September - 2011
Golf Course Rating
Some of you know that our course was recently re-rated for slope by a group from the S.C.G.A., led by the head of the rating department, Doug Sullivan. Some members have asked for an explanation how this works and what it means. O.K. Here it is, but you're only getting the short version…
(Really-I'm not kidding. I did this for many years and this is the short version from the U.S.G.A. website. There is much more in regards to Obstacles, Psychological etc. It's actually interesting to read it all… if, you read all of this!) www.usga.org/Rule-Books/Handicap-System-Manual/Rule-13/
A Slope Rating is the USGA mark that indicates the measurement of the relative playing difficulty of a course for players who are not scratch golfers, compared to scratch golfers. It is computed from the difference between the Bogey Rating and the USGA Course Rating times a constant factor and is expressed as a whole number from 55 to 155.
The USGA Course Rating System is the standard upon which the USGA Handicap System is built. It affects all golfers in the calculation of a Handicap Index. Players "play to their handicaps," when their net scores (gross score-handicap strokes) equal the USGA Course Rating.
The USGA Course Rating System takes into account the factors that affect the playing difficulty of a golf course.
Course rating teams from authorized golf associations carry out the on-course portion of the rating process. Authorized golf associations review the work of the teams and then issue ratings.
Accuracy and consistency are the keys to effective course rating. A course must first be accurately measured. The measured yardage must then be corrected for the effective playing length. These effective playing length corrections are roll, elevation, dogleg/forced lay-up, prevailing wind, and altitude. Obstacles that affect playing difficulty must then be evaluated in accordance with established standards. These standards increase objectivity in course rating.
- The following are terms essential to the USGA Course Rating System:
- Scratch Golfer:
- A male scratch golfer is a player who can play to a Course Handicap of zero on any and all rated golf courses. A male scratch golfer, for rating purposes, can hit tee shots an average of 250 yards and can reach a 470-yard hole in two shots at sea level.
- A female scratch golfer is a player who can play to a Course Handicap of zero on any and all rated golf courses. A female scratch golfer, for rating purposes, can hit tee shots an average of 210 yards and can reach a 400-yard hole in two shots at sea level.
- USGA Course Rating:
- A USGA Course Rating is the evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for scratch golfers under normal course and weather conditions. It is expressed as the number of strokes taken to one decimal place (72.5), and is based on yardage and other obstacles to the extent that they affect the scoring difficulty of the scratch golfer.
- Bogey Golfer:
- A male bogey golfer is a player who has a Course Handicap of approximately 20 on a course of standard difficulty. He can hit tee shots an average of 200 yards and can reach a 370-yard hole in two shots at sea level.
- A female bogey golfer is a player who has a Course Handicap of approximately 24 on a course of standard difficulty. She can hit tee shots an average of 150 yards and can reach a 280-yard hole in two shots at sea level.
- Bogey Rating:
- A Bogey Rating is the evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for bogey golfers under normal course and weather conditions. It is expressed as the number of strokes taken to one decimal place (92.1), and is based on yardage and other obstacles to the extent that they affect the scoring difficulty of the bogey golfer.
Each obstacle is assigned a value of 0 to 10, depending on its relation to how a scratch or bogey golfer would play the hole. When the evaluation is complete, the numbers for each hole's obstacles are totaled and multiplied by a relative weighting factor. The weighted obstacle stroke values are applied to scratch and bogey formulas and then converted to strokes. Those strokes are added or subtracted from the Yardage Rating to produce a Bogey Rating and USGA Course Rating.
- Courses must be re-rated at least every 10 years, or if it is a new golf course, every 3 years for the first 10 years. A course must also be re-rated if significant changes have been made to the course.
Now, as a follow up, I keep getting asked why a certain hole on our course is assigned a number for it's handicap allocation. (Like, "Why the heck is the 13th hole assigned as the easiest hole on the course?" Usually mentioned with some sort of seething, boiling anger). That in itself will fill up several pages, so I will try to explain how it's done next month…