Club Services

Resources for golfers and club administrators to learn more about the Rules of Golf, World Handicap System, Course Rating, and other services provided by the Texas Golf Association.

Rules of Golf

Texas Golf Association (TGA) events are conducted under the Rules of Golf as produced by the USGA and R&A. The TGA’s staff includes full-time members trained by the USGA who help administer and understand the contents of the Official Guide to the Rules of Golf.

TGA Events may have supplemental local rules in place for the host club as well as a “Hard Card” which is in effect for all TGA Championships. The supplemental rules, or Notice to Players, are determined by the Tournament Rules Committee and distributed to players before each round.

RULES OF GOLF RESOURCES:

Education

The Texas Golf Association conducts educational seminars and workshops across the state and throughout the year to help member clubs improve tournament management and assist golfers in maintaining their handicaps.

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TOPIC LOCATION DATE REGISTRATION LINK
World Handicap System™ Brookhaven Country Club, 3333 Golfing Green Dr, Farmers Branch, TX 75234 June 10, 2024 REGISTER
World Handicap System™ Hide-A-Way Lake Golf Club, 101 Hide-A-Way Central, Hideaway, TX 75771 June 14, 2024 REGISTER
World Handicap System™ Hillcrest Country Club, 4011 N. Boston Ave., Lubbock, TX 79408 June 19, 2024 REGISTER

Education

The Texas Golf Association conducts educational seminars and workshops across the state and throughout the year to help member clubs improve tournament management and assist golfers in maintaining their handicaps.

Education Table
TOPIC LOCATION DATE LINK
WHS Brookhaven Country Club June 10 REGISTER
WHS Hide-A-Way Lake Golf Club June 14 REGISTER
WHS Hillcrest Country Club June 19 REGISTER

Amateur Status Reinstatement

The Texas Golf Association assists golfers who reside in Texas and wish to regain their Amateur status by applying to the USGA for reinstatement.

The standard probation period before reinstatement to amateur status is granted is two years from the date of the last act contrary to the Rules of Amateur Status. However, this period can vary depending on the type and length of violation. A one-year probation is typically granted for those who have accepted a non-conforming prize. Longer periods of up to three years are typically granted for those who played extensively for prize money or are requesting a second reinstatement. The waiting period is retroactive and begins from the date the applicant last acted contrary to the Rules of Amateur Status.

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World Handicap System (WHS)

The new World Handicap System (WHS) began rolling out in January 2020 providing golfers with a unified and more inclusive handicapping system. The USGA and The R&A believe the main objectives and key features of the WHS will help strengthen and foster growth of the entire game for years to come by meeting the needs of the modern-day golfer.

MAIN OBJECTIVES

  • Encourage as many golfers as possible to obtain and maintain a Handicap Index;
  • Enable golfers of differing abilities, genders and countries to transport their Handicap Index to any course globally and compete on a fair basis;
  • Indicate with sufficient accuracy the score a golfer is reasonably capable of achieving on any course around the world, playing under normal conditions.
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Golf Group

USGA Handicap Committee Guide

The USGA Handicap Committee Guide is designed as a complement to the Rules of Handicapping book. The guide is meant to assist Club Handicap Committees in the practical application of the Rules of Handicapping and provide guidance on how to carry out its responsibilities to ensure all players have an opportunity to play or compete on an equal and fair basis with fellow players.

Course Rating

The TGA rates Member Club and Non-Member Club courses in accordance with the USGA’s Course and Slope Rating System. All courses must be re-rated every 10 years, and the USGA requires that all new golf courses be re-rated after five years.

Utilizing regional teams of raters located throughout Texas, the TGA rates 75-100 courses annually. Precise course and slope ratings are provided for each set of tees so that all golfers can enjoy the benefits of an accurate and equitable handicap system.

COURSE RATING QUICK LINKS

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COURSE RATING FEES

9 or 18 hole courses

  • Member Club $0 (includes Men and Women)
  • Non-Member Club $2,000
  • Member Club Course Measuring $0
  • Non-Member Club Course Measuring $500

27 and 36 hole courses

  • For 27 hole courses fees will be 1.5x the listed amount
  • For 36 hole courses, 2x the amount

A member club is defined as a Texas Golf Association member in good standing using the GHIN handicap service.

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COURSE RATING LOOKUP

The United States Golf Association maintains a national course and slope rating database for use by all golfers. To search for a course or slope rating, click on the link below:

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VOLUNTEER TO BE A COURSE RATER

The TGA is always looking for help in rating courses throughout Texas. To volunteer to be a Course Rater, please click the Volunteer button below to complete the application.

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OVERVIEW

 

When first established, the Course Rating system identified the difficulty of a course as it would be played by the scratch golfer. This is called a Course Rating and is a number rounded to one decimal place (example 70.1). Since the scratch golfer usually hits the ball relatively straight, obstacles such as trees, water, sand, etc., are of little influence, leaving effective playing length of the course as the major difficulty factor.

It eventually became evident that it was necessary to also identify the difficulty of a course for the bogey golfer since courses of similar effective playing length could vary widely in the number and severity of obstacles present. In 1987, the USGA introduced the Slope System as a means of evaluating both length and obstacles as the difference in difficulty between the scratch and bogey golfer.

The Slope Rating of a golf course is a whole number between 55-155, which indicates the relative difficulty of a course for the bogey golfer compared to the scratch golfer. In simple terms, the higher the Slope Rating, the more strokes the golfer with a higher handicap needs from the golfer with lower handicap.

To accomplish maintaining current ratings for the thousands of golf courses in this country, the USGA has trained local and Regional Golf Associations in the USGA Course Rating System and supplied them with materials to make the resulting ratings accurate and consistent. With the tremendous increase in inter-club play, this consistency and accuracy has become more and more important. The TGA rates Member Club courses in accordance with the United States Golf Association (USGA) Course and Slope Rating System.

When a golf course is rated, the rating team evaluates the overall difficulty of the golf course by taking into account the 10 obstacles and effective length corrections on every hole. They give a numerical evaluation of all obstacles on each hole – topography, fairway, green target, rough and recoverability, bunkers, crossing penalty areas, lateral penalty areas, trees, green surface, and psychological effects – and use those numbers to calculate a rating. Members of the team will usually play the course before or after the rating to gain more insight into the course’s level of difficulty. Utilizing regional teams of raters located throughout Texas, the TGA rates approximately 75 to 100 courses annually. Precise course and slope ratings are provided for each set of tees, so that all golfers can enjoy the benefits of an accurate and equitable handicap system.

FAQS

 

What is a “Slope Rating”?

A USGA Slope Rating reflects the relative difficulty of a course for players with USGA Handicap Indexes above scratch, compared to the difficulty of the course for a scratch golfer.

How often should a course be rated?

A course must be re-rated at least every ten years, even if it has not changed in any way. Newly constructed courses change rapidly in the first few years, and must be re-rated after five years.

What factors are used in Course Rating?

Yardage is the predominant factor in determining a USGA Course Rating. The effective playing length of a hole may be substantially different from its actual length, which includes roll, elevation, dogleg/forced lay-up, prevailing wind and altitude.

Obstacle factors (bunkers, water trees, etc.) are considered separately on their effect on the play of scratch and bogey on each hole. Course management and maintenance must be consistent from day to day, and month to month, so that the USGA Course Ratings will remain valid. Minor construction or moving a teeing ground can impact course rating.

What do the numbers mean?

Question: Which golf course is more difficult?

Answer: Easy… at every handicap level, the answer is Course A! Surprised? Many, if not most golfers probably would have guessed Course B. It just goes to illustrate the many myths and misunderstandings that abound regarding the subject of Slope.

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COURSE RATING SLOPE
Course A 71.3 121
Course B 69.2 132

Myth No. 1

Slope is the major indicator of the difficulty or, to put it another way the higher the Slope, the more difficult the course. Wrong! As the above example confirms, it is the Course Rating and not the Slope, which is the more dominant factor defining course difficulty.

As each score a golfer posts is broken down into a numeric value known as a “differential,” it is the Course Rating that is the more important factor in the calculation (Adjusted Score minus Course Rating multiplied by 113 divided by Slope Rating).

To put the Course Rating vs. Slope Rating debate into perspective, it takes more than 20 units of Slope to have the same impact as a single stroke of Course Rating on a 5-handicapper. As a golfer’s handicap increases, this ratio of the importance of the two values changes, but even for a 20-handicapper it takes five to six points of slope to have the same impact as one stroke in the Course Rating.

Myth No. 1a

Two Courses with the same Slope are of equal difficulty. Wrong! A course with a rating of 71.5/125 is about two strokes more difficult than a course with a rating of 69.6/125 at every handicap level.

Myth No. 2

Slope rating can be compared from one course to another. Wrong! There is nothing more dangerous than trying to draw any sort of meaningful conclusions by comparing Slope Rating from one course to another.

What is Slope?

Slope merely tells how “proportionately” more difficult that a golf course (by tee set up) plays for higher handicapped golfers as opposed to lower handicapped golfers. The more difficult the play proportionally for the higher handicappers, the greater the Slope.

That’s it! Slope doesn’t tell you how the course proportionally plays from any other set of tees, let alone tell you how it compares with other courses.

This proportionate difficulty is measured via a course rating process that evaluates each hole and each shot through the eyes of a scratch golfer and bogey golfer. This process is so thorough that an actual rating for how the scratch and the bogey golfer is computed and it is the gap between the Scratch and Bogey rating that determines the Slope.

For example a set of tees may be issued a Course or Scratch rating of 71.0 and a Bogey Rating of 92.0. What this means is that if a scratch golfer were to complete 20 rounds, we would expect his 10 best scores to average around 70.5. If a golfer with a handicap index of 20.0 were to complete 20 rounds, we would expect his ten best scores to average around 92.0. Based upon this gap of 23.8 strokes between the two ratings (92 – 71= 21), a Men’s Slope Rating of 113 would be issued (difference in ratings times 5.381). *A constant of 5.381 is achieved by finding the slope of a line between 71.0 and 92.0. These are the scratch and bogey ratings of the USGA standard course with a rating of 71.0/113.

The Scratch and Bogey ratings are somewhat volatile, and when a series of factors or obstacles on a course tend to effect one of the two golfers, then things will happen to the Slope.

For example, if a set of tees has a high number of holes that the bogey golfer can reach the green in “regulation,” an upward pressure on the Slope will be exerted. Think about it … on most of these holes the bogey golfer is approaching the green with a long iron or a fairway wood, while the scratch golfer has a wedge or less in his/her hands. Clearly the bogey golfer is much more susceptible to any of the greenside trouble present on the holes (bunkers, difficult chips, etc.) … the kind of trouble which can cause scores to soar. Such a scenario will force the bogey rating higher, widen the gap between the two ratings and result in a higher Slope. Now consider a set of tees, even on the same course, where most of the holes are unreachable in regulation for the bogey golfer. Now it is the scratch golfer who has the longer approach shots, perhaps with mid to long irons, while the bogey golfer may merely be chipping/pitching to the green in one over regulation. To a certain degree, the tide of proportionate difficulty has turned. Though both ratings will be increased because of the added length of these tees, the gap between the Scratch and Bogey ratings may be staying relatively constant or may widen at a very slow rate.

These upward and downward pressures help explain why a Slope rating may increase sharply at a course from the Forward tees to the Middle tees (Bogey rating as the approach shot becomes longer), yet hardly change from Middle to Back (gap increasing slowly due to shorter approach shots of the bogey golfer). It also explains how a shorter course can be issued a Slope that may seem to be a little high, or how a longer course may be issued a Slope that may seem a little low.

Another factor that can greatly impact the Slope is forced lay-ups. If the Scratch golfer is forced to lay-up on a hole because of any one of a number of obstacles (water hazard, severe dogleg, etc.), this will increase the Scratch rating. That’s because of the extra yardage of the approach shot. It will leave the Bogey rating untouched. This higher Scratch rating narrows the gap with the Bogey rating and decreases the Slope. Conversely, if the forced lay-ups only affect higher handicappers, the Bogey rating and Slope will increase.