This is the first time I have had the opportunity to discuss a change in a golf course’s rating. It is something I have thought about over the years, but never have seen a change actually happen. Well, last fall, Osprey Links, my home course, went through the process of establishing a new course rating. As it turns out, Osprey Links is a more difficult course than previously thought. And frankly I am not surprised!
Golf Canada is governing body for the issuing of course ratings. It does work in conjunction with the provincial golf associations and in the Osprey Links case, the Golf Association of Ontario conducted last fall’s rating on behalf of Golf Canada.
“Course ratings are determined, by permission of Golf Canada, for the purpose of providing a uniform basis for which to issue a Handicap Factor. Course Rating, Slope Ranging®, and Handicap Factor® are marks owned by Golf Canada and may only be used in connection with the Golf Canada Handicap System™.” Of course that is now the World Handicap System that just came into effect in January of 2020.
For further clarification I thought I would offer what Golf Canada says with respect to Course and Slope Rating:
“A 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 strokes taken to one decimal place, and is based on yardage and other obstacles to the extent that they affect the scoring ability of a scratch golfer.”
“A Slope Rating evaluates the relative playing difficulty of a course for players who are not scratch golfers. The lowest Slope Rating is 55 and the highest is 155. A golf course of standard playing difficulty has a Slope Rating of 113.”
Take a look at the new numbers for Osprey Links, do you notice the differences:
|Tees||Length||Gender||CR/SR New||CR/SR Old|
I find it interesting that the wide open front nine is more difficult than the very tight back nine. It might have to do with an extra par 3 (3 in total) on the back, but I cannot confirm that. Basically, the golf course is more challenging now than before.
I would suggest that a more in-depth rating process last fall accounts for the differences in the course and slope ratings. Regardless, this new information is great to have and I am keen to see how these new numbers will affect everyone’s handicap. A quick look suggests that my handicap index will go down and I did not have to improve at all. I think that is a good thing….right?
After examining the numbers a bit more, Osprey Links proves to be a challenge for anyone’s golf game regardless of skill. The slope rating is above the average and that affects the majority of players. I have played hundreds of rounds at this great track and I am excited to start this year and putting these new numbers to the test.
If you are in the North Bay / Callander, Ontario, area and looking for a game, I recommend you try Osprey Links Golf Course. You will not be disappointed.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!