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How are Golf Courses Rated?

All courses are rated under the USGA Course Rating System. There are five factors that are considered for each hole. These are:

– Roll: Assessment of how far a ball will roll on fairways with various surface conditions/contouring.
– Elevation: Difference in elevation between the tee and green and for a player’s approach shot to the green.
– Wind: Average wind strength and direction.
– Forced lay-up: Where a player is forced to play short of obstacles that cross the fairway.
– Dog-leg: Where the dog-leg design of a hole does not allow a full tee shot to be played. 


There are also 10 other obstacles that are evaluated on each golf hole:

– Topography: Nature of the stance and lie within each landing zone and approach shot elevation to the green.
– Fairway: The width of fairway landing zones, hole length and nearby obstacles, including trees, hazards and rough.
– Green target: Evaluation of hitting the green with the approach shot and the visibility and nature of the green surface.
– Recoverability and rough: Difficulty of recovery if the tee shot landing zone and/or the green is missed.
– Bunkers: The size, depth and proximity to the landing zone and green.
– Crossing obstacle: Shot length to safely carry water, penalty areas, out of bounds or extreme rough.
– Lateral obstacle: The distance of obstacles from the centre of the fairway and green.
– Trees: The size, density and proximity of trees to the centre of the landing zone/green, shot length to target areas, and recovery difficulty.
– Green surface: Putting difficulty on a green. This takes into account green speed, surface contours and tiers.
– Psychological: Evaluation of the cumulative effect of the other nine obstacle factors.

Each obstacle is given a numerical value, from 0 to 10 (0 being non-existent, 10 being extreme). The process is repeated on every hole and for every tee. Through this data, a scratch and bogey rating is achieved

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