Become a Course Rater Volunteer


Become a GAM Course Rater

Are you interested in becoming a GAM Course Rater? Complete the form below. 

***Due to the overwhelming support supplied by current volunteers and the cyclical nature of the course rating training cycle, we are currently implementing a waitlist for new course rating volunteers.  Please complete the form below, and your name will be added to this list.  We will contact you with next steps as soon as we have capacity for additional volunteers.***

Course Rating FAQs

Golfers like you who volunteer with the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) under the authority of The R&A and the United States Golf Association (USGA). 

Read through these FAQ’s. If course rating sounds like a fit for your, complete the volunteer application below. 

Most volunteers are avid golfers who value the opportunity to give something back to the game they love. Volunteers also enjoy learning more about the Course Rating System and the camaraderie between raters. 

The most important skill for a volunteer is an eagerness to learn. Familiarity with the game of golf as well as an analytical inclination is helpful. The Course Rating System™ is a numbers oriented process that involves in-depth methodology.

Course Rating requires a modest, yet significant commitment to learn and remain engaged. 

Each rating typically takes a full day. In the morning, rating teams complete the course rating fieldwork. Fieldwork is followed by the completion of paperwork and a modest lunch. Raters will then play the golf course.  Playing the course is an integral and required portion of the rating process – it is common that raters will make additional observations whilst playing the course. 

Annually, GAM completes 50-70 comprehensive  course ratings. Raters volunteer on a date-by-date basis. 

Each rating requires a set number of raters and a limited number of trainee spots are additionally available at most ratings. Please note that there are instances where more volunteers sign up than are required. In these situations, captains and team leaders are required to select a well-qualified team and will communicate whether you are assigned or not.  

Course raters are required to be an active GAM Member. GAM memberships can be purchased through member clubs or at Public memberships are $41.

Raters are required to purchase a copy of the Course Rating System Guide for $20. Raters also must bring their own electronic measurement device (laser) and are responsible for their own transportation costs. 

Raters are encouraged to dress uniformly whilst on-site for rating activities. This makes it easy for golfers on the course to spot rating teams. The standard rater uniform is a white golf shirt, tan slacks or shorts and a tan hat. Additionally, opportunities exist to purchase GAM-logoed apparel at a modest cost. 

No, all course raters are volunteers. 

The Course Rating System Guide™. is a required document for your success as a course rater. It is very important to read and study the guide.

GAM runs annual seminars for existing and new volunteers during both the season and off-season.  New volunteers are asked to complete the orientation steps and then will be assigned with experience raters for on-course shadowing. As new raters continue to build experience and knowledge, they will slowly transition to further independence. Raters always work as a part of a rating team, so you will always be supported in the field by experienced team members.  

Raters don’t actually calculate the ratings. They gather the raw data used by the Course Rating System™ that calculates the Course Rating and Slope Rating. On each hole, each obstacle factor is assigned a value between one and ten by the raters. The data is recorded on the rater’s worksheet called a Form One (a document for recording the data) for scratch and bogey golfers.

Each tee set is evaluated for men and women. A large team of up to 16 raters,  enables the team to split up and rate both nines separately. The team proceeds as golfers would play the hole, tee to green. They make their measurements and confer to reach a consensus on rating values before proceeding to the next hole. A rating takes about the same time it would take a foursome to play the golf course.

Course Rater Volunteer Form