This month we remind you of the difference between a course’s Slope Rating and its Course Rating—and why both are important in determining your Course Handicap.
The Slope Rating of a course is the “measurement of the relative playing difficulty of a course for players who are not scratch golfers, compared to scratch golfers”.
The Slope Rating is not an indication of a course’s difficulty, but an indication of the difference in difficulty for scratch players when compared to higher handicapped players. This takes into account the fact that scratch golfers hit it further and straighter and can more easily avoid bunkers and hazards than the higher-handicapped golfers. So the higher a course’s Slope Rating, the higher the expected difference of scoring between a scratch golfer and a high-handicapped golfer. The Slope adjustment helps to balance this out.
The Course Rating is the measure 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 (e.g. 72.5), and is based on distance and various obstacles to the extent that they affect the scoring difficulty of the scratch golfer.
Calculating the Slope Rating
When it comes to Slope Rating, the course raters measure and calculate the difference between the Course Rating and the Bogey Rating (the latter being an evaluation of the difficulty of a course for a ‘bogey’ player of 20-24 Course Handicap).
Both the Course and Bogey Ratings are calculated by using the WHS Rating System. Rating teams take into account more than 460 variables on a standard course rating, from each set of tees.
Here are some of the factors that the WHS Course Rating System takes into account:
- The actual measured length of the golf course
- Carries from the tee, width of fairways, height of the rough, out-of-bounds and other hazards, greenside bunkers and water hazards, speed and slope of the greens, along with many other factors that affect the playing difficulty of the course, including prevailing winds
Range of Slope Ratings
A course’s Slope Rating is expressed as a numerical value where the lowest number is 55 and the highest is 155. The average Slope Rating, signifying a course of standard relative difficulty, is 113.
Your Course Handicap
You can easily look up your Course Handicap, based on the tees you will be playing off, on the HNA Handicaps & Tournament App or at one of the HNA terminals located at the club. Most clubs will also have Course Handicap Conversion Tables, where you can easily look up your Course Handicap.
For those who are interested, the formula for calculating an 18-hole Course Handicap is:
Course Handicap = Handicap Index x Slope Rating of the Course /113 + (Course Rating – Par).
Adjustment to the PCC algorithm
After a recent review by the World Handicap System operations committee, an adjustment to the Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC) has been approved.
The decision was based on an analysis of scoring data provided from 24 countries around the world, which indicated that the current PCC algorithm is too conservative.
The adjustment is set to come into effect on the 1st of November 2022.
Quote of the Month
“Never concede the putt that beats you.” – Jack Nicklaus