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Course Rating & Slope


Course Ratings  

11 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you care about course ratings?

    • Yes
      7
    • No
      4
  2. 2. If you use these numbers do they align with scoring average?

    • Yes
      3
    • No
      4
    • Sometimes
      4
  3. 3. Do you use the ratings to choose a tee position (white, blue, black)?

    • Yes
      3
    • No
      8


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Count me amongst those who never really paid much attention to or completely understood their use/meaning.  I suppose for those that maintain a formal handicap, course rating and slope are routine topics.  Back when I did keep a handicap (late 70's thru mid 80's), I don't even recall this being a discussion point.  That now makes sense as formal USGA ratings did not happen until the late 80's.  The threesome I was playing with last week were talking about it and I picked up bits and pieces of their discussion.  One was pretty adamant that the numbers rarely seem to align with his experience and scoring on various courses - his buddy claiming they align really well.

This group of younger bombers (though a couple kind of erratic in dispersion) played from the blue tee and I chose to play from that tee as well.  I definitely noticed myself grabbing for longer irons on a number of the par 4's (4-6i vs. 6-8i) than typical.  This course offered a "green tee" between the blue and white - which probably would have more closely matched my typical yardage.  Anyway, their discussion got me to thinking more about this whole "slope & rating" topic so I read a few articles about the origin and how they are developed.  This is a pretty good overview and a more in depth article, covering the very long and contentious history, from the USGA.

https://thegolfacademy.org/2018/07/15/slope-vs-course-rating-two-of-golfs-most-confused-numbers/

https://www.usga.org/handicapping-articles/usga-course-rating-history-081854ca.html

While I don't have or plan to establish a formal handicap, I will start seeing how my scoring aligns with various course ratings.  Lastly, how does one go about getting a job with the USGA traveling around the globe, getting paid to play golf and rate courses... sign me up. 🙂

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For tee position, I really only care about yardage. Trying to stay away from driver wedge every hole and conversely driver 4 iron every hole. Usually blues, sometimes whites but using yardage to make that call.

Slope and rating I care about, and look at before playing a new course. Gives you a good sense of what you are in for, and I will usually do a little more prep work on higher rated courses where you really need every advantage you can get to score well. On the local muni you can just stripe it around, but when the slope gets up over 130, you known you are going to need to find the right angles to approach pins, avoid trouble and hit toward the appropriate bail out zones, and always keep your ball in play off the tee. Really have to play from the green backwards and do whatever you can to set yourself up for success because mistakes will be punished.  

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On 5/25/2020 at 10:47 AM, fixyurdivot said:

  Lastly, how does one go about getting a job with the USGA traveling around the globe, getting paid to play golf and rate courses... sign me up. 🙂

I think you pay to take seminars in the rating system, and then you volunteer with your state or regional golf association.  the rating teams dont necessarily play, the ratings are all based off measurements and a system of evaluations of various factors.  it's not exactly a glamorous  boondoggle.

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39 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

I think you pay to take seminars in the rating system, and then you volunteer with your state or regional golf association.  the rating teams dont necessarily play, the ratings are all based off measurements and a system of evaluations of various factors.  it's not exactly a glamorous  boondoggle.

This is true except for the playing part at least in our association. Been on the golf course side of it and know one who volunteers they play every course. It is not glamorous and it is a lot of work but they do get to play a lot of different courses. 

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6 minutes ago, THEZIPR23 said:

This is true except for the playing part at least in our association. Been on the golf course side of it and know one who volunteers they play every course. It is not glamorous and it is a lot of work but they do get to play a lot of different courses. 

Do you know, do they usually play before they do the rating, or after?  

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31 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

Do you know, do they usually play before they do the rating, or after?  

Typical schedule that I have seen is arrive 8ish walk course and do rating notes. Lunch and the golf. Finalizing takes place after the round. Not sure how they come about that though. 

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Just now, THEZIPR23 said:

Typical schedule that I have seen is arrive 8ish walk course and do rating notes. Lunch and the golf. Finalizing takes place after the round. Not sure how they come about that though. 

The ones I have seen the walking and note taking take longer than playing does. 

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Kenny witnessed them rating his course a couple of years ago. I’m not great at digging up old threads but it was a great read if someone can find it.

I go by yardage as well - I’m bordering on Super Senior hood which means according to the FGA that I would play from 6200 as a top level player.

Honestly I try to keep it between that and 6,000. That’s just right for me at Sea Level. I can go longer up North or in the mountains.

My club has a set of tees that are 6100, 71.7 slope of 132. Its perfect - if I break 80 from those tees I feel like I’ve accomplished something.


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13 minutes ago, revkev said:

Kenny witnessed them rating his course a couple of years ago. I’m not great at digging up old threads but it was a great read if someone can find it.

I go by yardage as well - I’m bordering on Super Senior hood which means according to the FGA that I would play from 6200 as a top level player.

Honestly I try to keep it between that and 6,000. That’s just right for me at Sea Level. I can go longer up North or in the mountains.

My club has a set of tees that are 6100, 71.7 slope of 132. Its perfect - if I break 80 from those tees I feel like I’ve accomplished something.


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May just be me, but give me 10 rounds on 5 courses with the exact same 128 slope rating and I can probably guarantee that there's going to be a consistent 5-6 stroke  difference in the average score on at least 3 of the courses.

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On 5/29/2020 at 3:45 PM, PDT816 said:

May just be me, but give me 10 rounds on 5 courses with the exact same 128 slope rating and I can probably guarantee that there's going to be a consistent 5-6 stroke  difference in the average score on at least 3 of the courses.

Well, the par/slope rating system is definitely not perfect science. This is partly why I started the thread/poll.  I do suspect that, on average across the populous of golfers, the ratings align with scoring. That said, I think a significant factor in how we play courses is how they fit our eye.  I've consistently scored better on a harder rated course in Yuma than one that's easier.  For some reason the front nine on the easier one has my number - always scrambling for score.  

 

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