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USGA Course & Slope Ratings Defined

Golfing With Kids

The following short excerpts from USGA Handicap System, pages 46, 47, 48 and 50, are provided with the approval of the USGA. Study of the entire system is necessary for a complete understanding. See below for ordering information of the entire booklet USGA Handicap System from the USGA in Far Hills, New Jersey.)

USGA COURSE RATING

"USGA Course Rating" is a USGA mark that indicates the evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for scratch golfers under normal course and weather conditions. It is expressed as strokes taken to one decimal place, and is based on yardage and other obstacles to the extent that they affect the scoring ability of a scratch golfer. Courses are rated by authorized golf associations, not by individual clubs. (See Section 14 of USGA Handicapping System)
Note: Yardage Rating and USGA Course Rating are not to be confused with par. Par is not an accurate measure of the playing difficulty of a golf course. It is possible for two golf courses to have the same par, but have very different Course Ratings and Yardage Ratings. [13-1.e]

COURSE RATING PROCEDURES

Components: USGA Course Ratings and Slope Ratings are determined by authorized golf associations through the following components:
(i) Effective playing length is obtained from official measurements of the course and an evaluation of the factors that cause the course to play significantly longer or shorter than its measured length (Section 13-1.d). Yardage must be measured accurately. An error of only 22 yards in overall length will change the Course Rating by 0.1 strokes for men. An error of only 18 yards will change the Course Rating by 0.1 strokes for women.
(ii) Yardage Ratings for both scratch and bogey golfers are determined by applying the effective playing length to the appropriate USGA Yardage Rating formulas (Sections 13-1.d. and 13- 3.d) 2
(iii) USGA Course Rating is the scratch Yardage Rating of a course modified by the obstacle factors as they affect the scratch golfer. (Section 13-1.e)
(iv) Bogey rating is the bogey Yardage Rating of a course modified by the obstacle factors as they affect the bogey golfer. (Section 13-1.g and 13-3.f)[13-3.a]

SCRATCH GOLFER

(i) Man - The scratch golfer is an amateur player who plays to the standard of the stroke-play qualifiers competing in the U.S. Amateur Championship. A male scratch golfer can hit tee shots an average of 250 yards and can reach a 470-yard hole in two shots.
(ii) Woman - The scratch golfer is an amateur player who plays to the standard of the match-play qualifiers in the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship. A female scratch golfer can hit tee shots an average of 210 yards and can reach a 400-yard hole in two shots. [13-1.a]

BOGEY GOLFER

A "bogey golfer" has a USGA Handicap Index of 17.5 to 22.4 for men and 21.5 to 26.4 for women. A male bogey golfer can hit tee shots an average of 200 yards and can reach a 370-yard hole in two shots. A female bogey golfer can hit tee shots of 150 yards and can reach a 280-yard hole in two shots. [13-1.f]

BOGEY RATING

A "bogey rating" is the evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for the bogey golfer under normal course and weather conditions. It is based on yardage, effective playing length and other obstacles to the extent that they affect the scoring ability of the bogey golfer. Bogey rating is equivalent to the average of the better-half of a bogey golfer's scores under normal playing conditions. [13-1.g]

COURSE RATING FORMULAS

(i) USGA Course Ratings for Men and Women USGA Course Rating: Scratch Yardage Rating + Scratch Obstacle Stroke Value (ii) Bogey Course Rating for Men and Women Bogey Course Rating: Bogey Yardage Rating + Bogey Obstacle Stroke Value [13-3.e]

USGA SLOPE RATING

"USGA Slope Rating" is the USGA's mark that indicates the measurement of the relative playing difficulty of a course for players who are not scratch golfers. A golf course of standard playing difficulty would have a USGA Slope Rating of 113. The lowest USGA Slope Rating is 55 and the highest is 155. [13-1.h]

SLOPE RATING FORMULAS

USGA Slope Ratings are obtained by using the following formulas:
(i) Men USGA Slope Rating: 5.381 x (Bogey Course Rating - USGA Course Rating)
(ii) Women USGA Slope Rating: 4.24 x (Bogey Course Rating - USGA Course Rating)
The USGA Slope Rating for a course of standard difficulty is 113. A course is given this Slope Rating when the difference between Bogey Rating and Course Rating is 21 strokes for men, or 26.65 strokes for women (21 multiplied by 5.381, a fixed value, equals 113; 26.65 multiplied by 4.24, a fixed value, equals 113).
Note: Full details on Course Rating are contained in the booklets entitled USGA Course Rating System Manual and USGA Course Rating System Guide, which are available only to authorized golf associations.[13-3.f]
USGA, Slope, Handicap Index & Course Rating are trademarks and service marks of the United State Gold Association.

USGA Handicap System: With USGA Course Rating System and USGA Handicap Decisions. Effective January 1, 1994, copyright 1994, United States Golf Association. Available through the USGA, P.O. Box 708, Far Hills, New Jersey 07931-0708, (908) 234-2300.

Lanier Publishing International thanks the USGA for the right to provide this informational excerpt to you.

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