World Handicap System – Course Rating

World Handicap System – 2020 Course Rating

Course Rating:

    • This is the evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for a Scratch Golfer under normal course and weather conditions. This means generally that course rating can only be undertaken from April until the end of September. (Winter Tees are therefore not recognised as Winter Tees because they are not rated in the during the winter months, they are simply regarded as forward tees).
    • For Men, a Scratch Golfer is a Male golfer who hits a driver 250 yards and can reach a 470-yard hole in two and plays off scratch.
    • For Women, a Scratch Golfer is a Female golfer who hits a driver 210 yards and can reach a 400-yard hole in two and plays off scratch.
    • Based on yardage and other obstacles to the extent that they affect the scoring difficulty for the Scratch Golfer.
    • Expressed as the number of strokes expected to one decimal place.

What is Assessed in a Course Rating?

LengthObstacles (Difficulty Factors)
Effective Playing Length of a hole
This considers if a hole is really longer or shorter than the actual measured length stated on the scorecard
How flat is the stance? How easy is it to play the next stroke?
Penalty Areas - Lateral to the Direction of Play
How far is it from the centre of the green or the fairway?
Doglegs/Forced Lay-ups
How much longer or shorter does a hole play because of the bend?
Recoverability from the Rough
The difficulty of recovery if the tee shot landing zones and/or the green is missed.
Green surfaces
How flat are they? What is the contouring like? How big is the green? What is the speed of the green?
This is the difference in elevation between the tee and the green and approach shots to the green.
Green Target
This measures how difficult i is to hit a green considering the size of the target and how far the approach shot into the green has got to be.
Consideration is also given as to what is protecting the green, or if there are bunkers close to the green.
How large are they?How thick? How hard is it to play out of the trees? Where are they from the centre of the landing zone or the green?
This looks at the impact of Roll and Elevation - is a player hitting into raised greens or from fairways where the ball is below the feet.
How wide is the fairway? Is it easy to keep a ball on the fairway? What penalty areas, rough or trees are potential traps? Which way will the ball bounce?
Penalty Areas – Crossing Direction of Play
How far is it away from a landing zone or the green? Is there any difficulty playing over it.
A measurement is now factored in according to the location of the course and taking into account average wind strength and direction
Any bunker that is in a landing zone is looked at. Bunker placements on fairways are considered and a measurement is calculated on how difficult it may be to recover when a ball lands in one.
(Psychological aspects)
It is the overall effect of all the obstacles. It is a mathematical value that is only added on after the on-course rating has been completed.
It is how the ratings for the various obstacles may affect a player's psychological approach to playing that hole.

Summary of Course Rating Procedure

Each hole of a golf course is evaluated on a scale of 0-10 for each of the obstacles and account taken of the effective length correction factors. All evaluations/measurements are noted on site and entered onto a web-based data information form. The completed form is then submitted for Regional Scrutiny before going to England Golf for further scrutiny and the allocation of Course Rating and Slope rating. In practice: – For each course rated a team of at least four or five people are required depending on whether the greens have been assessed previously by a team leader. The rating team should consist of two team leaders. On each hole all assessments are made in relation to each tee colour and for the gender use of that tee.

As an example, a golf course may be rated for men from the blue, white and yellow tees and for women from the red tees. As each hole/tee is rated for both scratch and bogey golfers this can mean a total of 16 separate assessments for each hole and 16 separate spread sheet pages to be filled out for each hole. This amounts to a total of 432 pages of data submitted to England Golf for this one Club alone.

On each hole the following takes place.

1. Team leaders go to teeing area and measure elevation change from there to the green and the distance to the start if the fairway where the remaining members are standing. If a penalty area has to be crossed with the tee-shot, this distance is also measured (+10 yds to carry safely). The overall impact of any trees on the whole hole is also assessed.

2. The team then proceed to each landing zone in turn. Depending on where the teeing grounds are in relation to each other, typically it would be bogey 1 red landing zone, probably followed by bogey 1 yellow, etc. The landing zones are a prescribed distance consisting of an amount for carry and an amount for roll: – Scratch male hits 230 carry with 20 yards roll on his tee shot (250) and 200 carry with 20 roll on subsequent full shots (220). Bogey male 180 and 20 (200) for tee shot and 150 & 20 on subsequent full shots (170). Scratch lady 190 +20 (210) for tee shot and 170 + 20 (190) for subsequent full shots. Bogey lady 150 + 20 (170) for tee shot and 110 + 20 (130) for subsequent full shots.

3. At each landing zone fairway firmness and topography are noted. Roll is determined and shot lengths adjusted where appropriate. Where lay ups apply, whether forced or by choice shot lengths are adjusted. Fairway width is measured and nature of stance and lie noted. At last landing zone before green for each tee elevation to green is determined. Distances from the centre of the fairway are measured and noted to trees, OB/ER, penalty areas and assessments made as to recoverability where appropriate Height of fairway rough is evaluated. Presence and punitive nature of bunkers is noted. Any shot length adjustments caused by carrying ditches, lakes or bunkers are measured including a 10 yd safe carry adjustment.

4. At the green, width and length are measured and the circumference if greenside bunkers are present. Determine fraction of green bordered by bunkers. Assess depth and severity of bunkers Measure distance from centre of green to OB/ER, penalty areas etc and assess recoverability. Assess any other features such as mounds or steep fall offs and record appropriately. Use stimpmeter to determine slope (speed) of green. Assess green surface, contours and any level changes (tiers). All this information is then submitted to Regional Organisation and then National Organisation