Course Rating Information
When a golf course is rated, the rating team will evaluate the overall difficulty of the golf course for both a scratch golfer and a bogey golfer. The rating established for the scratch golfer is known as the Course Rating. There is also a rating for the bogey player known as the Bogey Rating. This Bogey Rating is not normally published but is used to determine a Slope Rating. The Slope Rating is an evaluation of the relative difficulty of a course for players other than scratch.
During the Course Rating procedure the rating team will evaluate the ten obstacles and effective length corrections on every hole. We recommend that each rating team play the golf course either before or after the rating procedure in order to gain further insight into the overall difficulty of the golf course.
The USGA Course and Slope Ratings are then calculated and certified by the state/regional/district golf associations before they are issued to the club.
To access the USGA's course rating database, click here.
In order to help you better understand the course rating process, listed below are some of the basic definitions used in the course rating process:
Bogey Golfer-A player with a USGA Handicap Index of 17.5 to 22.4 strokes for men and 21.5 to 26.4 for women. Under normal situations the male bogey golfer can hit his tee shot 200 yards and can reach a 370-yard hole in two shots. Likewise, the female bogey golfer can hit her tee shot 150 yards and can reach a 280-yard hole in two shots. Players who have a Handicap Index between the parameters above but are unusually long or short off the tee are not considered to be a bogey golfer for course rating purposes.
Scratch Golfer- An amateur player who plays to the standard of the stroke play qualifiers competing in the United States Amateur Championship. The male scratch golfer hits his tee shots an average of 250 yards and can reach a 470-yard hole in two shots. The female scratch golfer can hit her tee shots an average of 210 yards and can reach a 400-yard hole in two shots.
USGA Course Rating-An evaluation of the overall difficulty of the golf course under normal course and weather conditions for the scratch golfer. This figure is equal to the average of the better half of a scratch golfers scores.
Bogey Course Rating-An evaluation of the overall difficulty of the golf course under normal course and weather conditions for the bogey golfer. The bogey rating is equal to the average of the better half of a bogey golfers scores.
USGA Slope Rating-The USGA's mark that indicates the measurement of the relative difficulty of a course for players who are not scratch golfers compared to the Course Rating. The lowest Slope rating is 55 and the highest is 155. A golf course of standard playing difficulty has a USGA Slope Rating of 113.
USGA Slope Rating =(Bogey Course Rating-USGA Course Rating) x 5.381 for men or 4.24 for women.
The Course Rating for either golfer is determined by adding the yardage rating to the obstacle stroke value for that golfer.
Scratch Yardage Rating (Male) = (Scratch male effective playing length/220) + 40.9
Scratch Yardage Rating (Female) = (Scratch female effective playing length/180) + 40.1
Bogey Yardage Rating (Male) = (Bogey male effective playing length/160) + 50.7
Bogey Yardage Rating (Female) = (Bogey female effective playing length/120) + 51.3
The effective playing length for each golfer is derived by adding the measured yardage of the course to any adjustments made for elevation, roll, forced lay-ups, wind, and altitude. Adjustments are made to the measured yardage if there is any elevation change from tee to green (elevation), if there is a prevailing wind and is it a factor (wind), if the fairway landing areas are hard or soft or if the tee shots land into an upslope or on a downslope (roll), if an obstacle or combination of obstacles prevent a golfer from playing a full length shot (forced lay-up), and if the course is located more than 2000 feet above sea level (altitude).
The obstacle stroke value is a numerical evaluation of all obstacles (topography, fairway, green target, recovery and rough, bunkers, out of bounds, water, trees, green surface, and psychology) on the golf course. It is also highly probable that the Obstacle stroke value of the two golfers will be different. Generally, the nearer the obstacles are to the landing zones the higher the rating values.
Topography-A factor of how mounds and slopes affect the stance or lie in the fairway landing zone and whether the shot to the green is uphill or downhill.
Fairway-A measurement of the probability of hitting the fairway.
Green Target-A measurement of the probability of hitting the green from the fairway landing zones. The relationship between the length of shot played and size of the green determines these values. (i.e., long shots to small greens will generate higher values than short shots to large greens)
Recovery and Rough-A measurement of the probability of missing the tee shot landing zone or green, and the difficulty of recovering if either is missed.
Bunkers-A measurement of the effect bunkers have on play based upon their proximity to target areas and the difficulty of recovery.
Out of Bounds-A measurement of how much the out of bounds will come into play based upon the proximity of the boundary to the fairway landing zone or green.
Water Hazards-A measurement of how much the water will come into play based upon its proximity to the fairway landing zone or green.
Trees-A measurement of how trees effect the play of the two players based upon the size and density of the trees, their distance from the center of the fairway or green, the difficulty of recovering from the trees, and the length of the hole.
Green Surface-A measurement of the difficulty of a green from a putting standpoint. Speed of the green and surface contouring are the main factors.
Psychology-a measurement of the cumulative effect of the other nine obstacles.