Course Rating and Slope Rating
One may wonder exactly how a course is rated to determine the USGA Course Rating™ and Slope Rating®. Courses are rated by teams who typically work as volunteers for the authorized golf association in each state or region. These teams have been trained to evaluate courses based on the USGA Course Rating System.

A Course Rating is primarily determined using objective measurements. The vast majority of time a rater spends on the golf course is spent collecting measurements to various obstacles in the normal landing zones as well as around the greens. Each of these measurements is referenced to a chart of defined standards to determine a table value f or the obstacle. In addition, there are adjustments that can be applied to the table value if conditions are present that make the obstacle more or less significant then the table value.

The USGA Course Rating System™ looks at two things for each hole, effective playing length and obstacles. The effective playing length of each hole is determined based on the measured length and adjusted for five possible factors which are:

The effective playing length factors can either make a hole effectively shorter or longer than the measured length. For example if a hole is thirty feet down from the tee to the green, it will play effectively shorter than the same hole if it were flat or uphill from tee to green.

There are also ten obstacle ratings that are evaluated by the rating team on each hole, although not all ten may exist on a particular hole. These obstacle factors are:

Once the rating team has determined the rating values for the effective playing length factors and the obstacles, these values are then plugged into a formula that converts them into a USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating. The authorized golf association reviews those values against other facilities in its region and then issues the Ratings. Without authorized golf associations, implementation of the USGA Course Rating could never take place.