Course Rating & Measurement Services

What is a “Course Rating”?  

A USGA Course Rating is the evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course compared with other rated courses for the purpose of providing a uniform standard by which to compute USGA Handicap Indexes.  A USGA Course Rating is equal to the average of the better half of a scratch golfer’s scores under normal conditions.

What is a “Slope Rating”?

A USGA Slope Rating reflects the relative difficulty of a course for players with USGA Handicap Indexes above scratch, compared with the difficulty of the course for a scratch golfer. 

How often should a course be rated?

A course must be re-rated at least every ten years, even if it has not changed in any way. Courses will be contacted for a re-rating after 8 years have elapsed from the prior rating. Newly constructed courses change rapidly in the first few years, and must be be rated five years after the new course's initial rating.

What factors are used in Course Rating? 

  • Yardage is the predominant factor in determining a USGA Course Rating.

  • The effective playing length of a hole may be substantially different from its  actual length, which includes roll, elevation, dogleg/forced lay-up, prevailing wind and altitude.

  • Obstacle factors (bunkers, water, trees, etc.) are considered separately on their effect on the play of scratch and bogey on each hole.

Course management and maintenance must be consistent from day to day and month to month so that the USGA Course Ratings will remain valid.

Course Rating Cost

  • Courses with ratings where the previous rating occurred more than 8 years ago, on the GHIN System and two consecutive years of paid club dues - $0 for course rating services.
  • Courses with ratings where the previous rating occurred less than 8 years ago - $2500 for course rating services.
  • Courses not on the GHIN System - $2500 for course rating services 

 Tee to Green Measurement Services

(No charge per 9 holes for GHIN clubs: $1500 per 9 holes for Non-GHIN clubs)

The starting point from which each hole is measured must be defined. Normally the middle of the teeing area is used. (See Course Set-up, Section 15-2.) Opposite this starting point, a visible permanent yardage marker such as a concrete slab, metal plate or pipe set flush with the ground must be installed at the side of the tee. Permanent markers are essential. It is recommended that the hole yardage be visible on the marker. Permanent yardage markers should be installed at the side of each set of tees. If alternate tee areas are used, it is important that permanent yardage markers be installed on each area.

On a nine-hole course, if separate tees or tee-markers are used for each nine of an 18-hole round, separate measurements and permanent yardage markers shall be established for each nine. The yardage markers (and their respective tee-markers) for each nine should be uniquely identifiable.

How We Measure

Each hole shall be measured horizontally (air line) by an electronic measurement device, or with steel tape or surveying instruments, from the permanent yardage marker for every teeing area on the golf course to the center of the green. The measurement is along the designed line of play. Any competent individual may perform course measurement, subject to review and checking by the golf association that issues USGA Course Ratings to the golf club. Yardages on the scorecard should accurately reflect this measurement. Accurate measurements to the nearest yard are very important.

A hole with a dogleg shall be measured on a straight line from the tee to the center of the fairway at the dogleg. The measurement shall continue from that point on a straight line to the center of the green.

A single set of markers used on any hole to designate two courses should show both colors, or both sets of markers should be placed together to designate the teeing areas.

Where tees generally used by men are also used by women, there should be a women’s Course Rating and Slope Rating from those tees in order for women to post their scores accurately for handicap purposes. The procedure for posting a score from a set of unrated tees may be used by both men and women when they play a set of tees that has not been rated for the appropriate gender. (See Section 5-2)


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