Course Rating

The purpose of the Golf Canada Course Rating System is to measure and rate the relative difficulty of golf courses across Canada so that a player’s Handicap Factor is accurate and transportable from golf course to golf course. The Course Rating System takes into account factors that affect the playing difficulty of a golf course including yardage, effective playing length and number of obstacle factors such as topography, elevation, doglegs, prevailing wind, bunkering, etc. After a thorough study of the Course and Slope Rating System developed by the United States Golf Association (USGA), Golf Canada approved and adopted the system for Canada in January 1995.

The Golf Canada Course Rating System consists of two basic elements:

Course Rating – the evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for scratch golfers under normal course and weather conditions expressed as number of strokes (e.g. 72.5).

Slope Rating – the evaluation of the relative difficulty of a course for players who are not scratch golfers compared to the difficulty of the course for scratch golfers. The lowest Slope Rating is 55 and the highest 155. A course of standard playing difficulty will have a Slope Rating of 113.

Every member golf course should have a Course Rating and Slope rating for each set of tees at the course.

Accuracy and consistency are the keys to effective course rating. Golf Canada and the provincial golf associations work together to rate golf courses and ensure that Course Ratings are accurate and uniform from coast to coast. Only Golf Canada authorized provincial golf associations may rate golf courses. If a club disagrees with its ratings, it may request that the provincial golf association review the ratings.

Golf Saskatchewan offers an annual workshop for both Introductory (Novice) and Advanced Course Raters. Course Raters are provided with a course rating manual in addition to the Men’s and Women’s Guides. Teams of four are set up for the on-course experience and are a combination of experienced and novice course rating participants with experienced raters serving as mentors. From there, rating Teams go out and rate all of the Saskatchewan courses requiring a re-rate as per the manuals.

2018 Course Rating Seminar

  • To Register, please click HERE (online form and the preferred method)
  • Accommodations: TBC
  • Registration is free to Golf Saskatchewan members
  • The deadline to register is May 11, 2018 and forms can either be submitted by email, fax, or mail.
Date Time Location Instructors
May 15
11 AM – 5:30 PM Moose Jaw, To be confirmed (TBC) Richard Smith
Course Rating TEAM
Wed May 16 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM On Course Physical Training
Richard Smith
Course Rating TEAM
Wed May 16 11:15 AM – 4:30 PM Location TBC – Moose Jaw Richard Smith
Course Rating TEAM
May 17
8:00 AM – Physical Rating of Golf Course
(Moose Jaw Area) TBD
Richard Smith
Course Rating TEAM
  • The Workshop Agenda will be posted HERE (next week). 

For more information please contact Candace Dunham at (306) 975-0850 or by email or Angela Kuffner at (306)975-0873 or by email.

Handicapping System

Golf Canada is the authoritative body for the purposes of establishing and maintaining a uniform handicap system for golf clubs in Canada in co-operation with the provincial golf associations.

The purpose of the Golf Canada Handicap System is to make the game of golf more enjoyable for golfers by providing a means of measuring one’s performance and progress and to enable golfers of differing abilities to compete on an equitable basis.

Through this system, each golfer establishes an “Golf Canada Handicap Factor” which is a numerical measurement of a player’s potential (not actual) scoring ability on a course of standard difficulty.

The Handicap Factor is calculated using the best 10 of the player’s last 20 rounds and updated with each new round played. The Handicap Factor travels with the golfer from course to course and is adjusted up or down depending on the length and difficulty of the course played, resulting in a “Course Handicap”. The Course Handicap is the number of strokes a golfer receives from a specific set of tees at the course played and represents the number of strokes he would require to play equitably against a “scratch” golfer (a golfer with a Handicap Factor of “0.0′). The more difficult the golf course, the more strokes the golfer receives and vice versa.

The relative difficulty of a golf course is determined jointly by Golf Canada and the provincial golf association using the Golf Canada Course and Slope Rating System. Specially trained Course Rating Teams evaluate the difficulty of a golf course based on such variables as length and a number of obstacle factors (e.g. topography, bunkers, water hazards, severity of rough, etc).

Only Golf Canada member golf clubs are permitted to use the Golf Canada Handicap System and Golf Canada Course Rating System and related trademarks and service marks and must do so in a manner that preserves the integrity and reliability of these systems. All rights to use these systems and related trademarks and service marks terminate should the golf club cease to be a member in good standing with Golf Canada.

Workshops & Seminars






Golf Saskatchewan have announced two Handicap Workshop opportunities in 2018.  Each member club must have a certified Handicap Chairperson by the end of 2018 (or within the 4 year manual cycle) as per the agreement with the United States Golf Association (USGA) Handicap Agreement.

2018 Handicap Workshops are as follows:

Date Time Location Location Instructors
May 26Postponed until the fall
10 AM- 1:30 PM Golf SK Office Building
JVR Building
510 Cynthia St.
Ring buzzer at back door Room 122/123
The door faces Glenwood RV

Postponed until the fall

 Brian Lee
Sun May 27

Postponed until the fall

10:00 AM – 1:30 PM Royal Regina GC Regina

Postponed until the fall

 Brian Lee
  • To register for the Handicap Workshops please fill out the registration form linked above.
  • The Handicap Workshops are open to all Handicap Chairpersons plus anyone interested from a Golf Saskatchewan member clubs.
  • Please bring your club’s Golf Canada Handicap System Manual to the workshop.

Rules of Golf

Golf Canada offers several programs to learn the Rules of Golf. Our Education Program is designed for all golfers wishing to improve their level of knowledge of the Rules of Golf including recreational golfers, competitive golfers, professionals and rules officials, or those wishing to become a rules official.

Whether you have an interest in learning the basics or wish to pursue national certification as a rules official, Golf Canada offers the right program for you. Read about each level of education below and then click on the appropriate link for more information.

You can also view our Rules Education Pathway.


Level 1 of the program is a beginner program that introduces the basic concepts and language of the Rules of Golf. Examples, videos, animations and exercises are used to introduce the student to the principles of the Rules and how to use the Rules book. The program is ideal for juniors, beginners and golfers who have had no previous experience with the Rules.

Start Level 1 Now!


Level 2 of the program builds on the experience of Level 1 and introduces the key reference manual for officials: the Decisions on the Rules of Golf. This publication is the key to understanding how the Rules of Golf are applied on the course. In addition to introducing some of the fundamental rules through examples, videos and exercises, Level 2 teaches the student how to use the Decisions book effectively when the Rules book alone does not provide the answer.


  • Achieve 80% on the Level 2 Exam
  • Complete 20 hours of satisfactory on-course experience as a Starter/Scorer/Official at club, regional or provincial events

Printable Tournament Work Record form.

Start Level 2 Now!


Level 3 of the program is comprised of a three day seminar conducted by the provincial golf associations. The seminar covers the most common Rules of Golf and includes practical sessions that demonstrate how the Rules apply on the golf course. To be certified at Level 3 an official must successfully pass the exam and meet the minimum practical requirements. The Level 3 program leads to provincial certification as a tournament official. Once Level 3 certified, an official is qualified to attend the Level 4 national certification seminar. To find out about seminars in your area, please contact your provincial golf association.

Pre-requisite: Level 2 Certification


  • Complete Level 3 Rules of Golf Seminar
  • Achieve 85% on Level 3 Exam
  • 10 hours accompanying a Certified Rules Official as an observer at a regional or provincial event
  • Minimum of 50 hours of satisfactory on-course experience as a Rules Official at regional or provincial events

2018 Education Seminar

  • Saskatoon, SK at 510 Cynthia Street
  • May 11 and 12, 2018 in Saskatoon
    • May 11 – starting at 6:30 PM until 9:00 PM
    • May 12 – starting at 9:00 AM until 2:00 PM
  • Please contact Brian Lee (306) 975-0841 or email
  • Instructors for the Level 3 sessions include:
    • Kevin Duchscherer, Jim Walker and Brian Lee

Note: Level 3 and Level 4 exams must be written in separate calendar years.

Printable Tournament Work Record form.


Level 4 of the program leads to national rules certification. This is a necessary, but not sufficient qualification to work as a rules official at a Golf Canada national championship. The Level 4 program is intended for experienced rules officials who wish to improve both their technical and practical knowledge as a rules official. Considerable time is spent on the golf course discussing complex issues of the Rules of Golf. The optional 3 hour exam is a rigorous test of the Rules of Golf intended to identify those candidates with the highest level of knowledge. Registration is available online by clicking the Level 4 link below.

Pre-requisite: Level 3 Certification


  • Complete Level 4 Rules of Golf Seminar
  • Achieve 85% on the Rules of Golf exam
  • 100 hours of satisfactory on-course experience as a Level 3 Rules Official at regional or provincial events.

Printable Tournament Work Record form.


Golf Canada’s Level 4 Rules of Golf seminars are intended for experienced officials. Registration for a 2017 Rules of Golf Seminars is restricted to persons who:

  • are Level 3 certified officials;
  • have achieved 70% or better on the Level 4 Rules Exam or 80% or better on the USGA Rules Exam within the last four years; or
  • have achieved 92% or better on the USGA Rules Exam after January 1, 2007; or
  • are currently or have been previously certified at Level 4 or equivalent by Golf Canada.

NOTE: Those who have achieved a mark of 85% or higher in the last four years have the option to write the exam without the seminar. There will be a review session available on the Saturday afternoon prior to the exam, which will be written on the Sunday morning at each of the below scheduled seminars. The registration fee for writing the exam only is $150.00.  Exam only participants must attend Saturday and Sunday.

The Level 4 Seminar will consist of a combination of classroom theory and sessions focusing on the practical application of tournament officiating. Participants are expected to have a good understanding of the Rules of Golf prior to attending. In order to take full advantage of the curriculum, in addition to the above criteria, participants should have some experience as a tournament official.

Participants have the option to attend only Saturday and Sunday and write the Level 4 Exam.  Participants who want to write the exam, must attend both sessions. The exam will consist of a combination of multiple choice and word questions similar to the examples provided in the Seminar Workbook. The exam time limit is 3 hours. The Level 4 Rules Exam may be taken only once per calendar year and only at the seminar in which you are registered.

Applications are accepted on a first come, first served basis. To register on-line, please click the link at the bottom of this page and ensure to provide us with your full mailing address, including your postal code, as well as details of the credit card to which the registration fee of $250.00 is to be charged. Include the type of card (Visa/Mastercard/AmEx), name of the cardholder, full account number and date of expiry.

Your application will be confirmed by email. You can expect to receive the seminar materials (via email and post) at least 4 weeks prior to the seminar date.

If you register and must withdraw, please be kind enough to advise us as soon as possible. If you cancel at least two weeks prior to the first day of your seminar by notifying the Rules Seminar Administrator (ahelmer@golfcanada.ca), your fee will be refunded subject to a $50.00 (or $30.00 for exam-only participants) non-refundable fee to cover the cost of materials and administration. The seminar fee is fully non-refundable for anyone withdrawing less than 14 days prior to the seminar start date.

Note: The seminar fee includes all course materials, light breakfast and lunch each day.

If you require further information please call the Rules Seminar Administrator at (905) 849-9700 ext. 244 or 1-800-263-0009 ext. 244.

3-DAY SEMINARS – (Maximum 40 participants at each venue) Cost is $250.00 for full seminar, or $150 to write exam (must attend Saturday & Sunday).

Date & Location for 2018: – TBD

Local Rules


The List of conforming drivers and conforming golf balls are universal lists used by all golf associations.

  1. List of conforming driver heads
  2. List of conforming golf balls