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Kenny B

My Experience with the WSGA Course Rating Committee

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I love this thread. Actually I think it explains quite nicely why a player might do well on some courses but poorly on others with similar ratings.

 

Length is a factor in course rating and slope so a shorter guy may struggle with length but excell on courses that are tighter and shorter. Both courses might have the same rating under this system.

 

I will use myself as an example. I got to a 1.2 five years ago, not scratch but fairly close. I regularly played two courses at 6600 yards one got it's yardage from two monster par 5's the other from a series of long par 4's. I shot better scores on the first course because I could hit driver two woods and a mid iron in where as I was forced to hit five or six hybrid/fairway woods on the other course. Had my average drive been 250 instead of 235 that would have changed significantly.

 

 

 

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Wow Kenny I thought this was one of the more interesting threads that I've read but I guess that others aren't as interested in it.  Thanks for the great read regardless!

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I don't think there is a whole lot of interest in how the rating is determined; just what the rating and slope are.  I didn't expect much response, but I wanted to document my experience.

 

What I found interesting is that there can be all kinds of hazards on a course, but if they are not in the correct landing zone for the scratch or bogey golfer, it's like they don't exist.  The WSGA guy told me that one course spent $$$$$ on changing it's bunkers on a few holes and then asked him how much it impacted the course rating, and he told them it didn't change anything!!  I guess if a course wants to truly impact their rating, they should contact their state golf association and ask before they spend the money.

 

The other issue I had was the yardages for the scratch and bogey golfers.  I am not sure when these were determined, but they have been in effect for a long time.  Seems to me that if OEMs are giving us 13.1 more yards with new technologies, shouldn't the yardages be updates, at least a little?  Maybe that is one of the changes that is forthcoming in 2018 when the come to a worldwide rating system.

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Well I sure found it very interesting. A super job writing it all up and including the pictures. Great job Kenny. I actually inquired at my course about having it re-rated. I'd certainly be interested in volunteering for it.

 

Question: What types of tools did you guys use for measuring? Tapes, lasers, gps? How did you guys measure elevations?

 

When will the new rating be provided to the courses y'all did?

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Well I sure found it very interesting. A super job writing it all up and including the pictures. Great job Kenny. I actually inquired at my course about having it re-rated. I'd certainly be interested in volunteering for it.

 

Question: What types of tools did you guys use for measuring? Tapes, lasers, gps? How did you guys measure elevations?

 

When will the new rating be provided to the courses y'all did?

The courses that were rated last week were last rated 10 years ago, so that apparently is the default for re-rating.  If a course is significantly changed, then a rating team is sent out at the clubs request.  I haven't heard that the change has been made yet, but I will check on that.

 

I'm sorry, I should have put this information in the write-up.  The team used lasers for measuring distances.  They had the Bushnell Hybrid -  laser and GPS, and both were used.  For example, the GPS was used to determine location in the fairway for the scratch/bogey tee shots and remaining distance to green to see if the approach shot yardages could get there.  Of course they compared all distances to the yardages stated for a hole by the course and measured them.  They would drive to the edge of the fairway at the tee shot distance and measure the width of the fairway and distances to tree lines, hazards, OB.  The Director was upset because Bushnell doesn't make the hybrid laser anymore, but he found a bunch of them cheap on Amazon.

 

Green speed was measured using a stimpmeter; uphill/downhill, and they have a factor to apply if the ratio is over a certain amount (sorry, don't remember what that is).  Elevation changes were measured using the app on a phone.  It can be set to zero, then drive to the low point  or up to an elevated green.  Again, there is a USGA chart for getting a number based on how much change there is.

 

If you are interested in volunteering to rate courses, I think they are always looking for new bodies.  It would be very useful and cost-effective to have people located in all regions of the state, particularly large states like yours.  I would contact your state association's handicapping and course rating committee chairman.  We have workshops to train new volunteers, and I think it is rather intensive.

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If we refer back to the scratch v tour player thread the 250 number is pretty accurate for a scratch golfer. According to an extremely large sample the average drive for a scratch player is 255.

 

I've read in numerous places that the average make golfer (bogey) hits the ball 200 with the driver. So my guess is that they won't change the yardage much of any in their new rating system.

 

Average driving distance is always a fun topic to broach. Clearly I'm one of the shortest hitters on our former. In real life I'm a sneaky long middle of the pack distance wise, certainly longer than the average 18 although I know 18s that are longer than me.

 

My average drive is 225 in the summer and 235 in the winter at sea level.

 

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I'm going to look into getting on the rating team with the TGA. I'd only be interested in courses somewhat close at hand. Maybe there is an opportunity.

Thanks again Kenny for the great post and follow up.

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I'm another one who appreciated this post, thanks for the write-up.  If anyone is interested, I found a link to the USGA Course Rating Manual for 2012-2015, and find it fascinating.

http://www.ukrgolf.org/i/cat/69/USGA_Course_Rating_System_Manual_2012-2015.pdf

Fascinating, but it also made my head hurt.  It probably makes a lot more sense when experienced through a proper training program, but the range of measurements and judgement calls seems overwhelming at first glance.  Like most things, I bet when you take it one step at a time, it all works out.

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Good one Dave. Yes it's 125 pages! I was looking for this also. I've also left a phone message with our TGA rating division to inquire about learning - becoming- volunteering for rating courses.

Thanks

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I forgot to mention that the guys had a spiral bound book less than 1" thick with plastic laminated pages with all the tables and tabs to find the right table.  Seemed pretty easy for them, but the newest guy to the team has been doing this for 3 years.  They recorded all of their measurements and the corresponding numbers from the tables on a form that was one page per 9 holes.  Wasn't too bad.

 

Also, the team did not look at previous rating info before arriving at the course.  The Director specifically said that he wanted to determine the rating without any influence.  He did have one instance where the numbers were "surprising" to hime on one hole; he then looked up online to see what was decided last time, and if he concurred.

 

Good job PJ!!  Glad you are going to look into it.  I am not sure I would have the patience for it.  I could do it once, maybe twice; but then it would be a "job" and I just retired!!  I don't need a job.  yet.

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Very interesting post. Thank you for taking the time to go out with the rating group, and for writing up your experience!

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Very cool read.

 

I'm actually on the list for MSGA (Maryland) to volunteer as a course rater. They have sent a couple emails recemtly to those that showed interest, that they will be contacted soon.

 

I figured it would be a lot of work. After reading your post, I was shocked to see just how detailed it is.

 

I still think it's something I would like to do, if I can make the time commitment.

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This is awesome. I had no idea how they did it other than the bogey and scratch golfer definitions. The take away though is that a course can get a much harder slope rating by putting everything around 200-250 yards out or the opposite, make a course with an easy slope that plays harder by moving bunkers/hazards just outside that landing zone.

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This is awesome. I had no idea how they did it other than the bogey and scratch golfer definitions. The take away though is that a course can get a much harder slope rating by putting everything around 200-250 yards out or the opposite, make a course with an easy slope that plays harder by moving bunkers/hazards just outside that landing zone.

Yep!  Just because a bunker is past my landing zone, doesn't mean that I won't be in it... on my next shot!   :(

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Yep! Just because a bunker is past my landing zone, doesn't mean that I won't be in it... on my next shot! :(

Or that it won't penalize the longer than average bogey golfer or shorter than average scratch player.

 

What tees did they measure from? Or is it each set of measurements from each set of tees?

 

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Or that it won't penalize the longer than average bogey golfer or shorter than average scratch player.

 

What tees did they measure from? Or is it each set of measurements from each set of tees?

 

Sent from my VS986 using MyGolfSpy mobile app

Every tee box was measured and evaluated.  They have to in order to come up with the rating and slope for all the tee.  They also rated the women not just from the forward tees.  

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Every tee box was measured and evaluated.  They have to in order to come up with the rating and slope for all the tee.  They also rated the women not just from the forward tees.  

I know its a lot more work, but I think its good to have most tees rated for both men and women.  For the better women, this allows them to play back one or even two tees, and still be able to post for handicap.  Likewise for men, this allows shorter hitters to move forward, even as close as the shortest tees, and still be able to post.

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I know its a lot more work, but I think its good to have most tees rated for both men and women.  For the better women, this allows them to play back one or even two tees, and still be able to post for handicap.  Likewise for men, this allows shorter hitters to move forward, even as close as the shortest tees, and still be able to post.

Agreed.  The courses we rated had ratings for men from all tees, but one course only had ratings for women from the "White" tees to the forward tee.

 

What's curious is that for my course, there are ratings for women at all tees except from the tips.  However, the men do not have a rating from the "Red" forward tees.  I'll have to ask about that.

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Agreed.  The courses we rated had ratings for men from all tees, but one course only had ratings for women from the "White" tees to the forward tee.

 

What's curious is that for my course, there are ratings for women at all tees except from the tips.  However, the men do not have a rating from the "Red" forward tees.  I'll have to ask about that.

Ours has ratings for women on the forward two tees (of 4, red, white, blue, gold), for men on the longest 3, but not the most forward.  I don't know if there would be demand for men to play the front tees, but why not make it a possibility.  I do know a small number of women who could play the blue tees, I think it would be good to rate them.  Apparently I've assigned myself a conversation to have when I get to the course later today.

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