This question isn't about clubs or golf balls, but I'm curious how rating and slope are actually determined. I ask because my town's course, the one I play on 90% of the time, is widely referred to as being a very difficult course, but I don't think the slope reflects its difficulty. Most of the members agree that a handicap from there is at least 3 strokes higher than elsewhere. The thing is that if you look at the scorecard, it doesn't look that hard (6400 yards from the back tees). However, the issue is that every single fairway is lined with OB, hazard, or brush way too thick to find a ball. Basically, if you're not close to the fairway on every shot, it's a 2 stroke penalty. Oh yeah, every green is surrounded on at least 3 sides with badness. I've known more than a few people to loose 10-12 balls in a single round, and these are decent golfers (usually shoot in the low 80s).
Standard play is to stay in the fairway, and you can score. Get just outside the fairway or miss a green by a few yards, and take a penalty stroke. There is not a lot of scrambling resulting in a lot of doubles.
So, my question is whether rating/slope is calculated purely based on numbers, or do they take anything specific about the course into account. Personally I find it interesting that I can almost always score better on other courses even when they have a higher slope rating.
That's a good question Dave. I'm sure someone on here will give a perfect answer, but maybe the USGA came out when the course was playing easier. I don't know the exact ratio/rational between slope and rating, but I know that the USGA comes up with the slope and rating by visiting the course and analyzing it from the "eyes" of the scratch golfer and the "eyes" of the bogey golfer for both men and women. They take into account length, probability of hitting the green, difficulty and number of hazards that come into play in typical landing areas etc...
Here is an article that I have found that helps in the way course rating & slope are factored. Hope this helps.
Thanks, Trey. That helped. My guess is that the USGA team must have come when the brush wasn't very thick, or they figure bogey golfers never get outside the rough. Scrambling usually involves finding the ball, get it back out to the fairway, and try for a great 3rd shot to save par. At Widow's Walk, you don't find the ball, it's in a hazard, or it's ob. As a result, you end up scrambling for a bogey.