Golf: Slope and Course Rating


What are course and slope ratings?
As some golf courses are hard than others, the USGA uses these ratings as a means to measure the relative difficulty. Course rating is the number of strokes a “scratch” golfer would be expected to score. The higher the rating, the harder the course.
Slope rating is a measurement of the difficulty of a course for bogey golfers relative to the course rating. The minimum slope is 55 and the maximum is 155. The slope rating for a course of average difficulty is 113.

Why is slope needed?
Basically, it balances the playing field between high and low handicap players on harder courses by taking into consideration that the higher handicap player will feel the pain more.
Imagine two players, Player A and Player B. Player A is a 5 handicapper, Player B is a 15 handicapper. On a course of average difficulty (slope of 113), both players are likely to play close to their handicaps (i.e., 5 and 15 respectively–black line). But as course difficulty increases (blue line), Player B’s scores will rise faster than Player A’s. On a course with a slope of 141, Player B might need an additional 3 strokes on top of his regular handicap, while Player A might need only 1. Referring to the graph, we can see that lines plotted through these points have a “slope” and the steeper the slope, the more difficult the course for the bogey golfer.

References [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6]


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