Course Rating FAQ

Course Rating System Principals
Q. What is the Course Rating, bogey rating, and Slope Rating?A. Course Rating defines the USGA mark indicating the evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for scratch golfers under normal course and weather conditions. It is expressed as strokes taken to one decimal place, and is based on yardage and other obstacles to the extent that they affect the scoring ability of a scratch golfer. Course Rating is equivalent to the better half average of a scratch golfer’s scores under normal playing conditions.
Bogey Rating is the evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for the bogey golfer under normal course and weather conditions. It is based on yardage, effective playing length and other obstacles to the extent that they affect the scoring ability of the bogey golfer. Bogey rating is equivalent to the better half average of a bogey golfer’s scores under normal playing conditions.
Slope Rating defines the USGA mark indicating the measurement of the relative difficulty of a course for non-scratch golfers compared to the Course Rating. Slope Rating is computed by the following formula: Bogey rating – Course Rating x (5.381 men, 4.24 women) = Slope Rating
Course Rating Obstacle Factors
Q. What obstacles are accounted for through the USGA Course Rating evaluation process?A. The USGA Course Rating system is setup to identify the effect of the following (10) obstacles on both a Scratch and Bogey golfer on a hole by hole basis.

Topography: Stance and lie problems 
Fairway: Width of the fairway in the projected landing zones 
Green Target: Difficulty of hitting the green surface on an approach shot 
Rough & Recovery: Difficulty of recovery from areas off the fairway
Bunkers: Fairway bunkers that are in proximity to landing zones as well as greenside bunkers 
Out of Bounds: Effect of OB on the players based upon shot length and distance to OB
Water: Effect of water on players based upon shot length and distance lateral or to carry water 
Trees/Desert: How trees or desert come into play and the recovery factor is a player is in them
Green Surface: Difficulty of putting on the green surface, determined through speed and contour 
Psychological: Gross mental effect that the significance of obstacles can have on a player 

Re-evaluation of golf courses 
Q. How often are courses rerated?A. Authorized Golf Associations who are licensed to evaluate courses in their region and issue USGA Course Ratings are expected to rate each course within their jurisdiction a minimum of once every 10 years to assure the values being utilized are an accurate reflection of the course difficulty. For newly constructed courses, the USGA Rating System requires that the Authorized Golf Association rate the course every 5 years for the first 10 years of existence. Aside from this standard rerate rotation; if a course undergoes significant renovation or changes that would greatly affect the day to day difficulty, the course should contact the local Authorized Golf Association to find out if the Course Rating & Slope values should be revised.
USGA Course Rating Teams
Q. Who is responsible for rating the golf courses using the USGA Course Rating System?A. Only Authorized Golf Associations are licensed by the USGA to rate golf courses and assign Course Rating and Slope values. Typically, the individuals who compose the rating team(s) for each Authorized Golf Association are composed of both volunteers and Association staff. In order to take part as a rating team member, individuals need to go through a training process to assure a high level of knowledge of the standards of the USGA Rating System. Highly trained rating team members will proficiently be able to evaluate golf courses using the standard Course Rating System and produce accurate values for use in future score postings to the handicap system.


Changes to the Rules of Golf

Every four years the United States Golf Association and the R&A make revisions to the Rules of Golf and every two years changes to the Decisions on The Rules of Golf. Listed below are the changes and revisions to the Rules of Golf and Decisions that went into effect Jan. 1, 2012, as well as a link to the complete Rules of Golf and Decisions on the USGA’s website.
Decisions on the Rules of Golf
New Decisions for 2012
Revised Decisions for 2012
Summary of all Decision Changes for 2012
Amendments to the 2012-2013 Decisions  (effective January 1, 2014)
The Rules of Golf
Principle Changes for 2012
The 2012-2015 Complete Rules of Golf


Charity Events

The Arizona Golf Association is happy to help spread the word about charity golf events held in Arizona. If you are looking to play in a charity event, click on “tournament listing” in the navigation to the left and sort by charity events. If you would like your event listed on our site, email Paris Garcia the following information: 

Name of event
Date of event
Location of event
Entry deadline
Charity it supports 
Flyer for event 
Photos and Link to additional information
Contact information for questions/registration 


Getting to know GHIN

It’s been a very busy few months at the AGA working through the transition from Golfnet to the Golf Handicap Information Network, more commonly referred to as GHIN (pronounced “gin”). By the time you read this, the transfer should be just about complete.
The AGA and AWGA felt this was a good time to make a change — it went hand-in-hand with GHIN’s development of a web-based, real-time, score-posting solution and the development of some great tools to assist club administrators in managing the handicap system.
We think clubs will be as excited as we are about some of the other services that will now be available to them. Here’s a short synopsis of some of those products. All are provided at no additional charge to members and will be available through the AGA website,
Score Posting App for Apple and Android
The score posting app is available to all active members of the AGA and AWGA through Android, iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Features of the app include the ability to post your score, view your current USGA Handicap Index and your most recent scores, and look up your friends’ handicaps. It also includes an Interactive Course Handicap Calculator, golf course listings, AGA news, AGA tournament schedules, tournament pairings and results.
Tournament Pairings Program (TPP)
GHIN’s tournament program is a state-of-the-art system used to manage your club events. With essentially no restrictions, the program is commanding enough for the power user, yet designed so that the average user can easily set up and score any tournament. Plus it’s completely integrated with the GHIN handicap system for entering players, guests and course information. When your event is concluded you can then transmit the scores into the player’s GHIN record.
A brief tournament wizard walks users through setting up the event. Players can be entered into the program from either a club listing, using rapid entry, or using the custom import feature. Handicap Indexes for both members and guests may be updated from the GHIN database.
The program allows teams and flights to be made using many different methods. A feature providing additional alternate teams and flights allow users to conduct more than one event in the same tournament with only one score entry. Pairings may be done with many powerful methods that include: random, entry number, sort sequence, sum of gross score, sum of net score, Handicap Index, ABCD and manually. Exchanges are powerful and easy to use with simple drag-anddrop techniques. And don’t worry about last minute changes — it’s easy to insert an additional pairing group, or add another position for another player for any existing pairing group.
Managing a club can be a time consuming and laborintensive job. eClubhouse offers everything your club needs to build a website or accompany an existing site. With its easy-to-use builtin site management tools, a club’s website can be created and customized in minutes. Within an hour the club administrator can add events to the calendar and update club news. Members of the club have access to association and club news and events, the ability to search for another golfer to play with, statistical tools and online event sign-up. Any club can build a great looking professional site with its easy-to-use tools and customizable designs. Plus it integrates with the Tournament Pairings Program from extracting the player list to posting pairings and results.


USGA Handicap System Definitions

The following are a listing of general definitions within the USGA Handicap System.
Handicap Index
A Handicap Index compares a player’s scoring ability to the scoring ability of a scratch golfer on a course of standard difficulty. A player posts scores along with the appropriate USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating to make up the scoring record. A Handicap Index is the USGA’s service mark used to indicate a measurement of a player’s potential ability on a course of standard playing difficulty. It reflects the player’s potential because it is based upon the best handicap differentials posted for a given number of rounds, ideally the best 10 of the last 20 rounds.
A Handicap Index is portable from course to course, as well as from one set of tees to another set of tees on the same course. A player converts a Handicap Index to a Course Handicap based on the Slope Rating of the tees played.
Course Handicap
A Course Handicap is the USGA’s mark that indicates the number of handicap strokes a player receives from a specific set of tees at the course being played to adjust the player’s scoring ability to the level of scratch or zero-handicap golf. A Course Handicap is determined by applying the player’s Handicap Index to a Course Handicap Table or Course Handicap Calculator.
Equitable Stroke Control (ESC)
Equitable Stroke Control (ESC) is the downward adjustment of individual hole scores for handicap purposes in order to make handicaps more representative of a player’s potential ability. ESC sets a maximum number that a player can post on any hole depending on the player’s Course Handicap. ESC is used only when a player’s actual or most likely score exceeds the player’s maximum number based on the following table:

Golf Club
A golf club is an organization of at least ten individual members that operates under bylaws with committees (especially a Handicap Committee) to supervise golf activities, provide peer review, and maintain the integrity of the USGA Handicap System. A golf club must be licensed by the USGA to utilize the USGA Handicap System. A club can obtain a license directly from the USGA or in conjunction with its membership in an authorized golf association that is already licensed by the USGA and that has jurisdiction in the geographic area that includes the principal location of the golf club.
A golf club is one of three (3) Types:

Type 1. The members of a Type 1 club are located at a single specific golf course with a valid USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating where a majority of the club’s events are played and where the club’s scoring records reside; or 
Type 2. The members of a Type 2 club are affiliated, or known to one another, via a business, fraternal, ethnic, or social organization. The majority of the club members had an affiliation prior to organizing the club; or 
Type 3. The members of a Type 3 club had no prior affiliation and a majority of the recruiting and sign up of the membership is done by solicitation to the public (e.g., newspaper, Internet). 

Handicap Committee
An essential element of the USGA Handicap System is the Handicap Committee. Each golf club or authorized golf association utilizing the USGA Handicap System must appoint a Handicap Committee that ensures compliance with the USGA Handicap System, including peer review. A majority of the Handicap Committee, including the chairperson, must be members of the club; club employees may serve on the Handicap Committee, but an employee may not serve as chairperson.
Duties of the appointed Handicap Committee include:

Communication with club members 
Maintenance of player records-correction of scoring records, assignment of modified handicaps 
Display of Course Ratings, Slope Ratings and Course Handicap tables 
Examining results of competitions 
Serve as the local club authority on the implementation of the USGA Handicap System 

Handicap Differential
A Handicap Differential is the difference between a player’s adjusted gross score and the USGA Course Rating of the course on which the score was made, multiplied by 113, then divided by the Slope Rating from the tees played and rounded to the nearest tenth, e.g., 12.8. The Handicap Differential is the official reflection of how well the round was played (lower the better) as it accounts for the players score in addition to the difficulty of the course and tee the score was record on (rating & slope values).
Peer Review
Peer review is the ability of golfers to gain an understanding of a player’s potential ability and to form a reasonable basis for supporting or disputing a score that has been posted.
There are two essential elements of peer review:

Members of a golf club must have a reasonable and regular opportunity to play together. 
Access must be provided to scoring records, as well as to a Handicap Index list, for inspection by others, including, but not limited to, fellow club members. 

Score Type
A score type indicates specific aspects of a score within a player’s scoring record and should be designated in the following manner:

H = Home

A = Away

T = Tournament

I = Internet posting

C = Combined Nine Hole Scores

P = Penalty Score