The Slope and Rating II: Calculations

One of the most important components in the calculation of your handicap is the rating and slope of the course that you play. The slope and rating numbers are used to measure a course's difficulty. The rating represents the average score a scratch golfer (handicap of 0) would shoot on the course, and the slope represents the increased level of difficulty a bogey golfer (handicap of 18) would face as compared to a scratch golfer. For more information about the basics of the rating and slope please see the first Rating and Slope article in this section.

So how does a course end up with a rating of 72.1 and slope of 134 versus a rating of 68 and slope of 115? Actually, the calculation is not at all what you would expect, and in the article below we shed light on the mystery.

Most golfers picture the course rating as being calculated by a group of scratch golfers who play the course, and turn in their scorecards to an official who takes the average. It may surprise you, but no actual playing is involved in the calculation of the course rating.

The

The

The sum of the

Let's take a simplified example of a 6000 yard course (with no adjustments) that has average-type obstacles on every hole. The

Yardage versus Obstacle Ratings

While over 95% of the rating comes from the yardage, the swing in course rating often comes from the obstacles. For example, if the course suddenly became 400 yards longer, the*Scratch Yardage
Rating * would incrase from 68.2 to 70.0, or 2.6%. In contrast, if our average course obstacles (rated 4) became
much more difficult (rated 8) our *Scratch Obstacle Rating* would increase from 3.0 to 10.9, or over 250%.

While over 95% of the rating comes from the yardage, the swing in course rating often comes from the obstacles. For example, if the course suddenly became 400 yards longer, the

So, for the slope, do we at least send bogey golfers out to play and compare their scores to the course rating? No. The USGA has created a model bogey golfer as well. The USGA's bogey golfer is meant to represent a golfer with a Handicap Index of 17.5 to 22.4. They can hit tee shots an average of 200 yards and can reach a 370 yard hole in two shots.

Similar to the course rating, the slope is made up of a

Once again the

Let's revisit our 6000 yard course, this time with our bogey golfer in mind. The

A lot of number crunching to be sure, but still this process is not an exact science. What it does do, though, is bring the handicap system to a new level of accuracy across handicaps.

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