We show you why you should go on your next golf holiday armed with some knowledge about Slope Rating – it could make all the difference and help you come out on top!

Are you ready for the slope?

Not the next ski season, but the new golf slope rating, well established in Europe and the USA and due to be introduced in the UK next year as part of the new World Handicap System.

What is Slope Rating?

As you’ll know some golf courses are more difficult than others and your handicap at your home course may be unfair when you’re playing an away course, either giving you too few or too many extra shots. The slope system measures all courses against a benchmark standard. If a course is rated as more difficult than the standard your handicap may go up when you’re playing there, or if it rated as easier it may well go down.

How are the courses compared?

A standard slope rating is 113 and clubs are rated up or down from this measure. Each course and set of tees is given a slope rating based on its difficulty for a bogey golfer compared to a ‘scratch’ golfer. As you would expect, a course with many hazards, long carries and thick rough will have a higher slope rating because these features are more of a challenge to your average player. You may find your home course has already been measured for the new system so you can see how it compares with your favourites around the world.
Below is a video from the Southern California Golf Association on how they actually work it out:

According to slope ratings which is the most difficult course in the world?

The highest slope rating we can find is Meland Golf Course near Bergen with 153 off the championship tees. This reflects the length, topography, prevailing weather (remember it is in Norway!) and degree of difficulty. To give you an idea of how hard a course Meland is, the slope rating for the US Open tees at Pebble Beach is 145. Perhaps unsurprisingly Monte Rei on the Algarve scores 141 and Seignosse, a long standing favourite near Biarritz, comes in at 144 off the black tees.

Monte Rei Golf Course - Hard Slope Rating

The very challenging Monte Rei Golf Course

New kid on the blocks the V-Club near Vilnius in Lithuania rates 139 and Hardelot Les Pins in Northern France 133. A surprise to us was Regnum Carya, which has hosted the Turkish Open for the last three years, having a slope rating of 110 and this year’s host Montgomerie Maxx Royal Antalya scoring a standard 113.

Why will it help me on my golf holiday?

Before you head off on your golf break check your handicap at your home course to the exact decimal point. Then when you arrive at the clubhouse at each course on your holiday make a beeline for the slope rating conversion chart which is always easily available, often by the first tee. Find your handicap on the chart and you will find your playing handicap for that day. If you get any extra shots, don’t forget to mark them on the stroke index it could just make you the winner in the clubhouse…

Sample Golf Handicap conversion - Use Slope Rating on holiday

Here’s what a typical golf Slope Rating conversion chart looks like – you may see one on your next holiday!