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MEfree

How is course rating determined?

7 posts in this topic

Originally Posted by iacas

I'm on a ratings committee. The number and depth and breadth of the things that goes into a course rating would likely amaze you.

So what are some of the amazing things that go into determining a courses rating/slope?  I am particularly interested in finding out how a ratings committee deals with dynamic factors like wind, speed/quality of greens, length of rough, etc.

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Dynamic factors are obviously not considered or the course rating and slope would change daily. An average is taken and used.

http://www.usga.org/handicapping/course_ratings/ratings_primer/Course-Rating-Primer/

A lot of those have sub-components. We measure the width and distance of any chutes, forced layups, the amount of undulation on the green, how much of the green is "covered" by bunkers and how large they are (both area and depth), etc.

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This should be interesting.  I've never been involved in rating a course, so I can't answer aside from what Erik said, that environmental factors like weather and seasons don't enter into the formula aside from a general average.  The slope and rating don't change whether it blowing a gale or dead calm.  Because of this, in areas where winter has a significant impact on the game, golf courses have a finite handicap season, outside of which scores are not accepted unless the round was played someplace else which does have a year round season.  Our handicap computer was turned off from mid November through mid March.

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Originally Posted by iacas

Dynamic factors are obviously not considered or the course rating and slope would change daily. An average is taken and used.

http://www.usga.org/handicapping/course_ratings/ratings_primer/Course-Rating-Primer/

Originally Posted by Fourputt

I've never been involved in rating a course, so I can't answer aside from what Erik said, that environmental factors like weather and seasons don't enter into the formula aside from a general average.  The slope and rating don't change whether it blowing a gale or dead calm.

From the link Erik provided the only mention of wind I see says:

"Prevailing Wind: Prevailing wind is a measure of the effect of constant wind on seaside courses, plains courses, or other courses unprotected from the wind."

I played a course about 2 miles from the ocean growing up- 95% of the days there was no wind until about 11 am, then a constant on shore breeze all afternoon...the wind made some holes play harder, but generally speaking was pretty easy to figure out (and incorporate into the rating with the exception that the course almost always played easier in the morning vs afternoon).

Conversely, I played mountain courses this summer where the wind was much less predictable both in intensity and direction...not uncommon for the wind to do a complete 180 during the play of a hole (or even while you were addressing you ball).  While there were some days when there was almost no wind, overall, I would say that wind added more to the difficulty of these courses than the course I grew up playing (even if the average daily wind speed was the same),  Any idea how this type of wind would get factored into the course rating?

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Originally Posted by MEfree

Conversely, I played mountain courses this summer where the wind was much less predictable both in intensity and direction...not uncommon for the wind to do a complete 180 during the play of a hole (or even while you were addressing you ball).  While there were some days when there was almost no wind, overall, I would say that wind added more to the difficulty of these courses than the course I grew up playing (even if the average daily wind speed was the same),  Any idea how this type of wind would get factored into the course rating?

It probably wouldn't. That doesn't sound like a prevailing wind to me. If it's going to make the course play easier sometimes and harder other times, it'll even itself out.

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Originally Posted by iacas

It probably wouldn't. That doesn't sound like a prevailing wind to me. If it's going to make the course play easier sometimes and harder other times, it'll even itself out.

It definitely plays easier on days when it is calm, but most days have some wind varying degrees (and wind almost always makes the course play harder overall even if some holes are a bit easier)...while it might be going roughly the same direction 75% of the time, the thing that makes it so hard is that it gusts a lot and can change direction at a moments notice.  On average, I would say that it is harder to play this sort of wind (even if there is the occasional calm day) so I find it odd that they wouldn`t make an attempt to factor it in.

If you were to play an identical golf course in 3 different locations with 3 different wind patterns wouldn`t you rank them as follows in terms of easiest to hardest:

1.  Never any wind

2.  A constant prevailing wind that averages 10 mph

3.  A gusty/fluctuating wind pattern that averages 10 mph

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Originally Posted by MEfree

On average, I would say that it is harder to play this sort of wind (even if there is the occasional calm day) so I find it odd that they wouldn`t make an attempt to factor it in.

Oh brother.

They don't factor it in because they'd have to change the course rating and slope every day. Sometimes by the hour. Give me a break. For someone who wants to simplify things beyond reason you want to complicate this unnecessarily?

And 10 MPH isn't enough to affect a course rating (or scoring).

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