According the USGA, a scratch golfer is “a player who can play to a Course Handicap of zero on any and all rated golf courses.” A course handicap is how many strokes an individual player gets on a specific course based on their handicap index and the course rating. Many golfers believe they must re-invent their golf swing to get to scratch, but this is rarely the case. Master the basics, grip and posture, and everything else will begin to fall into place.

Course Rating is a number indicating the difficulty of a golf course to an expert golfer, a “par golfer”. It is used when calculating handicaps. The Course Rating is a number, close to par for the course, and is expressed with a single decimal digit. Rating values go up with difficulty.

Golf course management is the name given to making smart decisions as you work your way around a golf course: picking the correct club for a particular shot, picking a safe target line, etc. The player with superior course management skills will be the player who excels.

USGA Slope Rating is a numerical value that indicates the relative difficulty of a set of tees on a golf course for a bogey golfer in comparison to a scratch golfer. It tells golfers just how hard a golf link plays. The Course Slope value is a two- or three-digit integer, always between 55 and 155, with 113 being the average or “standard” value. Slope values increase with difficulty. 

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A “full-sized” fairway consists of 18 holes. Each hole in a course has 5 major parts: Tee, Fairway, Green, Rough and Hazards.

Training courses of nine holes are likewise usual, as well as 12-hole courses. 

A full-size fairway usually varies from 5,000 to 7,500 yards in length, meaning that is the range you cover as you play all the holes from tee to environment-friendly. The “par” for golf links is the number of strokes a professional golf player is expected to require to finish the play, usually 69 to 74, with par-70, par-71, and also par-72 most usual for 18-hole training courses.

Course Features

Teeing area
The first section of every hole consists of the teeing ground, or tee-box. The teeing ground is generally as level as feasible, with closely mown grass very similar to that of a putting green, and most are slightly raised from the surrounding fairway.

Fairway and rough
The area between the tee box and the putting green where the grass is cut even and short is called the fairway. The area between the fairway and the out-of-bounds markers, and also between a mowed apron surrounding the green and out of bounds, is the rough; the grass there is cut higher and is often of a coarser strain than on the fairways, making roughs disadvantageous areas from which to hit. equally well in all climate types.

The putting green, or simply the green, is an area of very closely trimmed grass on relatively even, smooth ground surrounding the hole, allowing players to make precision strokes.

Holes often include hazards, which are special areas that have additional rules for play, and are generally of two types: (1) water hazards, such as ponds, lakes, and rivers; and (2) bunkers, or sand traps. Special rules apply to playing a ball that falls in a hazard.

Driving range
A golf course will often include a practice range or driving range, usually with practice greens, bunkers, and driving areas. Markers showing distances are usually included on a practice range for the golfer’s information.

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