New Handicap and Slope rating system – coming to South Africa

So, South Africa finally catching up with the rest of world and we are changing the Handicap system to include the USGA Slope Rating system. Within the next 12 months the changes will be implemented in South Africa. This means that by 2020 all golfers the world over will have comparable handicaps, well those countries that have adopted the system that is.

the handicap slope rating system will make difficult courses easier for everyone
The difficult Pinnacle Point

Now for those of you that are not familiar with this, it changes the ball game with regards to handicaps. Now the difficulty of a course (Slope Rating) is also taken into account when calculating your handicap. i.e. if the course has narrower fairways, trickier landing zones, more hazards or tough greens, these will contribute towards the Slope Rating.

This will now differentiate courses a lot better and your handicap will be adjusted differently for each course. No more easy sub-par rounds to bring handicaps down, or in the case of some guys, bad rounds on difficult courses to raise the handicaps! Which conveniently happens towards the end of year and the infamous YET!!

The handicap slope rating system will help curb cheating
Two players famous for lining the handicaps


So in simple terms, the higher the Slope Rating, the more difficult the course and vice versa.
The average slope rating for a course is 113, with the maximum (i.e. most difficult) being 155  and minimum (easiest) being 55.

I think we are all familiar with course ratings, i.e. 71/72/73, which compares to the PAR of the course for a scratch golfer, and if a rating is lower than the Par its more difficult and vice versa, the Slope Rating however changes the ball game.

So, here’s how the Slope rating will work with two simple examples:
  1. Course Rating(CR) of 71, and Slope Rating (SR) of 125:
    • This is worked out as follows Handicap x SR/113 + (CR-PAR)
    • e. if you are a 16 Handicap, your Course Handicap will be:
      • (16 x 125/113) + (71-72) = 16.69
      • And, you round up, therefore your course handicap will be 17.
  1. Course Rating(CR) of 69, and Slope Rating (SR) of 123:
    • (16 x 123/113 + (69-72)) = 14.4,
    • Rounded down to 14, therefore your course Handicap is a 14.

However, don’t fear, the system works it all out for you! All you have to do is choose the tee you are playing off and the course you are playing, then the handicap system/ SAGA app will tell you your course handicap for the course you are playing that day.

Once you have completed your round, you simply enter your score as normal with the course and tee selected and the SAGA app calculates automatically as it does currently.

The reason for this change is to make handicaps more transparent and fair no matter which course is played and which tee is used.

I hope this introduction to Slope rating has been clear and if not please visit the USGA Slope Rating page For more information.

Yours in Balls, I mean golf balls, whatever…


The man behind the words – Denzil Jooste
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