what slope and rafing de otes a difficult golf course

by Miller Schaefer 4 min read

For reference, a standard difficulty course has a slope rating of 113. What is considered an easy and hard slope rating? Now that we know the average slope rating of a course is 113, any course with a lower slope rating is considered easy. And any course with a higher slope rating is considered hard.

If we know that the average slope rating of a golf course is 113, we can deduce that any golf course with a slope rating higher than 113 is more difficult than the average course. Don't be intimidated if you see a slope rating that is above 113.

Full Answer

What is the difference between golf course slope and difficulty?

The golf course slope is a measure of a course's difficulty, but it is not considered the better of the two measurements. Golf course slope is actually derived from the golf course rating.

Do all golf courses have a slope rating of 113?

Some do, but the real-world average is higher than 113. (However, a slope of 113 is still used in certain calculations within the handicap system.) Like course rating, slope rating is calculated for each set of tees on a course, and a course may have a separate slope rating on certain tees for women golfers.

Where is the slope used in golf?

The slope is primarily used in the United States, but golf associations in other countries are beginning to adopt slope or similar systems.

What is the average slope of an 18 hole golf course?

The minimum slope rating is 55 and the maximum is 155 (slope does not relate specifically to strokes played as course rating does). When the slope rating system was first put into effect, the USGA set the slope for an "average" golf course at 113; however, not many 18-hole golf courses have slope ratings that low.

What golf course rating is difficult?

The Slope Rating can range from 55 (very easy for a bogey golfer) to 155 (very difficult), with 113 being the average slope.

Is a 130 slope rating hard?

If you see a slope rating that falls anywhere in the double digits, you can expect that course to play rather easy, even for a bogey golfer. On the other hand, taking on a course with a slope rating in the 130's or 140's is going to present a serious challenge to a player with a mid or high handicap.

What is a good slope for a golf course?

The higher the slope number, the harder the course is for the bogey golfer relative to the difficulty of the course for the scratch golfer. Slope numbers can range anywhere between 55 and 155 with the average slope in the United States being 120.

Is a higher course rating harder?

The higher the number the more difficult the course. As with course rating each set of tees will have a slope rating. For example, the blue tees might be 123, the white tees 119, and the red tees 114.

What is the slope rating of Augusta National?

137Augusta National Golf ClubClub informationLength7,510 yards (6,870 m)Course rating78.1 (unofficial)Slope rating137 (unofficial)Course record63 - Nick Price (1986), Greg Norman (1996)17 more rows

What does a slope rating of 113 mean?

Slope Ratings range from 55 to 155, with the average being 113. When you play a course with a Slope Rating higher than 113, your Course Handicap will be higher than your USGA Handicap Index. When you play a course with a Slope Rating lower than 113, your Course Handicap will be lower than your Handicap Index.

What is the average slope rating for a PGA course?

The majority of courses in coastal states have Slopes of 121 and higher. Many Slopes lower than 118 are mid-American public courses. The lowest is 55 (short par-3 course), and the highest is 155. By Dean Knuth, Golf Digest Professional Advisor.

What is the slope rating of Pebble Beach?

145Pebble Beach Golf LinksClub informationPar72 (71 - U.S. Open)Length7,075 yards (6,469 m)Course rating75.5 (U.S. Open)Slope rating14516 more rows

How do they rank golf courses?

The Course Rating is calculated from the effective playing length and obstacle factors for 9 or 18 designated holes. The Course Rating is expressed in strokes to one decimal point and represents the expected score for a scratch player. The Bogey Rating represents the expected score for a bogey player.

What is considered a difficult slope rating?

What is a hard slope rating? If we know that the average slope rating of a golf course is 113, we can deduce that any golf course with a slope rating higher than 113 is more difficult than the average course. Don't be intimidated if you see a slope rating that is above 113.

What is difference between Course Rating and slope?

Course Ratings represent the difficulty of a golf course for the scratch player under normal conditions. Slope Ratings represent the difference in difficulty for all other players, compared to the scratch player. Course Ratings are carried out by qualified teams, and assume normal course and weather conditions.

What is my golf handicap if I shoot 85?

13If you shoot between 81 and 85, your handicap will be between 6 and 9. If you shoot between 86 and 91, your handicap will be between 10 and 13. If you shoot between 92 and 97, your handicap is between 14 and 19. If you shoot between 98 and 101, your handicap is between 20 and 24.

What is slope in golf?

The golf course slope is a measure of a course's difficulty, but it is not considered the better of the two measurements. Golf course slope is actually derived from the golf course rating. Slope is a measure of a golf course's difficulty in a relative comparison of a scratch golfer to a bogey golfer (someone who shoots around 90 for 18 holes).

How many yards can a scratch golfer hit?

A male scratch golfer, for rating purposes, can hit tee shots an average of 250 yards and can reach a 470-yard hole in two shots.". A scratch woman can "can hit tee shots an average of 210 yards and can reach a 400-yard hole in two shots at sea level.".

What does a course rating tell you?

A golf course rating tells you what a scratch golfer would be expected to shoot from the tees they're playing on a particular course under normal conditions. The rating is different for men and women.

What is slope rating in golf?

Slope rating (a term trademarked by the United States Golf Association) is a measurement of the difficulty of a golf course for bogey golfers relative to the course rating.

What is the minimum slope rating for 18 holes?

The minimum slope rating is 55 and the maximum is 155 (slope does not relate specifically to strokes played as course rating does). When the slope rating system was first put into effect, the USGA set the slope for an "average" golf course at 113; however, not many 18-hole golf courses have slope ratings that low.

What does USGA course rating mean?

To put it another way: USGA Course Rating tells the best golfers how hard a golf course actually plays; USGA Slope Rating indicates how much harder the course plays for "regular" (meaning not among the best) golfers.

What is the role of slope in golf?

The most important role of a slope is leveling the playing field for players of different skill levels. For example, let's say Player A and Player B average 85 strokes each for 18 holes. But Player A's average is established on a very difficult course (say, a slope rating of 150), while Player B's average is established on a much easier course (say, a slope rating of 105). If handicaps were simply estimates of golfers' average scores, then these two players would have the same handicap index. But Player A is clearly the better golfer, and in a match between the two Player B would clearly need some strokes.

Why is the handicap index lower for A and B?

Because he plays on a course with a higher slope rating, Player A's handicap index will be lower than Player B's (when it is calculated using the slope ratings), despite the fact that they both average scores of 85. So when A and B get together to play, B will get those extra strokes he needs.

What is the average slope rating for golf courses?

The United States Golf Association established the average slope rating to 113, but it has later increased to about 120 as there aren’t many 18-hole golf courses with slope ratings set that low. As has been observed, most golf courses worldwide have average slope ratings of about 120.

What does slope number mean in golf?

Thus, the slope number converts a golfer’s handicap into a course handicap. In this way, it is made sure that a bogey golfer is allowed to play at an equal level to a scratch golfer, and it helps them obtain enough strokes from the same set of tees. This is the mathematical formula of how it is derived:

What is USGA rating?

What is USGA Golf Course Rating and Who Rates It? USGA Golf Course Rating is an assessment of the difficulty of a given golf course for scratch golfers. The course rating estimates the scratch golfers’ average scores who played on the golf course under the rating procedure.

How many strokes does a par 72 golf course have?

It is expressed in strokes, so an easy par-72 golf course could have a 68.9 course rating, while the more difficult one is likely to have a rating of 74.5. In other words, an average golfer should expect to play 68.9 strokes when the course playing difficulty is rated ‘easy,’ while on a challenging course, the same golfer is expected ...

When did the slope rating start?

USGA introduced the slope rating measurement in the 1980s as a system of fairness directed to bogey players. Namely, they observed that a bogey golfer is likely to increase the number of strokes considerably more when playing on a course with a higher level of difficulty than a scratch golfer. This led to creating a slope handicap system ...

Do golf courses affect the slope number?

Yes, they do. However, the course rating impacts the golfer’s index considerably more than the slope number. It often happens that players become too focused on the slope number while ignoring the golf course number.

What does slope rating mean in golf?

Simply put, Course Rating tells the best golfers how hard a golf course actually plays; Slope Rating indicates how much harder the course plays for ‘regular’ (meaning not among the best) golfers.

What is the minimum slope rating for 18 holes?

The minimum Slope Rating is 55 and the maximum is 155 (slope does not relate specifically to strokes played as Course Rating does). When the Slope Rating system was first put into effect, the USGA set the slope for an ‘average’ golf course at 113; however, not many 18-hole golf courses have Slope Ratings that low.

What is slope rating?

So, Slope Rating is a term trademarked by the USGA that indicates the measurement of the relative playing difficulty of a course for Bogey Golfers, compared to Scratch Golfers.

What is a scratch golfer?

A male 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, for rating purposes, can hit tee shots an average of 250 yards and can reach a 470-yard hole in two shots at sea level. A female Scratch Golfer is a player who can play to a course handicap ...

Why is the handicap index lower for A and B?

Because he plays on a course with a higher Slope Rating, Player A’s handicap index will be lower than Player B’s (when it is calculated using the slope ratings), despite the fact that they both average scores of 85. So when A and B get together to play, B will get those extra strokes he needs.

What are the obstacles in golf?

Obstacle factors: topography, fairway, green target, recoverability and roughs, water hazards, out of bounds, trees, green surface, and psychology. Each obstacle is assigned a value of 0 to 10, depending on its relation to how a scratch or bogey golfer would play the hole.

What is a golf course rating?

Golf Course Rating Definition: The evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for scratch golfers under normal course and weather conditions. It is expressed as the number of strokes taken to one decimal place (72.5), and is based on yardage and other obstacles to the extent that they affect the scoring difficulty of the scratch golfer.

What is the difference between a scratch golfer and a bogey golfer?

Here is the difference between a scratch golfer and a bogey golfer according to the USGA: Scratch Golfer : A male 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, for rating purposes, can hit tee shots an average of 250 yards and can reach a 470-yard hole in two shots.

How many yards can a scratch golfer hit?

A male scratch golfer, for rating purposes, can hit tee shots an average of 250 yards and can reach a 470-yard hole in two shots. A female scratch golfer is a player who can play to a Course Handicap of zero on any and all rated golf courses. A female scratch golfer, for rating purposes, can hit tee shots an average of 210 yards ...

How does the USGA determine the rating of a golf course?

To determine the Rating of a course the USGA measures several factors for each hole on the golf courses. The process examines every facet of a hole and its playability.

What does 72 mean in golf?

In conclusion, a golf course rating farther below 72 means an easier golf course. If you see a golf course rating lower than 69 from the white tees, prepare for a fun day of lower scores.

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What Is A Course Rating?

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So what is a course rating anyways? The simple answer is, a course rating is a number that indicates what a scratch golfer (a golfer that averages par for a round) should shoot on this particular course. So, while the par for a particular course might be 72, a course rating of 70.1 would indicate that a scratch golfer should b…
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Why Have Two numbers?

  • As you may have figured out already, golf is a difficult game and contains a very wide range of golfers, each with very different levels of skill. In the mid 80’s the USGA started to catch on to this big divide between scratch or professional golfers and mid to high handicap golfers. It turns out that that statistically, no matter how easy or hard a course is, scratch golfers will almost always …
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Ratings and Updates

  • While the course and slope ratings of a golf course are unlikely to change dramatically, they are usually re-evaluated every 4-5 years. This is mostly due to the fact that courses change slowly over time. While small trees may have been planted when a course opened, as they continue to grow they can start to affect play on the course in different ways. Similarly, additional features s…
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Wrap-Up

  • Although it might not be the most pressing matter for some golfers, understanding how course and slope ratings work is sure to only help you understand the game better in the long run. At the very least, it’s something to think about while you’re comparing the different courses you’ve played throughout the year; hopefully, you’re looking back at some low scores on a really challenging co…
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