Slope in Golf  


The Slope has been promoted by the United States Golf Association (USGA) and the golf federations of the different countries have been adapting it under the supervision of the R&A (The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews).

In Spain the sport of golf has long been regulated under the guidelines determined by the CONGU (Council of National Golf Unions.) Under these rules the Handicap and the Standard Scratch Score (S.S.S) were obtained, in accordance with the recommendations made at the time by the EGA (European Golf Association.)

In a search for standardised handicaps throughout Europe, the rules have been modified by the new “EGA Handicap System”.

On the one hand, the EGA Playing Handicap (EGA) is the value of the courses according to their greater or lesser difficulty. On the other hand, the Exact Handicap, which is obtained when the course rating and the slope standard are combined. 

Description, what is the slope rating?

What is the difference between the course value and the slope value? That is the big question that has arisen since they seem to be similar concepts. In a pursuit of standardisation in golf, a formula has been stipulated where scratch and less experienced players can compete side by side and measure themselves at different levels.

To know for sure what slope value is, we need to be aware of the difference between slope value and course value. 

The course value indicates how difficult the game is for scratch players to play the course under normal playing conditions. A standard course value of 72 is normal.

For example, let’s imagine two par 72 courses with different difficulties. One of them has longer fairways, with more obstacles such as bunkers or lakes and the wind blows hard frequently. The other is the complete opposite. Along these lines, the field value of the first one will be 73 as it contains more difficulty. On the other hand, the second one, being an easier course will have a course value of 71.  

The slope value is the index that defines the difficulty level of a course for a non-scratch player in relation to the course value. In other words, it indicates whether the course is more difficult for an inexperienced player than for a professional player. The higher the slope number, with the maximum being 155, the more difficult the course is for that player.

The slope rating is set within the range between 55 and 155, where 113 is the standard value as is 72 for the course rating.

Considering the above example, in relation to the course value, the first course which is more difficult, will have a slope rating for the inexperienced player of 125. In contrast, the second course which is categorised as easier, will have a lower slope rating of 102. 

The Playing Handicap (EGA)

To calculate the playing handicap, it is necessary to take into account the values explained above. For a scratch player the course value and his exact handicap will be chosen. In the case of a less experienced player, the slope value will be taken along with his exact handicap. 

This indicator is a number without decimals as it is converted into points that are applied to the most difficult holes of the course. The handicap of the game is different depending on the difficulty of the course on which it is played.