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slope/rating question


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i played a course yesterday that was 7,000 yards rated at 74/134.  i noticed the next tees up were 6,400 and then up from there was 6,000.  the slope and rating dropped off dramatically for both of those.  i am a pretty long hitter and chose to play from the tips and had one of my better rounds this year clocking a 92.  i never felt the course was too long for me, but i did feel like play around the greens was very tough.  particularly there was a lot of water, steep slopes, thick rough, and the greens were very difficult to read. in addition (but unrelated to this post), the greens were sanded and the fairways and even the fringe of the greens had been aerated, making many shots/putts much more difficult than they should have been.  i definitely felt like the greens and areas around it made the course hard, not the distance.

at any rate it got me thinking, why such the significant dropoff in slope/rating the closer you get to the pin, when the real tough aspect of the course seems to be around the pin itself?  i.e. i don't think my scores would have improved much at all if i played other tees, since the real score killer for me was short game on this particular course.

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You would be hitting wedges/short irons in as opposed to mid or long irons... Whichby  definition is more difficult.

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Originally Posted by Borf

You would be hitting wedges/short irons in as opposed to mid or long irons... Whichby  definition is more difficult.


i suppose that makes more sense, although i used my wedges quite often.  i think the big distance issue on that course was on the par 3s.  i played a 4i, 6i, 6i, and 3h on them.  most of the par 4s were 400ish yards.

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Originally Posted by tuffluck

i suppose that makes more sense, although i used my wedges quite often.  i think the big distance issue on that course was on the par 3s.  i played a 4i, 6i, 6i, and 3h on them.  most of the par 4s were 400ish yards.

Courses from the tips make you actually think your way around rather than blasting driver anywhere and going for every shot. Prob couldn't get to par 5s in 2, which makes it harder and longer par 3s like you mentioned make it more difficult also

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I am not an expert but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express once...

The concept of course rating is for the imaginary scratch golfer that can hit a 250 yard drive. The rating is derived from what the scratch golfer should shoot from the set of tees being used and the obstacles that may be encountered. The slope is derived from the score of the bogey golfer who hits a 200 yard drive. Again, some calculations are done and the slope is derived. There are some guys on here that can give more details or correct me if I am wrong. Now moving from +7,000 yards to 6,000 yards you will see a drastic difference in course rating and slope as both the scratch and bogey golfers' scores will improve as you go to the lower yardages. More simply put, a set of tees that has you hitting irons into the green will play easier than the tees where you have to pull out a 3 wood to hit the green.

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Originally Posted by TourSpoon

I am not an expert but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express once...

The concept of course rating is for the imaginary scratch golfer that can hit a 250 yard drive. The rating is derived from what the scratch golfer should shoot from the set of tees being used and the obstacles that may be encountered. The slope is derived from the score of the bogey golfer who hits a 200 yard drive. Again, some calculations are done and the slope is derived. There are some guys on here that can give more details or correct me if I am wrong. Now moving from +7,000 yards to 6,000 yards you will see a drastic difference in course rating and slope as both the scratch and bogey golfers' scores will improve as you go to the lower yardages. More simply put, a set of tees that has you hitting irons into the green will play easier than the tees where you have to pull out a 3 wood to hit the green.


nice, thanks.  i guess the key here is the average drive distance they use for the calculation base.  someone who averages 200y off the tee would have a hell of a time playing a 7,000 yard course.

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Originally Posted by tuffluck

nice, thanks.  i guess the key here is the average drive distance they use for the calculation base.  someone who averages 200y off the tee would have a hell of a time playing a 7,000 yard course.

Right, and that's also why holes that longer hitters tend to find easier (par 5's) are oftentimes rated harder than what we'd consider hard holes (par 3's).  Because your 200 yard driver has the exact opposite opinion, and the ratings are there to try and even it out for him.

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A problem with course ratings is that they don't always accurately reflect the difficulty of the course.

Nothing really can be done about it. The only way to have an accurate rating would be to have the same team rate every single course and every single course was always maintained exactly as it was when they rated it.

I know one course that has about a 72 course rating and another that has a 75.1 rating and the 72 rated course is much more difficult than the 75.1. The biggest factor in that innaccuracy is that the rough is often left so high on the lower rated course that any ball that gets out of the fairway is almost guaranteed to be a lost ball even if you saw just where it went. (Tiger would lose 10 balls a round).

None of that makes much difference for either club until those players are playing somewhere else and are grouped by their handicaps. A 5 handicap from that lower rated but much harder course is quite a bit better player than a 5 handicap from the well maintained (and therefore easier) higher rated course.

Other things like losing the greens, washed out (and not fixed) bunkers and leaves on the course all fall that are not raked up can affect the handicaps.

I realize that most people play at nice enough courses that they wont understand these issues with handicaps but some of us deal with those things all the time.

Most people around here from the nice courses think other people are sandbagging (or cheating) about their handicaps when they go to tournaments but I think it's mostly just the discrepancies in the actual course difficulty from the course ratings.

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Originally Posted by MS256

Other things like losing the greens, washed out (and not fixed) bunkers and leaves on the course all fall that are not raked up can affect the handicaps.

you aren't kidding.  non-environmental factors were out in droves yesterday.  the greens had been aerated and sanded, and they also had a big aerating machine doing the fairways and fringes.  it was like hitting out of divots if it landed in one of those aerated holes, and putting on sand is about as silly as sanding a putter.

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Originally Posted by tuffluck

i played a course yesterday that was 7,000 yards rated at 74/134.  i noticed the next tees up were 6,400 and then up from there was 6,000.  the slope and rating dropped off dramatically for both of those.  i am a pretty long hitter and chose to play from the tips and had one of my better rounds this year clocking a 92.  i never felt the course was too long for me, but i did feel like play around the greens was very tough.  particularly there was a lot of water, steep slopes, thick rough, and the greens were very difficult to read. in addition (but unrelated to this post), the greens were sanded and the fairways and even the fringe of the greens had been aerated, making many shots/putts much more difficult than they should have been.  i definitely felt like the greens and areas around it made the course hard, not the distance.

at any rate it got me thinking, why such the significant dropoff in slope/rating the closer you get to the pin, when the real tough aspect of the course seems to be around the pin itself?  i.e. i don't think my scores would have improved much at all if i played other tees, since the real score killer for me was short game on this particular course.

Course rating is heavily weighted toward length and reflects the number of strokes a scratch player should take, on average.

The slope is influenced more by the difficulty a bogey golfer will have in negotiating the hazards of the overall layout.  Length may also be a factor, but bunkers, rough, elevation, and water hazards have a stronger influence in the slope number.  The arbitrary mean or average slope is 113.

This why one course I've played is 7700 yards with a 74 rating and 137 slope, but another is just 7000 with a 72 rating and 146 slope.  The slope difference is in the difficulty involved in getting around the course, with only a slight consideration for the length.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

Course rating is heavily weighted toward length and reflects the number of strokes a scratch player should take, on average.

The slope is influenced more by the difficulty a bogey golfer will have in negotiating the hazards of the overall layout.  Length may also be a factor, but bunkers, rough, elevation, and water hazards have a stronger influence in the slope number.  The arbitrary mean or average slope is 113.

This why one course I've played is 7700 yards with a 74 rating and 137 slope, but another is just 7000 with a 72 rating and 146 slope.  The slope difference is in the difficulty involved in getting around the course, with only a slight consideration for the length.


yeah, that is very interesting.  also interesting why they didn't make the average difficulty an even 100...why 113?

it's pretty much impossible to find a course around here less than 130, unless you want to play at under 6k yards.  i have in fact never played a course over 6k yards with a slope of anywhere near 113...i didn't think that existed.

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Originally Posted by tuffluck

yeah, that is very interesting.  also interesting why they didn't make the average difficulty an even 100...why 113?

it's pretty much impossible to find a course around here less than 130, unless you want to play at under 6k yards.  i have in fact never played a course over 6k yards with a slope of anywhere near 113...i didn't think that existed.

I'm still dying to know about the courses you play???  The courses I've played that are close to 113 slope are shorter (6200 or so at most) and usually have very little water (no idea if that plays in or not) and are also the type of courses that I find easy because they have lots of parallel holes.  If I slice it 40 yards, I could have a perfect lie in a different fairway and still have a great chance at par.

Most I play now seem to be around 125-ish for the shorter mens tees (6000-6200).

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Here are some of the course I've played:

Capstone Golf Club. 7,032 yards 75.1 Rating 143 Slope

Limestone Springs 6,987 yards 74.2 Rating 139 Slope

Dogwood Hills 6,670 yards 69.7 Rating 115 Slope

Indian Pines 6,411 yards 68.8 Rating 119 Slope

Soldiers Creek 7,001 yards 72.8 Rating 119 Slope

Hidden Meadows 6,828 yards 72.7 Rating 133 Slope

Birch Creek 6,921 yards 72.8 Rating 129 Slope

Just looking at those blows my mind about the inconsistencies in the ratings from how they played when I played them. As I said before there is no way to account for letting the rough grow up (among other things). The last time I played Soldiers Creek it was by far the hardest golf course I've ever played. If you dropped a ball out of your pocket you probably would have trouble finding it by your foot. Since the slope rating is based a lot on how well a bogey golfer would play the course all I've got to say is that the team that rated that course are sure giving bogey golfers a lot of credit. Ha ha!

Here is an article that sort of explains how they rate the course. I'm sure they do the best they can but can't control course conditions.

http://golf.about.com/cs/rulesofgolf/a/hfaq_determine.htm

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Originally Posted by MS256

If you dropped a ball out of your pocket you probably would have trouble finding it by your foot.

I will never understand this at all.  Along with really difficult pin positions on Saturdays at busy courses.  Why do superintendents go out of their way to try and slow the game down and make it harder when its already slow enough to begin with?

I think if I was running a course I would put pins in the easiest spots (by and large) on the weekends, especially Saturdays, and make sure the rough is reasonable as well

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Originally Posted by tuffluck

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fourputt

Course rating is heavily weighted toward length and reflects the number of strokes a scratch player should take, on average.

The slope is influenced more by the difficulty a bogey golfer will have in negotiating the hazards of the overall layout.  Length may also be a factor, but bunkers, rough, elevation, and water hazards have a stronger influence in the slope number.  The arbitrary mean or average slope is 113.

This why one course I've played is 7700 yards with a 74 rating and 137 slope, but another is just 7000 with a 72 rating and 146 slope.  The slope difference is in the difficulty involved in getting around the course, with only a slight consideration for the length.

yeah, that is very interesting.  also interesting why they didn't make the average difficulty an even 100...why 113?

it's pretty much impossible to find a course around here less than 130, unless you want to play at under 6k yards.  i have in fact never played a course over 6k yards with a slope of anywhere near 113...i didn't think that existed.

My home course is a 120 slope from the middle tees at 6400 yards and 127 slope from the back tees at 7000 yards,  but keep in mind that this is in Denver, a mile above sea level. (I've actually hit a measured drive as far as 324 yards with tailwind assistance, something I could only fantasize about at sea level)

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Originally Posted by Golfingdad

I will never understand this at all.  Along with really difficult pin positions on Saturdays at busy courses.  Why do superintendents go out of their way to try and slow the game down and make it harder when its already slow enough to begin with?

I think if I was running a course I would put pins in the easiest spots (by and large) on the weekends, especially Saturdays, and make sure the rough is reasonable as well

They can turn an easy course into a hard course anytime they want. The course superintendant came by us one day as we were on the 8th green and tried to say without laughing "how do ya'll like those pin locations today?"

He had almost every pin right on the false front slope so any ball within a few feet, either above or below the hole, rolled off. The only thing we could do was hit the ball at least 10 feet past the pin and try to make the putt. If we missed we had to do the same thing all over again.

I'm glad he got a kick out of it because nobody else did.

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Originally Posted by MS256

Quote:

Originally Posted by Golfingdad

I will never understand this at all.  Along with really difficult pin positions on Saturdays at busy courses.  Why do superintendents go out of their way to try and slow the game down and make it harder when its already slow enough to begin with?

I think if I was running a course I would put pins in the easiest spots (by and large) on the weekends, especially Saturdays, and make sure the rough is reasonable as well

They can turn an easy course into a hard course anytime they want. The course superintendant came by us one day as we were on the 8th green and tried to say without laughing "how do ya'll like those pin locations today?"

He had almost every pin right on the false front slope so any ball within a few feet, either above or below the hole, rolled off. The only thing we could do was hit the ball at least 10 feet past the pin and try to make the putt. If we missed we had to do the same thing all over again.

I'm glad he got a kick out of it because nobody else did.

In my opinion, if a course is set up right for typical play, every day should have balanced mix of easy, moderate, and difficult hole locations.  My home course mostly follows this philosophy.

There is a common misconception that the PGA Tour always sets the holes on Sunday in the hardest location, but for most tournaments they set them up in an attempt to create some drama.  That means that they deliberately create some good birdie opportunities to go with some potential pitfalls.  That misconception may be part of the reason why some courses think that the weekend is the time to torture their customers.

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