Golf Canada is the Authorized National body that is responsible for implementing and administering the Rules of Handicapping in Canada in co-operation with the provincial golf associations.
The purpose of the World Handicap System (WHS) is to make the game of golf more enjoyable for golfers by providing a consistent means of measuring one’s performance and progress and to enable golfers of differing abilities to compete, or play a casual round, with anyone else on a fair and equal basis.
Through the WHS, each golfer establishes a “Handicap Index” which is the measure of a player’s demonstrated ability on a course of standard playing difficulty.
The Handicap Index is calculated using the lowest 8 of the player’s most recent 20 Score Differentials and updated with each new round played. The Handicap Index travels worldwide with the golfer from course to course (and tee to tee) and is used to calculate a “Course Handicap”. The Course Handicap is the number of strokes a golfer receives from the specific set of tees at the course. The more difficult the golf course, the more strokes the golfer receives and vice versa.
The relative difficulty of a golf course is determined jointly by Golf Canada and the provincial golf
association using the WHS Course Rating System as administered by Golf Canada. Specially trained Course Rating Teams evaluate the difficulty of a golf course based on such variables as length and a number of obstacle factors (e.g. topography, bunkers, lateral & crossing obstacles, severity of rough, etc).
Only Golf Canada member golf clubs are permitted to use the World Handicap System and Course Rating System (as administered by Golf Canada) including related trademarks and service marks. Member golf clubs must do so in a manner that preserves the integrity and reliability of these systems. All rights to use these systems and related trademarks and service marks terminate should the golf club cease to be a member in good standing with Golf Canada.
With regards to requiring a player to “Hole Out”, and the desire to minimize the possibility of exposing golfers to coronavirus by raising the hole liner above the putting surface or placing various objects into the hole so the ball can be more easily removed. A temporary measure is in place in Canada to accept scores played under these conditions for handicap purposes using the most likely score guidelines (Rule 3.3, Rules of Handicapping), even though the player has not holed out.
Please remember that this temporary measure is now in effect within Canada until advised otherwise by Golf Canada.
The purpose of the Course Rating System is to measure and rate the relative difficulty of golf courses across Canada so that a player’s Handicap Factor is accurate and transportable from golf course to golf course. The Course Rating System takes into account factors that affect the playing difficulty of a golf course including yardage, effective playing length and number of obstacle factors such as topography, elevation, doglegs, prevailing wind, bunkering, etc. After a thorough study of the Course and Slope Rating System developed by the United States Golf Association (USGA), Golf Canada approved and adopted the system for Canada in January 1995.
The Course Rating System consists of two basic elements:
Course Rating – the evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for scratch golfers under normal course and weather conditions expressed as number of strokes (e.g. 72.5).
Slope Rating – the evaluation of the relative difficulty of a course for players who are not scratch golfers compared to the difficulty of the course for scratch golfers. The lowest Slope Rating is 55 and the highest 155. A course of standard playing difficulty will have a Slope Rating of 113.
Every member golf course should have a Course Rating and Slope rating for each set of tees at the course.
Accuracy and consistency are the keys to effective course rating. Golf Canada and the provincial golf associations work together to rate golf courses and ensure that Course Ratings are accurate and uniform from coast to coast. Only Golf Canada authorized provincial golf associations may rate golf courses. If a club disagrees with its ratings, it may request that the provincial golf association review the ratings.
We completed 9 course rating in 2019 and had planned on performing a similar quantity of rating in 2020. With the COVID-19 physical distancing guidelines, it is likely that we will have to defer most if not all regular ratings until 2021. We will consider any new courses, or major course revisions that require a rating on a case by case basis.