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topgrape

Slope and Rating ?

12 posts in this topic

I see you guys talk about this and I understand that it's to do with the difficulty of the course. I'm pretty sure we don't have those measurements in the UK, unless anyone knows differently ?

I'd love to know the relative difficulty of my golf club.

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My short and lose version: course rating is the difficulty a scratch golfer should have expressed as number of strokes taken and slope rating is how much more incrementally difficult the a bogey golfer should find it expressed as a number from 55 to 155 where 113 is neutral, no easier or harder.

In theory the course rating should be the most important part to low handicap guys and slope rating progressively more important the further over 20 the handicap.  But everyone I play with just cares about slope rating and use it an an indication of how interesting the course will be to play.  Typical conversation: Want to play XYZ this week? -- I don't know, what is the slope? -- 118 -- Nope I won't play any course less than 124. -- Why? -- I don't like playing flat, boring, straight out and back holes. --- The end ...

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USGA Course Rating: A USGA Course Rating is 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.

Slope Rating®: A Slope Rating is the USGA® mark that 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.

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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. 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 and can reach a 400-yard hole in two shots at sea level.

Bogey Golfer: A male bogey golfer is a player who has a Course Handicap™ of approximately 20 on a course of standard difficulty. 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 on a course of standard difficulty. She can hit tee shots an average of 150 yards and can reach a 280-yard hole in two shots.

Bogey Rating™: A Bogey Rating is the evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for bogey golfers under normal course and weather conditions. It is expressed as the number of strokes taken to one decimal place (92.1), and is based on yardage and other obstacles to the extent that they affect the scoring difficulty of the bogey golfer.

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The weird thing about the ratings is that I can play a 140 slope course and actually find it easier than a 118 I play.  It seems that just because it's 7000yrds with a few nasty hazards it rates hard yet a 6100yrd course with big mature trees, narrow fairways and really tight greens rates easy.  I get in way more trouble on the short narrow course where your only option is to punch out from the big trees because you'll never have a look at green.  And just hitting the postage stamp greens is a chore.

If I want to lower my handicap I go play a 73.1/129 course.  An easy 78 there is way better than the 81 I shoot on a good day at the 68.9/118 that I find way harder, particularly when you throw poor course conditions into the equation.   The hard courses seem to have great course conditions while the "easy" course has chewed up tee boxes, crap fairways, hard pack rough, plinko like greens and pea gravel sand traps.  The 78 which is 6 over par gives me a 4.3 handicap differential while the 81 which is only 9 over par is an 11.5 diff.  The 3 stroke difference equates to 7 stroke difference in handicap.  I can almost never play to my handicap on the 118.

The entire rating system leaves me scratching my head sometimes but I guess they have to have some standard so your handicap can travel in theory.

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I think the question posed by the OP is whether there's a similar method of course rating in the UK. I can't answer that. Anyone?
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Some courses over there do have slopes, but our rating/slope system is incompatible with their handicap system, so their courses are not rated using the USGA rating system.

http://www.popeofslope.com/scotland/usscothandicaps.html

I believe not all European countries use the CONGU system, but I'm not sure how course difficulty is measured with these other systems.

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Yea I probably didn't answer the OP question, your SSS is (for all practical purposes) identical to our course rating. We don't have anything equivalent to your CSS as we always use the course rating when returning scores regardless of how difficult/easy the course may play on any given day (for instance if it were raining hard and blowing 35 mph). You don't have anything equivalent to our slope rating. As a category 3 player if you see a really high slope on a course (like 140), you could expect it to play harder than one with a slope of 113 but nothing really helpful or concrete just in general relatively easier or harder. If you were a category 1 or 2 player you could ignore slope altogether.

And all that is just in theory and on paper as flintcreek's post does such a good job pointing out. Sometimes I play a course and just scratch my head wondering how the rating and slope can apply to what I just experienced.

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Nope, no similar system, though there has been talk about modifying the CONGU system to make courses more comparable. A friend has taken his 7 handicap at a normal club to Birkdale and is now a 10 handicapper - needless to say when he plays elsewhere he finds it easier.

I think Spain and Portugal use the slope systems, certainly the cards I have seen have them on, whether that is purely for tourists or for local use I don't know.

The biggest challenge is remembering that all the distances are in metres and that's why your shots are 10% short!

The big difference is that US handicaps are based on the last 20 rounds where as CONGU handicaps are based on all rounds since you first obtained a handicap.

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Thanks for your responses. It's a shame there's no comparative because I use Golf Logix to record my scores but just put in a randon slope and rating number so the handicap it gives me is meaningless.

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Sorry for temporarily hijacking the thread...

This is absolutely true.  I usually shoot 78-84 at a course rated 70.9/135, but on a flat relatively easy course with lots of mature trees (68.9/119), my score is higher (usually 85-90 on average).

Go figure!

Originally Posted by flintcreek6412

The weird thing about the ratings is that I can play a 140 slope course and actually find it easier than a 118 I play.  It seems that just because it's 7000yrds with a few nasty hazards it rates hard yet a 6100yrd course with big mature trees, narrow fairways and really tight greens rates easy.  I get in way more trouble on the short narrow course where your only option is to punch out from the big trees because you'll never have a look at green.  And just hitting the postage stamp greens is a chore.

If I want to lower my handicap I go play a 73.1/129 course.  An easy 78 there is way better than the 81 I shoot on a good day at the 68.9/118 that I find way harder, particularly when you throw poor course conditions into the equation.   The hard courses seem to have great course conditions while the "easy" course has chewed up tee boxes, crap fairways, hard pack rough, plinko like greens and pea gravel sand traps.  The 78 which is 6 over par gives me a 4.3 handicap differential while the 81 which is only 9 over par is an 11.5 diff.  The 3 stroke difference equates to 7 stroke difference in handicap.  I can almost never play to my handicap on the 118.

The entire rating system leaves me scratching my head sometimes but I guess they have to have some standard so your handicap can travel in theory.

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Originally Posted by Wansteadimp

I think Spain and Portugal use the slope systems, certainly the cards I have seen have them on, whether that is purely for tourists or for local use I don't know.

I played Nairn on Friday, absolutely fantastic track in northern Scotland, runs alongside the Moray Firth. The cards there had slope & rating info plus the usual Standard Scratch info which you'd see on a UK card, first time I'd seen a card in the UK with both sets of info on.

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