Implementation of the USGA Course Rating System

USGA Course Rating System

The SAGA, WGSA and GolfRSA have agreed that the go-live date for the implementation of the USGA Course Rating system, including Slope, will be on 3 September 2018.

There is a comprehensive communication and education plan in place, which will ensure that over the next four months all clubs and golfers will have the opportunity to fully understand the change to using Slope.

As a result of adopting the USGA system, all South African golfers will also change to having a Handicap Index, replacing their present Handicap.

Why are we doing this?

All countries, including South Africa, are adopting the World Handicap System (WHS) in 2020. To have one handicap system, there also has to be only one course rating system. The WHS has decided on the USGA system because it is already used in the majority of countries. A World Handicap will also be portable from country to country and will provide players with a globally consistent measure of their playing ability.

What is a Handicap Index?

The current Handicap of golfers will be recalculated to a Handicap Index. The Handicap Index is calculated using the new Course Ratings, which are to one decimal place, as well as the Slope of the course, and so the Handicap Index will also be to one decimal place i.e. 18.3 , as opposed to our current handicaps which are rounded to the nearest whole number i.e. 18. Learn more here.

On the night of the 2nd of September 2018, the last 20 adjusted gross scores of all golfers will be used to recalcuate their handicap index using the new course and slope ratings. The new Handicap Index could possibly be lower than your present handicap, but don’t despair – your Handicap Index will be used along with the slope of the tee to calculate your Course Handicap, which will be a whole number and be very similar to your current handicap.

For more information on the WHS, click here.

What is the Course Handicap?

The Course Handicap is the handicap the golfer will use when playing from a selected tee on a particular course. Each tee has been rated, which enables you to be able to play off forward or back tees. Some tees will have both a rating for males and females.

There will no longer be, for example, ladies tees, but rather the colour-coded “White”, “Blue” or “Red” tees. If a tee has been rated for your gender you may play off it. The course handicap will also take into account the different tee ratings, so you will no longer have to adjust your handicap when competing with players off different tees. The use of forward tees for newer golfers or shorter hitters will also assist in speeding up play.

The Course Handicap is calculated using the golfer’s Handicap Index, the Slope Rating of the selected tee and the Course Rating (CR) of the tee relative to Par.

Course Handicap for each Tee = Handicap Index * Tee Slope/113 + (CR-Par).

The HNA system and/or the phone app will calculate your Course Handicap using the formula above. There will also be charts in the pro shop where you can look up your Course Handicap.

The Course Handicap, once calculated, is rounded up (≥0,5) or down (<0,5) to a whole number. The Course Handicap is the handicap you will use to play and compete in clubs or other competitions. After your round, you will enter your adjusted Gross Score the same way as you do now, and the system will recalculate your Handicap Index.

This all sounds complicated, but rest assured it is not. Millions of rounds are currently played around the world where golfers use this system. As advised above, you also do not need to know how to calculate the Handicap Index or Course Handicap, as it will be done for you on your free phone app, on the Handicap Terminal or you will be able to look it up on a chart at the course.

Written by the Handicaps Network South Africa.