FAQ for Clubs

When deciding on plus strokes, it is important to consider that the allocation does not necessarily correlate to the stroking.

The main consideration is where a plus-handicap golfer would have the highest chance of playing the hole under par.

It depends on the nature of the competition. We encourage clubs to allow players to play off whichever tee they would get the most enjoyment from, since the Course Handicap™ calculation ensures equity amongst golfer of different capabilities.

The Tournament Organising Committee (TOC) can stipulate the Colour Course to be used in their published Conditions of Competition. Ideally only for certain events, such as Club Champs, Sanlam Cancer Challenge or a major Trophy should a specific course (set of tees) be stipulated.

The impact of, for example, the Red penalty area rule, to be implemented in 2019, will have an impact on certain courses only. Courses where this rule may have an impact on the Course Ratings™ and Slope Ratings™ will be prioritised for re-rating.

There will be engagement with the clubs to determine how they plan to do the marking of their courses using the new rules and an assessment will be made whether the course will be prioritised for re-rating. Should the CR™ and SR™ change, clubs should include the new ratings on their scorecards when they reprint.

While they still have their old scorecards the equivalent of a "Pin Sheet" should be attached to the scorecard. The USGA CRS application will be updated and the CH™ of the golfers will be calculated using the new ratings when they play on the re-rated course.

This is a decision for the organising committee and they could select the Course Handicap™ that they are comfortable with.

The only guideline is that the organising committee should consider the Course Ratings™ and Slope Ratings™ of the Courses nominated to be played in the competition in their deliberations to determine the Course Handicap™ that they will allocate to non-registered golfers.

The Divisions are determined by the Tournament Organising Committee as a Condition of Competition and it is recommended that the Handicap Index® be used to determine the divisions.

GolfRSA (SAGA/WGSA) will not be publishing guidelines.

No, that is the lowest gross score and the Implementation of the USGA Course Rating™ System would have no impact on Course Records.

This is taken into account in the rating, especially with carries from different angles. However, a hole is rated from where it is on average played from.

Currently we are only implementing the USGA Course Rating™ system, which will ensure equity by taking the Course Rating™ and Slope Rating™ of a course into account when issuing a Course Handicap™ to the player for the day, based on the colour course they selected at a Club.

The decision to keep all the differential calculations the same was taken by the SAGA in order to minimise the variables during this implementation.

However, in 2020 we will be joining the world with a single method of calculation and then the differential calculation method will be the same for all countries in the world.

It is a decision for the Nomads to make since they are not using an official Handicapping methodology. The only guideline we can give is that the Handicap Index® is now the official expression of the potential of a golfer and handicaps as we know it today will fall away on September 3, 2018.

Yes, and it is encouraged.

No. When rating is done it is based on mid-season (April or October) so it is averaged out.

Slope and the new Course Rating™ will help them get an equitable Course Handicap™ and will make things a lot fairer.

Yes. A decision was made that no other changes will be implemented now.

That depends on the Course Rating™ and Slope Rating™, but his Handicap Index® will be +6.

Distance is still the major driver. A change of 20 metres on the average playing length means 0.1 on the player’s Handicap Index®.

If a course makes major changes, it needs to let GolfRSA know so adjustments can be made if required.

Distance is by far the major factor and accounts for over 90% of rating.


There is only one men’s par for a course and one women’s par for the course hence men will always play the hole as a Par 4 regardless of the colour Course he elects to play and the women will always play the hole as a Par 5 regardless of the colour Course she elects to play.

It is advisable that clubs should consider having the same par/hole for men and women.

Yes, all penalties relating to the potential of the golfer will be applied when the standardisations calculations are done.

It is suggested that the golfer indicates next to the Course Handicap™ the colour of the course he/she selected. For example: Y. CH 24 or W.CH 24 or B.CH 24. Clubs should consider if they would like to provide space on the scorecard for this entry when scorecards are designed. The information in the heading of the Handicap space on the scorecard can be: Col. C, CH ,HI.

To be completed by the golfer: R (for red course), 24 (Course Handicap™), 15.2 (Handicap Index®)

Par-3 courses have not been rated and the method for rating is not the same as the rating for courses of 2 750 metres and longer, on which the USGA Course Rating™ System is based.

There is a method to do the rating of Par-3 courses and GolfRSA will start this project upon completion of the implementation of the USGA Course Rating™ System on September 03, 2018.

In the interim it is suggested that the adjustment to the Handicap Index® be made by a certain percentage as it is done now. The current method has no scientific base either.

The “Back” refers to the longer course, or the old “men’s” tees.  The “Front” refers to the shorter course or the old “women’s” tees.  For all 9-hole courses, both the “Back” and “Front” were rated for men, and only the “Front” for women.

It is recommended that clubs consider identifying the two courses by colour, to be aligned with the naming convention proposed. The same method should be used as outlined in the Handicap Manual guidelines, thus the order of courses based on the length of the courses should be Yellow, White, Blue and Red. The longer course can be the White Course and the shorter course the Blue or the Red course. It is recommended that White be used for the longer course and Red for the shorter course. Should clubs decide to select a colour for their courses the information must be sent to Eric Lefson (ericlefson@golfrsa.co.za) to ensure that the data on the USGA and HNA systems is updated and the Course Handicap™ Conversion Tables refer to the colour courses to make it easy for golfers.

Should a club decide NOT to use colour courses the three Course Handicap™ Conversion tables will read as follows:

(i)            Course Handicap™ Conversion Table : Back Men

(ii)          Course Handicap™ Conversion Table : Front Men

(iii)         Course Handicap™ Conversion Table : Front Women

No. The standardisation process takes into account the USGA Course Rating™ (CR) and the Slope Rating™ (SR) of the courses played during the last 20 rounds entered onto the HNA system. Since the CR™ and SR™ of the courses that these two players have played may not be the same, the HI® for two golfers who currently have the same handicap could be different as demonstrated below.


Player A is a female and has a current handicap of 18 and all of the last 20 rounds were played at her home club, where the WGSA rating is 72 but the USGA CR™ is 74.2 and the SR™ is 145. Her HI® will be 12.6

Player B is a female and has a current handicap of 18 and all the last 20 rounds were played at her home club where the WGSA rating is 71 but the USGA CR is 72.2 and the SR is 139. Her HI will be 13.9.

If the golfer is from a country where the USGA Course Rating™ System has been implemented, they will carry a Handicap Index® (HI) certificate from their home club. These golfers will look up their Course Handicap™ (CH) in the same manner as South African golfers.

If the visitor is from a country where another method of handicapping is used, they should also have a Handicap certificate. It is recommended that the CH™ the player should use, is their Handicap plus the adjustment to Par.

Example:  A visitor from the CONGU or neighbouring country has a handicap of 12 and wants to play the Blue Course at Club X – the Course Rating™ 69.8 and the Par of the Course is 72 - the visitor’s CH™ will be calculated as follows:

CH = Handicap + (CR-Par)  ---   12 + (69.8 – 72) = 9.8 rounded to 10.