The purpose of the New Zealand Golf Handicap System is to make the game of golf more enjoyable by
enabling golfers of differing abilities to compete on an equitable basis. The
System provides fair Course Handicaps
for players regardless of ability, and adjusts a player's Handicap Index up or down as the player’s game changes. At the same
time, it disregards high scores that bear little relation to the player's
potential scoring ability and promotes continuity by making handicaps
continuous from one playing season or year to the next. A New Zealand Golf Handicap Index is useful for all forms
of play and is issued only to individuals who are members of golf clubs.
basic premise underlies the New Zealand Golf Handicap
System, namely that every player will try to make the best score they can
at each hole in every round they play, regardless of where the round is played,
and that they will post every acceptable round, in stroke and match play, for peer review. The player and the player’s
handicap committee have joint
responsibility for adhering to these premises.
A New Zealand Golf Handicap
A New Zealand Golf Handicap
Index compares a player's scoring ability to the scoring ability of a scratch golfer on a course of standard
difficulty. A player posts scores along with the appropriate NZG Ratings to
make up the scoring record. A Handicap Index is computed from no more
than 20 scores in the scoring record.
It reflects the player's potential because it is based upon the best scores
posted for a given number of rounds, ideally the best 10 of the last 20 rounds.
A New Zealand Golf Handicap
Index is portable from course to course, as well as from one set of tees to
other sets of tees on the same course. A player converts a Handicap Index to a Course
Handicap based on the Slope Number
of the tees being played.
A New Zealand Golf
A New Zealand Golf Slope Number:
A player locates the New Zealand Golf Handicap Index on the appropriate Course Handicap Table and finds the corresponding Course Handicap. Course Handicap Tables are posted in the clubhouse or near the
first tee. There will be a Course
Handicap Table for each set of tees used by men and by women. Course Handicap is the number of strokes
a player receives based upon the relative difficulty (Slope Number) of the course.
A New Zealand Golf
Handicap Index is New Zealand Golf's mark, which is used to indicate a measurement of a
player's potential scoring ability on a course of standard playing difficulty.
It is the result of a mathematical calculation based on scores returned. A Handicap Index is converted to a Course Handicap for competition on a
Obtaining a New Zealand Golf Handicap Index:
In order to obtain a New Zealand Golf Handicap Index, golfers must join a golf club and post adjusted
gross scores. These scores are subject to peer review. After at least five scores have been posted, the club
will issue a Handicap Index to the
golfer in accordance with the New Zealand Golf Handicap
If 5 scores have been returned before the rollover
date and the new Handicap Index is
known a handicap committee can allow
the player to compete in a handicap competition.
Using a New Zealand Golf Handicap Index:
A New Zealand Golf Handicap
Index is a number issued by a golf
club that represents the potential scoring ability of a player on a course
of standard difficulty (Slope Number
113). The New Zealand Golf Handicap Index is
expressed as a number taken to one decimal place that is updated and re-issued
every two weeks. A player is responsible for knowing the New Zealand Golf Handicap Index issued at the most recent
revision. A player must convert a New Zealand Golf Handicap
Index to a Course Handicap. For
example, a New Zealand Golf Handicap Index of 16.2
would be converted to a Course Handicap
of 20 at a course with a Slope Number
of 140, using the Course Handicap Table
in Section 3-3. Players can receive
their Handicap Index by text message. Text your 7 digit ID number to 3673
(fore) and within 10 seconds you will receive a reply. (Note: 99c charge will apply)
The Handicap Index formula:
The following procedure illustrates how a player's Handicap Index is calculated if the number of acceptable scores in the player's record is fewer than 20.
the following table to determine the number of Handicap Differentials to use:
(ii) Determine Handicap Differentials;
Average the Handicap Differentials being used;
Multiply the average by .96; *
(v) Delete all numbers after the tenth digit. Do not round off to the nearest tenth.
Handicap is the number of handicap strokes a player receives from a
specific set of tees at the course being played.
To convert a New Zealand Golf Handicap Index to a Course
Handicap, a player locates the New Zealand Golf Handicap
Index on a Course Handicap Table
to find the corresponding Course Handicap.
Each set of rated tees will have a different Course Handicap Table for men and women based on their respective
New Zealand Golf Slope Numbers for those tees. It
is the player's responsibility to determine the correct Course Handicap, and to know the holes at which handicap strokes
are to be given or received (Rules of Golf, 6-2)
A player's Course Handicap is
determined by multiplying a Handicap Index by the Slope Number of
the course played and then dividing by 113. (See Section 10-3.) The resulting
figure is rounded off to the nearest whole number (.5 or more is rounded
Equitable Stroke Control (ESC):
ESC is the downward adjustment of individual hole
scores for handicap purposes in order to make handicaps more representative of
a player’s potential scoring ability. ESC
sets a maximum number that a player can post on any hole depending on the
player’s Course Handicap. ESC is used only when a player’s actual
score exceeds a maximum number based on the table below.
score for any hole is reduced to a specified number of strokes over par (the equivalent of scoring 0
stableford points) for handicap purposes only, as follows:
The New Zealand Golf Course Rating
system was introduced on 1 September 2000, following numerous trials, and the
inadequacies of the previous system. We are indebted to the course raters, of
which there are nearly 200, for their voluntary work and dedication to this
important aspect of the game.
New Zealand Golf has a license agreement with the USGA to
use both the Course Rating and Handicap System, and believes this to be the
most advanced and fairest system available today.
It is the objective of New Zealand Golf to provide a
uniform handicapping system, and the consistency and accuracy of Course
Ratings, bogey ratings and the associated Slope Numbers is vital to achieving
It should be noted that although rating teams
work from January to December, they are assessing the playability of the course
when most rounds are played. Here in New Zealand that is autumn, March-May, and
A simple explanation of the Course Rating System:
The system follows a series of assessments and
course raters complete a thorough process which takes approximately 3-4 hours
per set of tees. There are established standards relative to how far a player
hits the ball, and it is from these positions that obstacles are assessed.
close scrutiny of the system confirms that the biggest contributor to the difficulty
of the course is the overall length, and this is evident in the formula used to
calculate the final rating.
The main formula component is the effective
playing length of the course, which is derived from the course’s measured
length. There are then five factors that are considered, giving a more accurate
number that reflects the true playing length of the course. These are:
RoleChanges in elevationWindForced lay up areasAltitude
The measured length and the effective playing
length adjustments are used to determine a Yardage Rating for two categories of
player, the scratch golfer and the ‘bogey’ golfer. The Scratch Yardage Rating and the Bogey
Yardage Rating are the base numbers used in the calculation of the Scratch
Course Rating and Slope Number.
It is very important that each hole has a
block indicating where the hole has been measured from. The blocks should be in
realistic places so that tee placement can be both in front of and behind the
block. If there are three sets of tees (blue, white and yellow) then there
should be three separate blocks indicating where these measurements commence
A further analysis of the course looks at each
hole and the obstacles that affect playing difficulty. There are 10 obstacles
The values allocated to the above obstacles are multiplied by various factors giving a final number, which may be a small incremental addition or reduction to the scratch yardage rating.The result is the Course Rating.
The final summary will provide three results.
Understanding the Slope Number:
The Slope Number is a figure derived from the ratings that indicate the difficulty of the course for the two types of player, the scratch and bogey golfer. The difference of the two ratings is multiplied by 5.381 (men) and 4.24 (women) to give the Slope Number.
What is the slope number used for?
The Slope Number provides a player with a course handicap after multiplying a Handicap Index by the Slope Number, then dividing by 113.
The Slope Number is also used when putting a player’s round in perspective in comparison to all other courses. Once a player has returned a score, the Course Rating is deducted from the adjusted gross, the difference is multiplied by 113 and then divided by the Slope Number.
When playing a course that has a high Slope Number, most golfers are going to require some assistance. Take Kauri Cliffs for example, where the Slope Number from the white tees is 138. The scratch player, or low handicap golfer, can carry the ball the distances required at this course, but it is a far greater challenge for the higher handicapper. At Pauanui Lakes where the Slope Number is 91, the bogey golfer is at a great advantage in comparison with the scratch golfer, as it is a short course with little trouble, and the Slope Number allows for the adjustment required.
There will be some information that rating teams require before they commence their rating. This includes:
It is important that a club member with local knowledge on wind, and how each hole can play, joins the rating team (the narrator) as from time to time there will be a query that will require an answer.
Frequently asked questions regarding Course Rating:
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