2&1; John O'Brien & Ann Mitchell beat Pat Bradley & Wendy Keenan 2&1; Martin Walsh & Amanda O'Connor halved with Tony Nation & Wendy Nation (called in); Keith Ridgard & Maeve Enright beat Niall Cronin & Ann Parfrey 2&1; Paul Coffey & Orla Darcy halved with Colin Hussey & Margaret Donovan (called in).

Munster final

Doneraile 3 Tramore 2: Tim O'Mahony & Anne Heffernan beat Neil Cashin & Sarah Howard 4&3;

Peter Duane & Anna Cotter lost to John O'Brien & Ann Mitchell 20th;

Eddie Roche & Eileen Coleman beat Martin Walsh & Amanda O'Connor 20th;Phelim Cotter & Eleanor Coughlan lost to Keith Ridgard & Maeve Enright 2&1; Sean Barrett & Karena Hunter beat Paul Coffey & Orla Darcy 2&1.

Challenge Cup 2017

Doneraile Golf Club's ladies Challenge Cup team won the Munster Pennant in 2017 beating Muskerry Golf Club in the final at Cahir Park. This victory came about as a result of hard work and practice from the team under the guidance of Eileen O'Donovan and June O'Connor.

The win was a fabulous effort for a team of ladies that only took up the game in recent years and was a great representation of Doneraile Golf Club.

The journey to Challenge Cup glory began in early Summer with wins in Clonmel GC before heading to a semi final in Monkstown GC, which will live long in the memory of everyone present. This win over Ballykisteen GC in the semi final was hard fought and seemed to be slipping away before some outstanding golf turned the match in our favour and victory was incredibly sealed on the 19th hole. The final in Cahir Park was less traumatic but just as satisfactory as all players played well to take control of the match early and win 3.5 to 1.5 leading to joyous scenes of celebration.

Challenge Cup Golfnet Results
Area Final in Cahir Park GC
•    Start Date:01/09/2017
•    End Date:02/09/2017

Doneraile 3.5 Muskerry 1.5

Jean Harrington (28) beat Linda Feeley (28) 8&7
Noreen Roche (28) beat Angela Leahy (28) 6&4
Marie Kelleher (28) lost to Imelda Keniry (30) 3&2

Sarah Coughlan (29) halved Brenda Barry (31) called-in
Marie Murphy (31) beat Maeve Burke (31) 6&4