Key Elements of USGA Course Rating System
- There are TWO elements of the USGA Course Rating System i.e. Course Rating and Slope Rating
- Course Rating is the equivalent of the current SAGA Rating.
- The difference between the SAGA rating and the USGA Course rating is that the SAGA rating only takes into account the Length of the course and Altitude i.e. Yardage and Altitude while the USGA Course rating also takes into account the obstacles on the course, the difficulty of the greens etc. The Course Rating result is a numerical value to one decimal point.
- Thus 2 courses with the same SAGA rating may now have different Course ratings when the USGA CRS methodology is used.
- Slope Rating is the measure of the relative difficulty of a set of tees for a Higher handicapped golfer when compared to a Scratch golfer.
- The Slope rating is expressed as a numerical value where the lowest number is 55 and the highest is 155
- The Standard Slope Rating is 113 . This is an important number because it is used in all the Handicap related calculations.
How are the Scratch and Bogey Course Ratings determined?
- Two key parameters determining Course Ratings i.e.
- Effective Playing Length and
- Obstacle Stroke Value
- There are standards to define a Scratch and Bogey golfer’s shot length for rating purposes to determine landing zones
Effective Playing Length (EPL)
- Five factors to determine the true playing length of a hole
- Change in Elevation
- Doglegs and Lay up
- Wind Altitude
Thus: Average Playing Length (Measured length) and EPL adjustments are used when determining Scratch and Bogey Yardage Ratings
Obstacle Stroke Value
Numerical value from 0-10 (0=non-existent, 10 extreme)
- Each hole is analysed for obstacles affecting playing difficulty and 10 obstacles are noted.
- Fairway Width at landing zones
- Green Target (obstacles, topography, green visibility)
- Recoverability and Rough
- Bunkers (positioning and depth)
- OB/Extreme Rough
- Water Hazards ( lateral , crossings)
- Green surface (size, slope and stimp)
Essential terms: USGA Course Rating System
- Scratch Golfer:
- A 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, can hit tee shots an average of 250 yards and can reach a 470-yard hole in two shots and A female scratch golfer 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:
- USGA Course Rating is the evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for scratch golfers . It is expressed as the number of strokes taken to one decimal place (72.5).
- Bogey Golfer:
- A Male bogey golfer is a player who has a Course Handicap of approximately 20 . 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. 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. It is expressed as the number of strokes taken to one decimal place (92.1).
- Slope Rating:
Slope Rating 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.
- Handicap Index:
- The Handicap Index is an indication of the potential of the golfer and is used in the calculation to determine the handicap the golfer will use on the day i.e. Course Handicap.
- It is expressed to one decimal point.
- Calculation of Handicap Index:
HI= (Adjusted Gross Score- Course rating) * 113/Slope rating.
Note: The Handicap Index is transportable from course to course AND from country to country .
- Course Handicap
- The Course Handicap is the calculated handicap the golfer will use on the day based on the tee they select on a specific course including adjustment to Par.
- The Course Handicap is a rounded number, where a decimal < 0, 5 will be rounded down, and a decimal =/> 0,5 will be rounded up.
- Course Handicap = (Handicap Index* Slope Rating/113)+(CR-Par)
Note: The rounding to determine the handicap to be used on the day is only done after the calculation has been completed.
The Course Handicap is the number the golfer will use to record their scores, and the adjusted gross number after the round will be entered into the Handicap system as it is currently done
Examples of Course Handicap for 2 different courses.
No longer Gender/Age based tees
- Handicap Index is unrelated to tees.
- Selection of tee is the golfer’s choice an no longer debates on Handicap adjustments
- A scratch golfer can play a serious round with his child from the red tees and can enter his score
- Aim is to make the game enjoyable and grow the sport.
- Novice/Older male golfers can play the shortest course and have fun.
Biggest change for the Golfers: Course Handicap
- The golfer(s) decide which tee they will play from on the day.
- The golfer determine his/her “Course Handicap” for the day before tee off
- The Course Handicap is used for completing the scorecard during play and the adjusted gross of the round will be entered on the Handicap System as is done today.
How will a golfer know what their Course Handicap will be for the tee they choose
- The handicap to be used on the day will depend on the course the golfer play.
- At registration desk in Pro-shop
- Use Course Handicap Converter Table posted at the registration desk or if notice boards are on starting tees on Notice boards as well.
- The information is available on the Terminal at the club
- The information is available on the HNA App on smart phones
- Course Handicap calculators for Apple and Android apps free of charge
- On-line HNA/GolfRSA web sites or Club web site.
Process for Amateur Tournaments when combination of tees are used
- Tournament organisers decide on course. May be a combination of the various “courses”. Thus blue, white and red.
- Information to be submitted to Course Rating expert employee at GolfRSA
- Course and Slope ratings for combined course will be determined and used for Tournament to determine Course Handicap
Competition Rules where maximum handicaps are stipulated
- Handicap Index is used when stipulating the Rules of the competition i.e. Maximum HI is 15.0
(equates to 18 handicap as is currently known on course with slope rating of 136 and Par of 72)
- Flights also determined on Handicap Index
- Best Gross Score competitions. Determine tees to be used for competition. Suggest HI as guideline if applicable to more than one tee.
From current Handicaps to Handicap Index on Go-live date
- Standardization of Handicaps on Go-live date
- Handicap system i.e. HNA will calculate a Handicap Index for each golfer using the new Course Rating and Slope Rating of the tee the golfer played for their last 20 rounds.
- The 10 Best Gross Scores will be used
Standardization Example for 18 Handicap Golfer
- 10 best gross scores for this golfer is 90 on his home course from White tees with SAGA rating of 72
- White tee : USGA Course Rating is 72.3 and Slope rating 135
Current Handicap Calculation : 90 - 72 = 18
- New calculation using USGA Rating System: 90 – 72.3 = 17.7 * 113/135 = 14.8
- Therefore : Handicap Index on Implementation date will be 14.8
- When golfer play post implementation on the same course and tee, thus Slope 135 and Course rating 72.3
- The Course Handicap will be 14.8 x 135/113= 17.7 rounded to 18
Note: Although the golfer’s Handicap Index may change their Course Handicap will be equivalent to what it is now when playing on the same course from the same tee.
Eric Lefson :
060 977 4526
Wimpie J du Plessis :
083 653 1392