What is Slope Rating in Golf? (The Complete Explanation)

By Chris Moore •  Updated on 02/25/22

Every golf course has characteristics that differentiate it from others. This can include the distance of the holes, the terrain, hazards, and the overall difficulty.

In order to help golfers determine what a course may be like before playing it, each course is given a slope rating. Not many golfers know how slope rating is calculated, what it means exactly, or why it is important.

In this blog post, we will cover everything you need to know about slope rating in golf!

What is slope rating and how does it work?

According to the USGA, Slope Rating measures the relative difficulty of a golf course for players who are not scratch players compared to those who are scratch players.

It’s a number that indicates how difficult a golf course is to play, and generally speaking, the higher the number, the more difficult the course is.

Why should you care about slope rating?

If you’re looking to get an official handicap for your own sake, or for tournament purposes, you’ll need to know the slope ratings of the courses you play.

Since it’s a part of the USGA handicap calculator, it’s something you need to keep track of throughout your rounds.

How to calculate the slope rating of a golf course

There are two important factors for determining slope rating: course rating, and bogey rating.

The course rating is determined by calculating the number of strokes a scratch player would be expected to complete a round under typical playing conditions.

The bogey rating is a number that states the difficulty for a bogey golfer due to factors such as distance, hazards, and more.

Once both of those ratings are calculated, the slope rating is then created by taking the difference between the course rating and bogey rating, then multiplying it by a predetermined factor of 5.81.

The difference between scratch and bogey golfers’ scores is expected to be higher for a course with a greater Slope Rating.

What is the average slope rating?

Every hole on every course will have a Slope Rating and those numbers will vary between 55 and 155; you’ll want to take the average of all 18 holes to get the courses Slope Rating.

For reference, a standard difficulty course has a slope rating of 113.

What is considered an easy and hard slope rating?

Now that we know the average slope rating of a course is 113, any course with a lower slope rating is considered easy.

And any course with a higher slope rating is considered hard.

Final thoughts

For serious golfers, Slope Rating is something that should be monitored and taken into consideration when playing different courses.

It’s a rating that gives you an idea of the difficulty of a course, so you can be better prepared before teeing off.

Now that you know what slope rating is and how to calculate it, go out and test your knowledge on some local courses! And if you’re ever questioning the difficulty of a course, remember that the average slope rating is 113.

Chris Moore

Hi, I'm Chris Moore and I'm the guy behind As an avid golfer since 2010, I decided to create this blog to share everything I've learned over the years. Whether it's golf equipment, swing tips, or anything in-between, I want to make sure you have everything you need to become a better golfer.