Course Rating Resources

  • About Course Rating

    When a golf course is rated, the rating team will evaluate the overall difficulty of the golf course for both a scratch golfer and a bogey golfer. The rating established for the scratch golfer is known as the Course Rating. There is also a rating for the bogey player known as the Bogey Rating. This Bogey Rating is not normally published but is used to determine a Slope Rating. Slope Rating; is the evaluation of the relative difficulty of a course for players other than scratch.

    The Course Rating process requires the Course Rating team to evaluate the ten obstacles and effective length corrections for every hole. We recommend that each rating team play the golf course before or after the rating procedure to gain further insight into the overall difficulty of the golf course.

    The Course and Slope Ratings are then calculated and certified by Golf Ontario before they are issued to the corresponding golf club.

    In order to help understand the course rating process, below are some of the basic definitions used in the course rating process:

    Bogey Golfer – A player with a Handicap Index of approximately 20.0 for men and approximately 24.0 for women. Under normal situations, the male bogey golfer can hit his tee shot 200 yards and reach a 370-yard hole in two shots. Likewise, the female bogey golfer can hit her tee shot 150 yards and reach a 280-yard hole in two shots.

    Scratch Golfer – An amateur player who plays to 0.0 Handicap Index to the standard of the stroke play qualifiers competing in the United States Amateur Championship/Canadian Amateur. The male scratch golfer hits his tee shots an average of 250 yards and reaches a 470-yard hole in two shots. The female scratch golfer can hit her tee shots an average of 210 yards and reach a 400-yard hole in two shots.

    Course Rating – An evaluation of the overall difficulty of the golf course under normal course and weather conditions for the scratch golfer. This figure is equal to the average of the better half of a scratch golfer score.

    Bogey Course Rating – An evaluation of the overall difficulty of the golf course under normal course and weather conditions for the bogey golfer. The bogey rating is equal to the average of the better half of a bogey golfer’s score.

    Slope Rating – An indication of the relative difficulty of a golf course for players who are not scratch players compared to players who are scratch players. The lowest Slope rating is 55, and the highest is 155. A golf course of standard playing difficulty has a Slope Rating of 113.

    Effective Playing Length – The effective playing length for each golfer is derived by adding the measured yardage of the course to any adjustments made for elevation, roll, forced lay-ups, wind, and altitude. Adjustments are made to the measured yardage if there is any elevation change from tee to green (elevation), if there is a prevailing wind and is it a factor (wind), if the fairway landing areas are hard or soft, if the tee shots land into an up-slope or on a downslope (roll), if an obstacle or combination of obstacles prevents a golfer from playing a full-length shot (forced lay-up), and if the course is located more than 2000 feet above sea level (altitude).

    Obstacle Stroke Value – The obstacle stroke value is a numerical evaluation of all obstacles (topography, fairway, green target, recovery and rough, bunkers, out of bounds, water, trees, green surface, and psychology) on the golf course. It is also highly probable that the Obstacle stroke value of the two golfers will be different. Generally, the nearer the obstacles are to the landing zones the higher the rating values.

  • Course Measurement

    Golf course length has the most impact on the Course and Slope Ratings. Fundamentally it is important to have accurate yardage measurements for each member club. Using a Global Positioning System (GPS), we provide the most accurate measurements by following the procedure set out in Section 6 in the Course Rating Manual.  These measurements are taken from each tee deck to the middle of the green – taking into account all doglegs (pivot points) and the number of tees on each tee deck.


    Once the measurements have been taken and calculated, each club will receive an official measurement certificate that shows all measurements for each set of tees. Clubs are encouraged to have their scorecards reflect the yardages as measured by Golf Ontario because they used to determine Course and Slope Rating.


    The measurement service is provided to all member clubs by the Handicapping & Course Rating Department as part of their membership. Other services that are available for an additional fee include:

      • Sprinkler Head Measuring
      • Green, Tee and Fairway area calculation


    Please contact for more information about these services.

  • Course Rating FAQ’S

    Q: Where can I find the Course and Slope Ratings for a club?

    A: There are a number of places to find the Course and Slope Ratings for a club. Official Course Rating certificates (for both men and women) should be posted at the golf course in an easily visible area. Most clubs also include the Course and Slope Ratings on their scorecard and website.

    The Golf Canada website also offers a search tool where you can find all member courses in the province along with Course Rating and contact information: Simply click here to find a course.


    Q: Where can I find Slope Conversion Charts/Course Handicap Tables?

    A: Course Handicap Tables for the relevant tees should be posted at the course in an easily visible area (near the handicap computer, in pro shop, near the first tee, etc.).

    If you would like the course handicap table under the World Handicap System, please contact us at

    Q: What is Slope Rating?

    A: Slope Rating indicates the measurement of relative difficulty of a course for players who are not scratch golfers compared to the Course Rating. Slope Rating is computed from the difference between the Bogey Rating (playing difficulty for the bogey golfer) and Course Rating.


    Q: Does a higher Slope Rating mean that it’s a more difficult course?

    A: No, not necessarily. Slope Rating is a measurement of the relative difficulty of a course for players who are not scratch golfers compared to the Course Rating. This means that the higher the Slope Rating, the greater the difference is between the scratch and bogey players. Since Slope Rating is a relative measure, it is only accurate when considered in combination with the Course Rating.


    Q: How often is a course rated?

    A: How often a course is rated depends on if it is a new or established course. Newly constructed courses can change rapidly in the first few years and must be re-rated within 3-5 years. Once a course has become established it must be rated at least every 10 years.


    Q: When does a course need to be re-rated?

    A: A course needs to be re-rated when it is due up for a scheduled re-rating (3-5 years for a new course, and at least every 10 years for an established course), or when significant changes are made to the course.

    Significant changes can include changes to the playing length, added or removed penalty areas, changes in green design/shape/contour, etc. It is the responsibility of the golf club to notify the authorized golf association of these changes and whether they are temporary or permanent.


    Q: How is the course measured?

    A: Each golf course must be measured by an electronic measuring device (EMD), surveying instrument, or a global positioning system (GPS). Golf Ontario uses GPS devices that provide the most accurate measurements of the golf course.

    Measurements are taken from the tee deck according to the number of tees on each deck to the middle of the green. For any hole with a dogleg, a straight line is measured from the tee to the pivot point (located in the middle of the fairway). Another straight line measurement is taken from that pivot point to the center of the green or to the next pivot point if applicable. These values are added to determine the official measurement for each hole and overall course.

    Once the measurement process is completed, the club will receive an official measurement certificate. It is recommended that this certificate be posted for golfers and that the club scorecards reflect the official measurements as they are the ones used for Course Rating purposes.

    Please refer to Sections 6 of the Course Rating Manual for complete details of course measurement procedures.


    Q: I score approximately the same on my two different courses but their Course and Slope Ratings are different. Why is that?

    A: One reason for this could be that one of the clubs has recently been rated and has not posted their most current Course and Slope Rating, or that the club has not printed out new scorecards to reflect the recent rating results.

    Another reason could be coincidental in that they have similar design characteristics that work well with your individual game and that the rounds you have played have happened to be around the same scores.


    Q: Why are the Golf Ontario ratings different than those that are posted on the club scorecard?

    A: The Golf Ontario website and Golf Canada Score Centre contain the most up to date information about Course and Slope Ratings. If the numbers differ from those on the scorecard, it is most likely that the course has recently been rated and the club has not printed off scorecards reflecting the changes.

    If the Course and Slope Rating on the club score posting terminal do not match up with the correct ratings, it may be that the club needs to perform on online update. The online update syncs data between the computer and database. Talk to the pro shop when the last online transmission was and ask if they can perform one to sync the data.


    Q: How can I become a course rating volunteer?

    A: To become a course rating volunteer, you must submit an application form along with a written reference to the Golf Ontario office. Once the application has been processed, you will be contacted from Golf Ontario with information on the next stage of the process.

    Course rating volunteers must take part in training seminars that provide in-depth instruction about course rating practices and procedures.

    All forms and additional information can be found by submitting a volunteer application form.