From 23 January 2014, Australian golfers with eligible Golf Australia Handicaps will have handicaps adjusted to the course they are playing.
Scratch, Bogey and Slope Ratings
Every set of tees on every golf course in Australia has been rated with a scratch rating, a bogey rating, and a calculated slope rating. Scratch and bogey ratings assess the difficulty of the course against par for scratch golfers, and mid handicap golfers respectively. The slope rating measures the difference between scratch and bogey ratings, and takes into account the difficulty of the course from the selected tees and how it affects high and low handicaps, calculated to a maximum difficulty of 155 to easiest rating of 55, the neutral rating is 113. In other words, golfers will have a different adjusted handicap depending on which course they are playing. A high slope rating isnt a calculation of the difficulty of the course overall, more that there is more allowance for higher handicaps on the course. Scratch rating is a more accurate definition of difficulty.
As an example, my current GA Handicap is 15.3. If I am playing off the blue tees at my local course, Growling Frog Golf Club, the slope rating is 136. To calculate the Daily handicap, I multiply my GA Handicap by the slope rating and divide by 113 (the base neutral rating). My Growling Frog daily handicap is 18.4! If I play at Yarra Bend Golf Course, the rating is easier (118), thus my handicap will be 15.9.
Courses with the highest slope rankings in Australia include:
148 Heritage Henley (Gold)
147 Cypress Lakes (Black)
147 The Vintage (Black)
144 Croydon Valley (Black)
144 Moonah Links Open (Black)
144 Brookwater (Black)
High slope ranking indicate that higher handicap players are going to suffer considerably more in comparison with low handicaps on these courses.
Daily Course Ratings
In addition, each course will have a Daily Scratch Rating (DSR), this will alter depending on conditions on the day and will be based on the number of competitors, the average scores and size of the field. A complex formula will aim to assess the difficulty of the course on the day. This will then impact slope and the final score.
So, is that clear? Its a more complex system than is currently in place, much of the calculation will be done via the GolfLink handicapping system, so there isnt a need for the golfer to carry calculators and slide rules. Its definitely a fairer system, especially for those golfers who play competition golf on multiple courses.