Learning Center


What is the USGA’s “Course Rating”?


An important component of the USGA Handicap System is the "course rating." What is a course rating? In an article titled, "Course Rating Primer," it states:

"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."

A male scratch golfer is one 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 can "hit tee shots an average of 210 yards and can reach a 400-yard hole in two shots at sea level."

Each set of tees on a golf course receives a Course Rating and a Slope Rating. You can read more about the Course Rating at the USGA website including the history.