Wiltshire Golf Guide Newsletter Issue #4

A picture showing the details of what's included in the Wiltshire Golf Guide Newsletter

Welcome to the latest Newsletter

We are thrilled to bring you another issue of our Newsletter about all things golf in the beautiful county of Wiltshire.

Whether you are a seasoned golfer or just starting out, this newsletter is your go-to source for the latest local golf news, events, and tips to enhance your golfing experience.

From course info and tips from the pro's, to player profiles of local golfers to upcoming open tournaments, we have it covered.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy the latest Wiltshire Golf Guide Newsletter.

In The Spotlight

a picture of Wrag Barn 5th hole looking across the drop zone to the green

How Course & Slope Ratings Are Calculated

When it comes to calculating your golf handicap, two essential factors come into play: the course rating and slope.

These numbers are vital in assessing the difficulty of a golf course.

  • The course rating represents the expected score for a scratch golfer (someone with a handicap of 0),
  • while the slope signifies the increased level of challenge for a bogey golfer (a player with a handicap of 18) in comparison to a scratch golfer.

Course Rating

You might think that the course rating involves a team of scratch golfers playing the course and averaging their scores.

However, in reality, no actual playing is involved in this process.

The rating is determined primarily by a yardage formula with slight adjustments for obstacles.

The reason for this is that yardage has the most significant impact on the performance of a scratch golfer.

Challenges like woods on the right or water in front of the tee don’t pose a significant threat to them.

Still, the difference between trying to make a birdie from 120 yards compared to 160 yards can be substantial.

To calculate the Course Rating, the governing bodies use an imaginary ideal scratch golfer who can:

  • drive the ball 250 yards (including 225 yards of carry and 25 yards of roll)
  • can hit their second shot 220 yards (200 and 20)
  • This golfer has a tendency to draw the ball
  • and excels in all aspects of the game.

The Scratch Yardage Rating is a relatively straightforward calculation.  It’s essentially the course yardage divided by 220, with an addition of 40.9.

This rating may be adjusted for various factors like the distance the ball rolls, the number of elevated or dogleg holes, prevailing wind conditions, and altitude.

Any factor that affects the scratch golfer’s profile (making them hit farther or shorter than 250 yards) influences the Scratch Yardage Rating.

The Scratch Obstacle Rating, on the other hand, is a more complex calculation.

It involves evaluating each hole using a form with 11 boxes for each hole.  These boxes are filled with numbers representing obstacle values, with the standard value set at 4.

A lower value indicates less difficulty posed by obstacles, while a 10 suggests a very challenging hole.

Obstacles considered for each hole include:

  1. topography
  2. fairway
  3. recoverability
  4. rough
  5. out of bounds
  6. water hazards
  7. trees
  8. bunkers
  9. the green target
  10. green surface
  11. and even a psychological factor.

Each of these elements is given a weight, and the sum of the weighted values for all 18 holes is multiplied by 0.11.

This result is then adjusted by subtracting 4.9 to determine the Scratch Obstacle Rating.

The Course Rating is the sum of the Scratch Yardage Rating and the Scratch Obstacle Rating.

Yardage vs. Obstacle Ratings

While over 95% of the course rating is influenced by yardage, significant changes in course rating often stem from obstacles.

For example, if a course were to become 400 yards longer, the Scratch Yardage Rating would increase by just 2.6%.

In contrast, if the obstacles on the course (typically rated 4) became considerably more challenging (rated 8), the Scratch Obstacle Rating could increase by over 250%.

Course Slope

For the slope, there’s no actual game-play involving bogey golfers to determine the score.

Similar to the course rating, they have also created a model bogey golfer.

This model represents a golfer with a Handicap Index of 17.5 to 22.4.

  • They can hit tee shots an average of 200 yards
  • and can reach a 370 yard hole in two shots.

The slope is determined by two key factors: the Bogey Yardage Rating and the Bogey Obstacle Rating.

The Bogey Yardage Rating is based on yardage as well but uses a different formula: it’s the course yardage divided by 160 plus 50.7

The Bogey Obstacle Rating, however, is based on the same 11 factors, weighted differently for each hole.

The sum of these factors for all 18 holes is then multiplied by 0.26, and 11.5 is subtracted.

It’s important to note that obstacles play a more significant role in the Bogey Obstacle Rating because the 0.26 factor is 2.5 times that of the 0.11 factor used for the Scratch Obstacle Rating.

The Bogey Yardage Rating and Bogey Obstacle Rating are combined to create the Bogey Rating.

One more calculation remains.

The difference between the Bogey Rating and the Course Rating is multiplied by 5.381 to determine the slope ([Bogey Rating – Course Rating] * 5.381 = slope).

This complex process brings the handicap system to a new level of accuracy across all handicaps, ensuring fairness and precision in the world of golf handicaps.

Upcoming Open Golf Events In Wiltshire

These are some of the Open Events taking place in Wiltshire over the next couple of months

These are just a few of the events and you can see more on our Open Golf Competitions page

The Player Profiles Series

In our Player Profiles Series, we dive into the experiences and passions of local golfers, bringing you closer to the heart of the game.

Each interview unveils the personal preferences of a Wiltshire golfer, from where they play most of their golf, to their favourite hole, their go-to clubs, a favourite post game meal and some other interesting golf related trivia

a picture of Chris Jeffcut playing golf

This week’s Player Profile is Chris Jeffcut

This week’s Player Profile spotlights Chris Jeffcut, a golfer who epitomises both skill and style on the Wiltshire fairways.

Chris’s weekly rounds at Wrag Barn Golf Club showcase his dedication to the sport

Check out what’s in Chris’s Golf Bag and find out his go-to club, and his pragmatic approach to pre-shot rituals (despite the occasional swing-speed contemplation!).

While Chris’s superstitions may be scarce, his love for golf-themed movies like “Happy Gilmore” knows no bounds.

And when it comes to post-round delights, Chris’s penchant for homemade cakes paired with a refreshing beverage hits the spot just right.

Join us in exploring Chris’s golfing journey, filled with insights and quirks, and aspirations.

Click through to Chris’ Profile and find out more about this avid golfer from Wiltshire.

we want YOU to be part of our Player Profiles Series too!

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a weekend warrior, we invite you to share your golf story with us.

To find out more visit the Player Profiles Series.

This Week's Featured Golf Hole

As part of our Player Profile Series we ask the Players to tell us their favourite hole from across the Golf Courses in Wiltshire, this is the choice of this week's Player.

a picture of Steve King crossing the bridge at Manor House Hole 2

Chris’ Favourite Hole is The 2nd Hole at Manor House – ‘

Par 3


One of several holes that meander their way through the stunning Bybrook Valley.

A scenic par 3 that requires an accurate shot to a seemingly generous target. However, looks can be deceptive!

Hitting the green is very important as the Bybrook is awaiting any stray tee shots. The green is undulating, so very seldom will you have an easy putt.

With Out of Bounds long and bunkers guarding the front and right, this is a truly great short hole.

The Performance Zone

Each week we share a tip from a Golf Professional, Coach or Equipment specialist to help you improve your game, from Curing the Shanks to Choosing the right Driver

This week PGA Professional Richard Lawless shares some ideas about how to stop topping your Driver

Rich talks about getting the tee height right and also shows a great tip for getting through the ball

You can see more video coaching from Richard at the Weekend Golfers Academy

Community Spotlight

Ogbourne Downs Golf Club: Captain’s Drive in

The New Ladies Captain, Seniors Captain and Club Captain driving in!

Time For A Laugh

Gimme gimme…?

A ‘gimme’ can best be defined as an agreement between two golfers…

neither of whom can putt very well.

The Joke Section has been updated to include funny videos
If you would like to have your own golf joke or video featured, just drop us a line

May Your Drives Be Long & Your Putts Be True

Thank you for joining us for this edition of the Wiltshire Golf Guide Newsletter.

We hope you found inspiration in our featured golf spots, player profiles, and expert tips.

Remember, whether you’re teeing off at a local course or honing your skills on a simulator, the joy of golf lies in the camaraderie and the pursuit of excellence.

Stay tuned for our next issue, packed with more exciting updates from the Wiltshire golfing community.

Until then, May Your Drives Be Long And Your Putts Be True!

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