golf course terminology is more misunderstood than “Slope.” Most golfers
believe that the higher the Slope number, the more difficult the golf course.
The Slope is actually not a measure of a course's difficulty. That's the
responsibility of the Rating figure. The Slope is a measure of the difference in a
course's difficulty between a scratch player and an average bogey golfer.
know that there is a Course Rating for each set of tees based on a scratch
golfer’s game. A “scratch golfer” is defined as a player who can play to a Course
Handicap of zero on any and all rated golf courses. What most don’t know,
however, is that there is also a Bogey Rating established for each set of tees
based on the golfer who has a Course Handicap of approximately 20 on a course
of standard difficulty. The difference between these two ratings is the major
determining factor in the Slope Rating.
Golf Association is charged with rating the golf courses in Texas. These rating
teams are often asked before they can even finish up their calculations: “What
do you think this course will Slope at?” No answer can be given because there
is no way to predict such a thing. But why the strong interest in the Slope
Rating and not the actual Course Rating? Again, it’s the misconception that the
“Slope” is the main indication of how difficult a golf course is.
Simply put, the Slope Rating is the evaluation of the relative difficulty of a course for a non-scratch golfer compared to a scratch player. The Slope Rating is used to convert a player’s USGA Handicap Index to a course handicap.
cases, there can be a sizeable variance between the Course Rating and Slope
Rating. Why? There are several reasons, but the short answer is that the
standard yardages used in the rating procedure are significantly different for
the scratch golfer than they are for the bogey golfer. That means things such
as water hazards, trees, and bunkers might be a strong factor for the scratch
player and not for the bogey player, and vice-versa.
“A lot of
golfers want to try and draw a meaningful conclusion about a course’s
difficulty by comparing Slope Ratings from one course to another,” said Kelly
Kilgo, Senior Director of Membership Services & Course Rating for the TGA.
“This may or may not be true depending on the level of golfer you are, but it
is mainly the Course Rating, not the Slope Rating, which is the more dominant
factor defining course difficulty.”
the Slope Rating is the evaluation of the relative difficulty of a course for a
non-scratch golfer compared to a scratch player. The Slope Rating is used to
convert a player’s USGA Handicap Index to a course handicap. This is how the
USGA Handicap System adjusts a player’s Course Handicap for each set of tees on
each course according to that relative difficulty of a course. A course with a
Course Rating of 73.0 will always be more difficult for a scratch golfer than a
course with a Course Rating of 70.0. Slope tells how “proportionately” more
difficult a course is for higher handicap golfers.
will help clear up some of the misconceptions about Slope Ratings and how they
factor in to the Handicap System, not necessarily in the difficulty of the golf
questions regarding a course’s Slope Rating, please contact Kelly Kilgo by
phone at (214) 468-8942 or by email at email@example.com.