The Australian golf course ratings have been released by Golf Australia leading to lots of debate about Australia’s toughest courses.
Golf Australia have released the full list of slope and scratch ratings for every Australian golf course, but do they say anything about course difficulty and tell us which is Australia’s toughest golf course?
The short answer is: well yes, kinda.
Remember that scratch rating is the measured difficulty for a scratch golfer (handicap = 0). The slope is a measure of how much more difficult the course is for a higher handicapper and is calculated by including a bogey rating (not listed by Golf Australia) which is the measure of difficulty for an 18-handicap golfer.
The slope rating is not a measure of golf course difficulty but just a measure of how difficult the course is for non-elite golfer compared to an elite golfer. The slope will be used to adjust a golfer’s handicap and will always be a number between 55 and 155 (more details here).
If we really do want to answer the question, “What is Australia’s hardest golf course?”, then perhaps we should really look at the scratch ratings assigned to each tee at every golf course.
So what golf course has the highest scratch rating in Australia?
For the men, Moonah Links Open Course has been rated the most difficult golf course in Australia with a scratch rating off 77, five shots more difficult than par for the scratch golfer off the black tees.
Seven other golf courses were rated as being four shots harder than par for the scratch golfer; Terrey Hills, Newcastle Golf Club and The Australian in New South Wales, St.Andrews Beach, The Heritage St.John’s Course, Sands Torquay and Settlers Run in Victoria, Hills International and Bell & District GC in Queensland and Secret Harbour in Western Australia.
For the women, the toughest course is Royal Hobart with a scratch rating of 80, a full seven strokes above par. Six other courses were scratch rated at 6-over par; Narooma, Croydon, Kingston Beach, Launceston, Prospect Vale and The Cut.
For the sake of completeness, Bonville International in New South Wales and Heritage Henley Course in Victoria were assigned a slope of 148, the highest slope rating in Australia. But as we have already mentioned, this doesn’t necessarily imply these are Australia’s toughest golf courses, merely a measure of how much more difficult they are for an 18-handicapper compared to a scratch golfer.
This will bring lot of debate among golfers around the country and perhaps even bring with it greater notoriety for some golf courses.
But who wants to play tough golf courses? I think we need to introduce a fun rating. Now that really would be a great list.