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County Responsibilities

DCLGA is responsible for providing Course and Slope Ratings for all affiliated golf courses within Durham County. The County Association works in tandem with the County Union and ratings for the men and the women are undertaken at courses at the same time. This is seasonal and will normally take place between the months of April to October.


Courses are normally rated once in every 10 years but are reviewed periodically as necessary dependent upon any alterations or changes made. New courses can change frequently during its first years however and will be re-rated within five years of its initial assessment.

Club Responsibilities

With the evolution of WHS and the intrinsic link between Course Ratings and players handicap indexes where potentially all scores (even social scores) will be registered, Clubs must ensure that specific course standards are met 365 days of the year. If this is not possible and/or the modification of the course is required, Clubs must seek advice from the County as any modification could affect the Course Rating.

In the main, course standards are fundamentally the same standards as have always applied for qualifying competitions but now should be maintained at all times, that is:

  • the tees to be used must have a current Course Rating and Slope Rating as defined within the Course Rating System

  • the golf course(s) is maintained in a manner consistent with the conditions presented when the Course Rating(s) were conducted

  • the golf course is marked in accordance with the Rules of Golf

  • the course as presented for play meets the specified requirements of a ‘Measured Course’.


Measured Course - Clubs are required to have an up to date Course Measurement Certificate for each set of tees from which qualifying scores may be returned. This must be undertaken by a specialist service provider.

Clubs must position teeing blocks appropriately so that the measured length is maintained at all times on tees from which qualifying rounds are played. These teeing blocks may be moved within specified distances from the permanent marker on each hole but with a view to always ensuring the overall measured length of the course is maintained.

Hole lengths are always measured to the centre of the green – the assumption being that the day-to-day pin positions will be evenly distributed between front, middle and back across the full course.

Permanent Markers - For course measurement purposes and prior to any measurement taking place, Clubs are required to place a ‘permanent marker’ – i.e. a marker which cannot easily be lifted and then replaced in a different position – for every tee on each teeing area. These should be at least 4 yards from the rear of the teeing area.


Teeing Area - The teeing area is defined by the Rules of Golf as a ‘rectangular area two club lengths in depth’. To meet the requirement that ‘a player should have the full use of the teeing area’, they must be able to tee up a ball at the rear of the teeing area, take up their stance on level, mown ground and have room to swing a driver unimpeded by any obstacles behind or above, hence the 4 yard rule.

The 4 yard Rule – This is the afore-mentioned set distance of a minimum of 4 yards behind each permanent marker to the rear of the teeing area. Many courses in the County have their permanent markers positioned as little as 2 yards from the rear of the teeing area where they conformed to the previous 2 yards rule. This is fine as there is no requirement to move old permanent markers forward but any new course measurement or rating undertaken will deduct any shortfall on that 4 yards from the length of the hole. Under these circumstances, courses will have ‘measured’ and ‘rated’ lengths which may differ from the lengths specified on scorecards and tee furniture.

However, where a Club is providing new holes, making fundamental alterations to an existing hole or constructing new teeing areas where re-measurement of that hole will be required, the permanent marker must be positioned / repositioned a minimum of 4 yards from the back of the usable teeing area prior to that re-measurement and re-rating taking place.


The 10 Yards Rule - This allows tee blocks on each hole to be positioned up to – but not more than - 10 yards in front of or behind the ‘permanent marker’ for those tees. The principle is that if half of the tees are placed behind the permanent markers and the other half in front of them, then the full ‘measured length’ of the course can still be presented for play. 

For more information from England Golf on Course Rating and Club Requirements please click here.

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