Cape Town, South Africa, 10 October 2013 - The South African Golf Association today announced that they have signed an agreement with the United States Golf Association (USGA) to license their golf course rating system.
The USGA Course Rating system is currently used or in the process of being used by the majority of the major golf playing countries, including England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Scandanvia, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
The system currently used in South Africa to rate golf courses uses mainly the length of the course. The USGA rating system is a comprehensive system that uses, amongst other criteria, altitude, elevation changes, width and slope of fairways, distance to hazards in tee shot landing areas, as well as hazards around the greens, green size, slope and their average speed.
Commenting on the planned introduction, Alan Introna, Chairman of the SAGA Handicap committee said: "Handicaps are calculated on the Standard Rating of a course and not Par, and it is therefore important that course ratings are as accurate as possible to ensure that the vast differences between courses and their tees, is taken into account in the rating."
The USGA system rates courses for the difficulty of a course for both a scratch golfer as well as a 19 handicap golfer. The difference between these two ratings gives a slope rating which is used in the United States to adjust handicaps, prior to play, according to the slope of the course.
South African courses will be rated for both the scratch player and the 19 handicap player so that once all the courses have been rated, the golfers and Provincial Unions will be consulted and a decision taken as to whether to adopt the full slope system or not.
"We expect to start the rating process next year and it will probably take 2 years to rate all 450 courses. We are also part of a global initiative, together with the USGA, the R&A and all the major country golf federations, to finalise a global handicap system. This will mean that golfers worldwide will be handicapped on a similar basis," said Introna. "I am pleased to say that the SAGA Handicap System is already in line with world trends and once our course ratings are completed, we will be up there with the best and based on the initial meetings, we will probably need to make very few changes to adopt the World Handicap System when it is finally introduced."
South African Golf Association
Alan Introna, Chairman SAGA Handicap Committee, firstname.lastname@example.org
Justin King, General Manager Handicaps Network Africa, email@example.com