Welcome to Understanding the Obstacles

With this blog we have a goal of educating the public on how the USGA Course Rating system works, and how the NCGA performs these Course Ratings. We will be covering the elements of course rating that the NCGA is responsible for as well as the 10 different obstacle rating factors that are used when calculating course ratings.

Scratch vs. Bogey Tee Shots

Have you ever wondered how the numbers that appear on the slope charts at your club come about? We are going to start a post here with a goal of educating the public on how the USGA Course Rating system works.

We will be covering the elements of course rating that the NCGA is responsible for as well as the 10 different obstacle rating factors that are used when calculating course ratings. To start, there are a couple of important terms that need to be defined.

The most important players in the Course Rating system are the Scratch and Bogey golfers. The difference in these two players’ abilities is what determines the Slope of a golf course. A Scratch golfer is a player who can play to a Course Handicap of zero and for rating purposes can hit the ball 250 (210 yards for Women) off the tee and averages 470 (400) yards in two shots. A Bogey golfer is a player who has a Course Handicap of approximately 20 (24) on a course of standard difficulty and can hit the ball 200 (150) yards off the tee and averages 370 (280) yards in two shots.

As you can see in the diagram, Scratch hits it further so his approach shot is shorter than the Bogey player, most people can grasp that concept. The other elements that we consider when we are out at a facility are the obstacles within the different landing zones for each player. We will dive into this with more precision later, but as you can see each player needs to play the hole with a different mindset in order to avoid the obstacles that are on each hole. There are times when an obstacle, such as a bunker or some water, comes into play much more prominently for one golfer than the other. Those differences, added up over 18 holes, make up the rating and slope.

If you have any questions please send them to us at jcowan@ncga.org or jgray@ncga.org and we will do our best to help you out.