The SeniorFriendlyGolf (SFG) Rating System Revealed

The SFG golf course rating determines how challenging golf courses can be expected to play for the high handicap or average senior golfer. Ratings are SFG-1 (most challenging) to SFG-10 (most friendly). If you are a low handicap player, senior or otherwise, an SFG-3 may be more friendly to you and an SFG-8 not worth your time. Then too, if you are a low handicapper and are arranging an outing with a number of higher handicappers, maybe you will want to find an SFG-5 course to enjoy the day on. Also, a high handicap golfer might like the challenge of an SFG-2 course they have seen Annika Sorenstam play on in a tournament.

SFG ratings are how a golf course can be expected to play from senior tees. For each tee farther back, subtract one from the rating and add one for each tee forward. So, if you are playing a 7.2 SFG rated course from the men's tees one back from the senior tee, the rating would then be 6.2. If a course rates its tees by handicap and not championship, men's, women's, senior's, junior's or whatever, then the rating is for the tee designated approximately for the 20 handicapper or above.

Is this system similar to the USGA Course Rating & Slope system? Well, sort of. Get ready for this. According to the USGA the "Course Rating is "an evaluation of the overall difficulty of the golf course under normal course and weather conditions for the scratch golfer, etc." That's not for most senior golfers. There is a "Bogey Rating," but have you ever seen one? Then there is the "Slope Rating" which indicates the relative difficulty for non-scratch golfers compared to the "Course Rating." Confused yet? The USGA Slope Rating = (Bogey Course Rating - USGA Course Rating) x 5.381 for men or 4.24 for women. ENOUGH! SFG ratings are from one to 10 or most challenging to most friendly. Fair enough for 20+ handicappers?

Trained SFG raters play, analyze, and computerize data to arrive at an SFG rating. Once a golf course is officially rated, it may display its SFG rating on signs, score cards, literature, web pages, and other items available to the golfing public. Their SFG rating will also be included in their COURSE REVIEW on

Other areas of consideration may be noted in narratives about officially rated golf courses on the SeniorFriendlyGolf COURSE RATING link*

Examples of criteria analyzed to rate golf courses:
Hole length Visibility to green visible 150 yard markers
Visible other yard markers Width of fairway Surface of fairway
Fairway configuration Fairway gradation Fairway elevation to green
Rough characteristics Trees, brush, etc. Trees, brush etc in fairway
Rough ease of exit Hazards Hazards coming into play
Number of bunkers Bunkers coming into play Bunker size, shape
Bunker ease of exit Bunker condition Pin position advisories
Green absorption of ball Green size Green configuration
Putting surface Out of bounds Physiological difficulty
Restrooms* Cart paths coming into play* Food & beverage on course*
Use of carts in fairway* 90 degree cart path rules* Rain/Lightening shelters*
Water fountains on course* How friendly are personnel* Is nine hole play welcome*
Are senior rates available* Are twilight rates available* How tasty are the margaritas*