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 2020 Course Rating Changes
Changes in .PDF Form 

  1. Change term Yardage Rating to Length Rating to be inclusive with both Imperial and Metric ratings.
  2. Eliminate Desert ratings and move procedure into Crossing or Lateral Obstacle categories. 


  1. Add definition for Crossing Obstacles: Penalty areas, extreme rough (including desert), and out of bounds when they must be carried to play the hole.
  2. Modify Extreme Rough definition to include desert and reference rating under the crossing obstacles and lateral obstacles.
  3. Add definition for Lateral Obstacles:  Penalty areas, extreme rough (including desert), and out of bounds when they come into play laterally on a hole.
  4. Add definition for Penalty Area: A penalty area is any body of water on the course, (whether or not marked by the Committee), including a sea, lake – pond, river, ditch, surface drainage ditch or other open watercourse (even if not filled with water) and any other part of the course the Committee defines as a penalty area.
  5. Add definition of Waste Area: For course rating purposes, a waste area is an unmaintained area on the course that is natural to its surroundings.  Generally, it has a sand base (or similar) and may have large rocks, stones or native vegetation that may qualify as extreme rough in it.  A waste area has poorly defined boundaries and the ground surface is not maintained.  


Transition Zone  

When the player is expected to reach the green at least 50% of the time, use only the long shot for evaluation of obstacles, but use the transition value for Green Target, R&R and Bunkers. If the player is expected to reach the green less than 50% of the time, a landing zone just short of the green (10 yards) would be used to evaluate an additional landing zone for obstacles and approach shot to be used in the transition process. This is to simplify the procedure and add more consistency. 


  1. Remove procedure to evaluate Roll when using the player is not hitting a full shot (forced lay-up, lay-up by choice, or dogleg), as this is already factored into the dogleg or lay-up value with the expected loss of distance.
  2. Expand Roll table to +4/-4 with an extreme column at both ends to eliminate the need for having separate adjustment for extreme roll.
  3. Change (E) Extreme adjustment to a (F) Firm/SoFt adjustment of +1/-1, with +1 available to use when a landing zone is not cut to fairway height.
  4. Modify (2) adjustment to be shot specific to allow it to be used multiple times on a long hole.


  1. Separate dogleg from forced lay-up values as these are different concepts but still maintain the +/-50 yard maximum adjustment between the two values.
  2. Require a minimum correction of 10 yards for a dogleg correction (no minimum for Forced lay Up) and add the guidance about reducing dogleg corrections when a shot can be played past the pivot point but still make progress towards the hole.  



  1. Add new column to table labelled “Minor to Moderate” to eliminate the need to use the  “tweener” option, which is used on a frequent basis.  


  1. Combine men’s and women’s Fairway Rating Table into a single table using the fairway widths based on the women’s table but retain separate hole lengths for men and women. This has a minimal impact on rating but will simplify the process with  single table.
  2. Modify +1 option for tilt under (W) Width adjustment to say “contour or tilt in the landing zone so that shots must be played to one side of the fairway”.
  3. Add +2 option for tilt to use “when a majority of the fairway is tilted and balls are likely to end up in the rough”.
  4. Modify the (W) Width -1 or -2 adjustment when used for narrow fairways to help with differentiating a -1 from -2 by referencing one side vs. both sides of the hole where shots can be played from the rough as easily as the fairway.    
  5. Remove the (O) Obstruct Adjustment as this can be handled using the Width adjustment  


  1. Modify table so column 3 is 17-21; column 2 is 12-16; and column 1 is <12 to be more consistent with ranges in each column.
  2. Remove column 7 from table and change Column 6 to “>31” to limit the impact of lowering ratings on very large greens that can often increase difficulty as chipping and longer putts.  


  1. Merge (I) Inconsistent and (U) Unpleasant Adjustment when areas around the green are cut to fairway height and make shots more difficult as these are similar in nature.  However (U) Unpleasant adjustment will remain for areas of hardpan. 
  2. Merge Mounds and Rise and Drop Adjustments as these are similar in nature and can now be combined to qualify for an adjustment which under separate adjustments may not have qualified.


  1. Modify Squeeze Adjustment to reference total distance (30 or 20 yards) between bunkers instead of distance (15 or 10 yards) to both sides.
  2. Update Carry (C) adjustment by referencing “significant portion” of the green instead of “more than half” of the green to allow for more flexibility to use the adjustment.
  3. Update (E) Extreme adjustment to add guidance on using a +1 vs. +2 adjustment with reference to the +2 requiring shots to be played out sideways or backwards causing a substantial loss of distance.
  4. Change procedure for measuring greenside bunker depth to reference depth to hole locations and not just “any part of the green”, as this could negate or reduce a depth adjustment when a small portion of the green with few or no hole locations is lower than the majority of the green.  


  1. Add a (C) Carry Adjustment when a Crossing Obstacle closely borders the front of the green as the player is often trying to land the ball close to the front of the green as opposed to maximizing distance to carry the obstacle.
  2. Modify (P) Percentage adjustment text from “can be played from most of the time” to “can be played from part of the time” to allow using less than 50% of table value.
  3. Add text to recommend using (P) Percentage adjustment values of 25%, 50%, 75%, 100% to simplify procedure.


  1. Modify (Q) Squeeze adjustment to reference total distance (40 or 30 yards) between obstacles instead of distance (20 or 15 yards) to both sides.
  2. Modify Percentage adjustment text from “can be played from most of the time” to “can be played from part of the time” to allow using less than 50% of table value.
  3. Add text to (B) Bounce -1 adjustment to use when the obstacle is located behind the green.
  4. Remove (J) jeopardy adjustment as it is rarely used and may underrate hole difficulty.  


  1. Change the (Q) SQueeze adjustment to a (H) CHute adjustment as this is how raters reference the adjustment.  Also eliminate the second part of this adjustment when trees are on both sides of a landing zone, as this is already factored in under the starting table value.
  2. Reduce size of Chute table to now start at 8 yards instead of 2 yards to be more realistic.  
  3. Eliminate the (O) Obstruct +2 adjustment but make the (O) Obstruct +1 shot specific, so it can be applied more than once on a hole.  


  1. Remove Desert obstacle and move the process of rating desert under the Crossing and Lateral obstacles as either extreme rough or penalty area if designated. 


  1. Update the Tiered definition to use the term “significant” instead of “include at least 50 percent of either the width or depth of the green” as it was a bit confusing and not as intended.   


  1. Remove the automatic two points of Psychological on holes 1 & 18 as these are not needed since ratings are only 9- or 18-hole totals and holes may be used more than once in combination ratings. 
  2. Change the first use of the (X) EXtraordinary adjustment to now be called (E) Extreme adjustment, but with same criteria.  
  3. Modify second use of (X) EXtraordinary adjustment to reflect Crossing/Lateral values instead of OB/ER and Water Hazard since those two obstacles no longer exist.   

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