The R&A - Working for Golf
Appendix G - The Golf Course, Course Rating and Slope Rating

Course Measurement, Course Rating and Slope Rating, and Modification of Courses

 

  1. General

    An Authorized Association is responsible for determining and issuing Course Ratings and Slope Ratings for all of the golf courses within its jurisdiction (see definition of golf course).

     

    Course Ratings must be reviewed periodically and revised and reissued as necessary. New golf courses can change frequently during the first years after construction and must be re-rated within five years of the initial rating date. Thereafter, golf courses must be re-rated at least once every 10 years.

     

  2. Course Measurement

    Each hole must be measured to the nearest yard/metre, for each set of tees from a permanent distance marker, in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Course Rating System.

  3. Tee Markers

    The tee markers used to designate each set of tees on a golf course should be consistent in name, colour and/or design and distinguishable from the tee markers used for other sets of tees. It is strongly recommended that the Authorized Association issues guidance to golf clubs as to how these avoid any association with gender or age. 

     

  4. Display of Ratings and Par

    The Course Rating, Slope Rating and par for each set of tees must be readily available so that it is easy for a player to convert their Handicap Index to a Course Handicap and Playing Handicap to submit an acceptable score.

     

  5. Course Rating and Slope Rating

    The Course Rating and Slope Rating is the evaluation of the playing difficulty of the course for the scratch player and the bogey player under normal playing conditions. The effective playing length is determined from the measurement of each hole, adjusted for the impact of roll, wind, elevation changes, altitude, dog-legs and forced lay ups. In addition to the effective playing length, there are 10 obstacle factors evaluated on each hole for both the scratch player and the bogey player.  These are: topography; fairway; green target; recoverability and rough; bunkers; crossing obstacles; lateral obstacles; trees; green surface and psychology. The Course Rating System uses table values, adjustments and formulas to calculate ratings.

     

    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. The difference between the Course Rating and the Bogey Rating is used in the determination of the Slope Rating. A golf course of standard relative difficulty has a Slope Rating of 113.

     

    The front of a teeing area, as defined in the Rules of Golf, should not be placed more than 10 yards (10 metres) in front of, or behind, the relevant permanent distance marker on each hole.  Overall, the golf course should not be shortened (or lengthened) by more than 100 yards (100 metres) from its measured length, to ensure accurate application of the Course Rating and Slope Rating in the calculation of players’ Score Differentials.

     

  6. Modification of Courses

 

(i) Temporary Changes

The Handicap Committee must notify the Authorized Association when temporary changes are being made to the golf course that may affect the Course Rating. The Authorized Association will determine whether scores made under such conditions are acceptable for handicap purposes, and whether the Course Rating and Slope Rating should be modified temporarily.

Where a temporary Course Rating and Slope Rating has been issued, this information must be made available to players prior to the commencement of their round.

For an 18-hole golf course:

If approved by the Authorized Association, the issuance of a temporary Course Rating and Slope Rating is determined by the Handicap Committee and/or the Authorized Association following the procedure set out below:

  • Locate the nearest set of rated tees for the appropriate gender.
  • Determine the measured difference between the set of tees being played and the rated set of tees.
  • For differences under 100 yards (100 metres), no adjustment is necessary and scores can be submitted as usual; otherwise
  • For differences between 100 and 300 yards (100 and 274 metres), the below table can be used to determine the adjustments required and issue a temporary Course Rating and Slope Rating.

 


 

Using these guidelines and the table below, find the range that includes the yardage difference:

Men’s Rating Adjustment

Women’s Rating Adjustment

Yards

[Metres]

Change to Course Rating

Change to Slope Rating

Yards

[Metres]

Change to Course Rating

Change to Slope Rating

100 to 120

[100 to 110]

0.5

1

100 to 116

[100 to 110]

0.6

1

121 to 142

[111 to 130]

0.6

1

117 to 134

[111 to 122]

0.7

1

143 to 164

[131 to 150]

0.7

2

135 to 152

[123 to 139]

0.8

2

165 to 186

[151 to 170]

0.8

2

153 to 170

[140 to 155]

0.9

2

187 to 208

[171 to 190]

0.9

2

171 to 188

[156 to 172]

1.0

2

209 to 230

[191 to 210]

1.0

2

189 to 206

[173 to 188]

1.1

2

231 to 252

[211 to 230]

1.1

3

207 to 224

[189 to 205]

1.2

2

253 to 274

[231 to 250]

1.2

3

225 to 242

[206 to 221]

1.3

3

275 to 300

[251 to 274]

1.3

3

243 to 260

[222 to 238]

1.4

3

*Please contact your Authorized Association for any adjustment greater than 300 yards (274 metres)

 

261 to 278

[239 to 254]

1.5

3

 

 

 

 

279 to 300

[255 to 274]

1.6

3

 

 

 

*Please contact your Authorized Association for any adjustment greater than 300 yards (274 metres)

 

Note: These guidelines assume an altitude less than 2,000 feet/610 metres above sea level.

  • If the unrated tees are longer than the rated tees, add the resulting table values to the ratings of the nearest set of tees rated for the appropriate gender.
  • If the unrated tees are shorter than the rated tees, subtract the resulting values from the ratings of the nearest set of tees rated for the appropriate gender.
  • For differences above 300 yards (274 metres), play for the day would be ineligible for handicap purposes, unless otherwise determined by the Authorized Association in advance of the round or competition. 

For a 9-hole golf course:

 

If approved by the Authorized Association, the issuance of a temporary Course Rating and Slope Rating is determined by the Handicap Committee and/or Authorized Association following the procedure set out below:

 

  • Locate the nearest set of rated tees for the appropriate gender.
  • Determine the measured difference between the set of tees being played and the rated set of tees.
  • For differences under 50 yards (50 metres), no adjustment is necessary and scores can be returned or posted as usual; otherwise
  • For differences between 50 and 150 yards (50 and 137 metres), the table below can be used to determine the adjustment and issue a temporary Course Rating and Slope Rating.

 

Using these guidelines and the table below, find the range that includes the yardage difference:

Men’s Rating Adjustment

Women’s Rating Adjustment

Yards

[Metres]

Change to Course Rating

Change to Slope Rating

Yards

[Metres]

Change to Course Rating

Change to Slope Rating

50 to 76

[50 to 69]

0.3

1

50 to 62

[50 to 57]

0.3

1

77 to 98

[70 to 90]

0.4

2

63 to 80

[58 to 73]

0.4

2

99 to 120

[91 to 110]

0.5

2

81 to 98

[74 to 90]

0.5

2

121 to 142

[111 to 130]

0.6

3

99 to 116

[91 to 106]

0.6

2

143 to 150

[131 to 137]

0.7

3

117 to 134

[107 to 122]

0.7

3

*Please contact your Authorized Association for any adjustment greater than 150 yards (137 metres)

135 to 150

[123 to 137]

0.8

3

 

 

 

*Please contact your Authorized Association for any adjustment greater than 150 yards (137 metres)

 

Note: If playing a combination of different sets of tees, a current Course Rating and Slope Rating must be available to submit an acceptable score. If the Committee in charge of a competition has used a combination of tees for a competition course, this temporary rating procedure may be used, but this procedure is not a substitute for a formal or permanent Course Rating and Slope Rating.

 

 

(ii) Permanent Changes

A golf club must notify the Authorized Association when permanent changes are made to a golf course. Permanent changes to the golf course require the Authorized Association to review the current Course Rating and Slope Rating and to determine whether a re-rating is necessary.