IX. Course Rating
This is a brief explanation of
course rating, slope and hole handicapping. This information is applicable
only to courses rated according to USGA guidelines. For additional information
and definitions see the USGA Handicap System Manual at http://www.usga.org/handicap/
. For non-USGA course rating information, please contact the national association
for the country where the course is located.
1. Yardage Rating
Yardage rating is an evaluation
of the playing difficulty based solely on the yardage of the course. It
is the score a scratch golfer playing to his ability is expected to make
when playing a course of average difficulty. This rating method does not
take into account forced carries, extensive hazards or other obstacles.
2. Course Rating
Course Rating is an evaluation
of the playing difficulty of a course for a scratch golfer playing to his
ability. This evaluation is based on length, forced carries, hazards and
other obstacles to the extent that those obstacles would affect the scoring
ability of a scratch golfer. Course Ratings are expressed in strokes and
decimal fractions of a stroke.
Slope is an evaluation of the
playing difficulty of a course for a bogey golfer playing to his ability.
This evaluation is based on length, forced carries, hazards and other obstacles
to the extent that those obstacles would affect the scoring ability of
a bogey golfer. Slope is expressed as a whole number from 55 to 155. The
baseline Slope is 113, which is the Slope where a player's Handicap Index
will equal their Course Handicap. A Slope below 113 will result in a lower
Course Handicap and a Slope above than 113 will result in a higher Course
Handicap. An more complete and easy to understand explanation is provided
by the Pope
of Slope .
4. Hole Handicap
Each hole on an 18 hole golf course
is assigned a Hole Handicap from 1 to 18. The Hole Handicap is used to
determine on what holes handicap strokes are awarded in match play. This
number is determined by the relative difficulty of a hole based on what
a scratch golfer, playing to his ability, will routinely score and what
a bogey golfer, also playing to his ability, will routinely score. A Hole
Handicap of 1 indicates the greatest scoring difference between the scratch
and bogey golfers and 18 the least. Typically the odd handicap numbered
holes are the front nine and the even handicap holes are the back nine
unless the back nine is notably more difficult than the front nine.
Keep in mind that the Hole Handicap does
not indicate the overall difficulty of a hole. For example, a 425 yard
par 4 might be the #1 handicap hole on the course while a 225 yard par
3 might be the #8 handicap hole. This is because a scratch golfer is capable
of scoring par routinely on the 425 yard par 4, while a bogey golfer will
rarely score better than a 5 and will often score worse. The 225 yard par
3 is a more difficult hole to play, but has a less difficult hole handicap
because both the scratch and bogey golfer will routinely score 4 or higher
on this hole.
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