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Connecticut State Golf Association
Steward of Connecticut Golf Since 1899
Connecticut State Golf Association
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Handicapping

USGA Course Rating System

CSGA Course Rating Teams rate 25 to 30 courses per year. 

The CSGA Member Clubs are rated once every ten years, earlier if the course has undergone significant renovations. Per USGA guidelines, new courses are rated once every three years for nine years until mature. 

The men’s course rating teams are broken into two regions (North and South) with both regions employing a course rating captain.  With assistance from the CSGA, the Connecticut Women’s Golf Association (CWGA) and the Southern New England Women’s Golf Association (SNEWGA) conduct ratings from all women’s tees.

When a golf course is rated, the rating team, using a prescribed USGA methodology, evaluates the overall difficulty of the golf course by taking into account the 10 obstacles and effective length corrections on every hole. They give a numerical evaluation of all obstacles on each hole – topography, fairway, green target, recovery and rough, bunkers, out of bounds, water, trees, green surface, and psychology – and use those numbers to calculate a rating.

Course Rating Definitions

The following are terms essential to the USGA Course Rating System:

Scratch Golfer: A male scratch golfer is a player who can play to a Course Handicap of zero on any and all rated golf courses. A male scratch golfer, for rating purposes, can hit tee shots an average of 250 yards and can reach a 470-yard hole in two shots at sea level. A female scratch golfer is a player who can play to a Course Handicap of zero on any and all rated golf courses. A female scratch golfer, for rating purposes, can hit tee shots an average of 210 yards and can reach a 400-yard hole in two shots at sea level.

USGA Course Rating: A USGA Course Rating is the evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for scratch golfers under normal course and weather conditions. It is expressed as the number of strokes taken to one decimal place (72.5), and is based on yardage and other obstacles to the extent that they affect the scoring difficulty of the scratch golfer. 

Bogey Golfer:   A male bogey golfer is a player who has a Course Handicap™ of approximately 20 on a course of standard difficulty. He can hit tee shots an average of 200 yards and can reach a 370-yard hole in two shots at sea level.  A female bogey golfer is a player who has a Course Handicap of approximately 24 on a course of standard difficulty. She can hit tee shots an average of 150 yards and can reach a 280-yard hole in two shots at sea level.

Bogey Rating™:   A Bogey Rating is the evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for bogey golfers under normal course and weather conditions. It is expressed as the number of strokes taken to one decimal place (92.1), and is based on yardage and other obstacles to the extent that they affect the scoring difficulty of the bogey golfer.

Slope Rating®: A Slope Rating is the USGA® mark that indicates the measurement of the relative playing difficulty of a course for players who are not scratch golfers, compared to scratch golfers.  It is computed from the difference between the Bogey Rating and the USGA Course Rating times a constant factor and is expressed as a whole number from 55 to 155.

Course Rating FAQ's

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. Newly constructed courses change rapidly in the first few years, and should be rated once every three years for the first nine years.

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.  

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About the CSGA

The CSGA functions as an extension of the USGA and provides stewardship for amateur golf in Connecticut. Founded in 1899, it is the country’s oldest state golf association and conducts over 50 Championships, Qualifiers and One-Day Tournaments throughout the year, in addition to administering handicaps for over 40,000 members and 181 member clubs. As a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization, the CSGA supports a variety of golf organizations within Connecticut, including the Connecticut Women’s Golf Association, Southern New England Women’s Golf Association, The First Tee, the Connecticut PGA, and the CSGA Scholarship Fund in honor of Widdy Neale.