Different courses have different difficulties and characteristics. Some courses are extremely long while others are short. Ponds or bodies of water could pose problems on courses while at others there might not be any water.
Fairways might be hilly and cause awkward stances at one course while at another they might be flat. The same goes for tree-lined fairways or wide open courses.
One golfer might shoot low at a certain course but then high at a different course. Slope ratings and course ratings can help golfers understand better how to calculate average scores.
The course rating is the expected score for a scratch golfer (one who shoots par) at each set of tees. This can be found on the scorecard or online. On the left side of the scorecard next to the set of tee box colors a number is usually shown. Each tee will have a different course rating.
If the course rating is lower than the course’s par, a scratch golfer should shoot under par. If the rating is higher than the course’s actual par then a scratch golfer would be expected to shoot over par.
Since the majority of golfers are not scratch golfers, the slope rating gives an indication as to how a bogey golfer would shoot on a certain course in comparison to a scratch golfer’s score.
The slope rating signifies the slope of a line passing through a Y-axis and X-axis. The Y being the expected scores and the X being handicaps.
If the slope is 108 then an extra 1.08 strokes is expected for each 1 point of handicap difference. So if the rating was 113 an average golfer would lose to a scratch golfer by around 20 strokes.
Calculating an Average
If you and your golf buddies want to calculate the expected score for a golf course, here is a simple way to do it explained by golfweek.com using the course rating and slope rating.
If a course has a par of 72 and rating of 72 with a slope rating of 113, you would subtract an average player’s 100 strokes by 72 (scratch golfer expected score) which equals 28 strokes. That is the number of strokes a normal golfer would be expected to lose to a scratch golfer by.
It is calculated by multiplying the slope rating by .2477. If you multiplied 113 times .2477 you would get 27.99 which rounds up to 28.
If you add the 28 to the course rating of 72 then an average golfer should shoot 100.