Handicap Policy


World Handicap System

As most of you will already have heard, in 2020 a new handicap system will be introduced world wide which will replace the many different handicap systems currently being used across the Globe. The aim of the new system is to try and ensure that any player with an official club handicap can play any course throughout the world on a “level playing field” so there will be no more complaints that players handicapped under one system have an unfair advantage over those handicapped under a different system.

In simple terms the new system the highlights of which are set out below will be most familiar to those IPGC members who are handicapped back at home under the current Australian AGU handicap system. For them there will be very few changes whereas members from elsewhere will see many more changes.

World Handicap System Key Features

  • WHS will use the USGA course and slope rating system. This means that your playing handicap as opposed to your Handicap Index will change depending on the difficulty of the specific course and which tees you are playing off. Effectively therefore, you may be playing off 14 at Crystal Bay and 16 at Treasure Hill for example.
  • A table available at every golf club/ on the IPGC website will allow all players to calculate their precise handicap wherever they play.
  • A minimum of 54 holes will be required to gain a handicap but that can come from any combination of 9 or 18-hole scores
  • Handicaps will be calculated using the best eight of the last 20 scores.
  • The 0.1 shot increase for rounds outside of a player’s buffer zone under CONGU will not be applicable any more.
  • Both competitive and recreational rounds will be able to count for handicap although it should be noted that in the UK and Ireland this will be tightly controlled and will be restricted to pre- nominated rounds. We will most likely need to flex that here in Pattaya but that will be confirmed later.
  • The Competition Standard Scratch (CSS) under CONGU will be replaced by a new system known as the Course Condition Adjustment (CCA). This is similar to the CSS where the CSS can move between -1 and +3 shots but will be more conservative with in most cases no adjustment.
  • There will be “caps” which will restrict the amount of shots that a player’s handicap can increase by in any 12 months. There will be an absolute Hard Cap of 5 shots so that no player’s handicap can go up by more than 5 shots in any rolling 12 month period. There will also be a further Soft Cap that restricts increases in a handicap of more than 3 shots in any rolling 12 month period to 50% of the calculated amount above 3 shots. As an example, for a player with a lowest handicap of 10.0 over the past 12 months if the 8 from 20 rounds calculation produces a new calculation of 14.0 then the actual handicap will be restricted by the Soft Cap to 13.5 (10.0+3.0+(50% of 1 shot)).

When will this occur?

For CONGU handicaps it has been announced that the start date will be 2nd November 2020, i.e. after the end of the 2020 competition playing season.

What will happen with my IPGC Handicap?

It is our intention to switch at the same time or as soon as practicable thereafter given that our playing season is at that time moving into high season.

The precise method/ calculation on how this is done with your IPGC handicap will be confirmed nearer the time.

Will my IPGC Handicap change materially?

We will have to wait and see by how much handicaps will move when the new WHS system is brought in but we do know that the world governing bodies have done much research and the English Golf Union has stated that most players will see 1 shot or less change compared with their current handicap.

What if I have any questions?

There are plenty of articles online that cover the planned changes in more detail so we would suggest that you read those initially for more detailed information.

If however, you have IPGC specific questions then do please get in touch via the Contact tab on the IPGC website.

We will update members nearer the time with further details.

IPGC Handicap Sub-Committee

2 November 2019



This policy is the responsibility of the Handicap Sub-committee which shall be comprised of a minimum of 3 persons. It is administered on a weekly basis by the IPGC Handicapper, Craig Hitchens of PFGS. Currently the Committee consists of David Edwards, Chairman, Craig Hitchens and Bob Poole.

Handicap changes will be made weekly, not after every competition but considering multiple rounds played during the previous week on a cumulative basis with such changes generally being available for review on Saturdays.

All members will be handicapped using a CONGU-based handicapping system. That system will however be adjusted to reflect the fact that whilst CONGU envisages players play almost exclusively at their home club, IPGC members are a mixture of Pattaya residents, long term stayers and holiday makers the majority of whom generally do not play just one course in the Pattaya region.

 When first joining the IPGC, members are asked to produce evidence of their handicap and most recent playing record from their home club by providing a link to their electronic handicap card and playing record. This will be used to determine the member’s IPGC handicap. If it is an up to date valid CONGU handicap then the member's initial IPGC handicap will be identical.

If the handicap is of another bona fide type then that will be used as a basis to allocate a handicap which may or may not be identical. The Golf Organiser (or his designate) and a low handicap member of that society should play at least 2 rounds with such new member during their first 6 games.

In such cases the handicap will be allocated by the Handicap Sub-Committee considering actual recent playing performance and the type of handicap system on which it is based.

Notwithstanding, the new member’s handicap will be subject to continuous review over the first six rounds played with changes made at any time (i.e. not weekly) at the discretion of the Handicap Sub-committee.

If a prospective member does not have a valid handicap, he/she will be asked to submit three cards for handicap assessment. The Golf Organiser (or his designate) and a low handicap member of that society must play at least 2 of those rounds with such new member. A handicap will then be calculated in accordance with clause 16.2 of the CONGU Manual and considering any additional assessments made by the Organiser/ designate and existing low handicap member.

This new handicap will also be subject to continuous review over the first six rounds played with changes made at any time (i.e. not weekly) at the discretion of the Handicap Sub-committee.

Thereafter a member's handicap will be adjusted after having played in a qualifying competition that appears on the official IPGC Monthly Schedule. All other rounds submitted by a member at their sole discretion, for downward revision only, will be considered by the Handicap Sub-committee under clause 23.7 of the CONGU system covering general play.

Handicap Review:

Should a member suffer any long-term injury or illness that they consider adversely affects their ability to play, they may apply to the Handicap Sub-committee, via their Golf Organiser, to have their situation reviewed in accordance with the provisions of the CONGU manual.

In addition, should any player record seven consecutive 0.1 increases, i.e. not play to within their buffer zone on at least seven consecutive times (excluding reduction only rounds), the Handicap Sub-committee, in conjunction with the appropriate Golf Organiser, will give due consideration to applying a handicap increase in accordance with the principals detailed in clause 23.16 of the CONGU manual.

Multiple Handicaps:

Any member who lives or plans to stay in Pattaya for more than 3 months (not necessarily in one trip) in any rolling 12-month period will be deemed to have a home course of Pattaya and thus the member's IPGC handicap will be their valid handicap. Any other handicap from another jurisdiction will have no bearing on their IPGC handicap.

For members who are not deemed to have a home course of Pattaya they are required to provide by email a copy of their current home club handicap and recent playing record to their Golf Organiser prior to their next visit to Pattaya. Such evidence should promptly be forwarded by the Golf Organiser to the Handicap Sub-committee who will consider whether any adjustment to the member's IPGC handicap is warranted.

In cases where the member's current home handicap is lower than their IPGC handicap their IPGC handicap will automatically be adjusted downwards to their home handicap.

In cases where the member's current handicap is higher than their IPGC handicap their IPGC handicap may be adjusted upwards at the discretion of the Handicap Sub-committee subject (except in exceptional circumstances as determined by the Handicap Sub- Committee) however to a maximum handicap increase as follows: -

Category 1 – 1 shot

Category 2 – 2 shots

Category 3 – 3 shots

Category 4 – 4 shots

Any increases based solely on a General Play decision by home member's clubs will not considered.

IPGC societies will accept PSC handicaps for competition if PSC members should realise the IPGC will expect those golfers to become IPGC members. The Golf Organiser (or his designate) and a low handicap member of that society should play the first 2 rounds with the new member and provide a report to assist the Handicap Sub-committee after which point a conversion of handicap will apply to be determined by the Handicap Sub-committee at its discretion.

Silver (or senior) Tees:


Applications will be considered from golfers aged 60 years and over, with an existing IPGC handicap of 25.0 exact or greater.

Applications should be submitted to the relevant Golf Organiser. The Golf Organiser (or his designate) and a low handicap member of that society must play at least 2 rounds with the golfer seeking senior tee status to determine their initial suitability for such status. The premise of playing competition golf with IPGC is that all male golfers should play off the tees of the days allotted by the Golf Organiser. As such, applications for senior tee status should only be accepted in exceptional circumstances if it is certain that physically the golfer cannot reasonably be expected to play off any tees other than the Silver tees irrespective of what handicap is allotted, it being understood that handicaps up to 54 are permitted under CONGU. If a Golf Organiser is satisfied that such criteria are met then such application should be forwarded to the Handicap Sub-Committee for final approval. The Handicap Sub-Committee will advise all Golf Organisers by email whenever applications are declined.

Once approved, the golfer will be issued with a senior tee handicap as outlined below. This will replace his regular tee handicap. Once a golfer elects to play off the senior tees, all future competition rounds must be played from those tees.

Initial Handicap:

Golfers wishing to be considered for a senior tee handicap will, after their application has been approved, have their existing handicap reduced by 20%.

Teeing Ground:

In the event the course being played does not have senior (silver) tees, play will be from the area designated within the red-tee ground.

IPGC Championship:

Golfers playing from silver tees will be eligible to enter the IPGC Club Championship or any IPGC Combined Competitions but will play in their own separate silver tees division irrespective of the numbers that may enter.  They will therefore be eligible for their divisional prize, but not the overall best net prize.

New members joining the IPGC with a PSC Senior Handicap will be welcomed in the same way we currently accept new members from the PSC provided they are aged 65 and over. The Golf Organiser (or his designate) and a low handicap member of that society must play at least 2 rounds with such member seeking senior tee status to determine their suitability for such status is consistent with existing IPGC silver tee members.

May 2017