We hope this newsletter finds you virus free and supporting the country-wide social distancing measures in place. This month we look at Course Ratings and the ongoing role of GolfRSA in maintaining and refining the region’s course ratings.
The basis of golf handicapping is reliant on Course Ratings to be used to adjust golfers’ scores according to the difficulty of the courses they played. Without them, those who played regularly on easy courses would have Handicap Indexes that are relatively too low and those regularly playing difficult courses would have Handicap Indexes that are too high.
The World Handicap System (WHS) has a comprehensive Course Rating system that was originally developed by the USGA. All the countries in the world now use this system to rate their courses.
The USGA and R&A recently held a follow-up Course Rating seminar in Johannesburg. Delegates from all over the country and from further afield in Southern Africa attended the seminar and we are very pleased that we now have additional properly-trained rating teams in each province and in most of the SADC countries.
These teams will be conducting the re-rating of our golf courses, which all need to be re-rated every five years. Clubs, golfers and statistics from the HNA Handicap System have also identified those tees at clubs that need to be checked first, and these are in the process of being re-rated.
The GolfRSA rating teams will also now rate all the tees for women, following the many request from Clubs to rate the White and Yellow courses for women.
The playing difficulty of a tee or course is represented by the Course Rating (CR) – so please look at this relative to the par of the course when you decide on which tee to play from. The Slope of the tee is not a measure of the difficulty of the tee –but of the relative difficulty of the tee for a higher-handicapped golfer when compared to a scratch golfer.
So, a very long and difficult course could have a high CR – well over par – but a low Slope Rating, while a relatively short, easy course with a CR below par could have a high Slope Rating based on carries over obstacles and/or a lot of obstacles such as trees, bunkers, water bodies or thick grass and bush next to the fairways. Please also remember that how you play affects how you score on different courses and therefore your personal scores are not necessarily an indication of an incorrect Course Rating.
To be able to statistically check a Course Rating, we have to only look at visitors’ scores at a course, because an incorrect rating would be reflected in the handicaps of the regular playing members.
The good news is that we are finding that most of the courses and tees are correctly rated.
The single biggest issue in the playing difficulty of a course is distance, and this accounts for up to 90% of the Course Rating, so clubs should ensure that their course setup remains within 100 metres of the Average Playing Length of the course, as stated on their scorecards, when moving their tee markers from one day to the next on each of their tees.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries or questions. We look forward to seeing you safely back on the fairways once this pandemic ends.
Quote of the Month
“One reason golf is such an exasperating game is that a thing we learned is so easily forgotten, and we find ourselves struggling year after year with faults we had discovered and corrected time and again.” – Bobby Jones