Become a Course Rater Volunteer


Become a GAM Course Rater

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

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).

Fill out the Volunteer Registration Form above. You can also call the GAM office at (248) 478-9242 ext. 114 and tell them you want to be a Course Rater.

Most volunteers are avid golfers who value the opportunity to give something back to the game they love. Others do it for the opportunity to play golf courses they might not see otherwise. Some just like learning how course rating and the World Handicap System™ work. Finally there is camaraderie among team members that many raters look forward to.

Golfing skill is not required although familiarity with the game helps. Most important is the ability to learn the Course Rating System™ and have the analytical inclination and the process orientation to apply the methodology on the course. It is a numbers oriented process.

Rating typically takes a full day. You’ll work with a team of raters in the morning to rate the course. Most often you’ll rate nine holes. After a lunch usually supplied by the club, you’ll play the entire course. Playing the course is an integral part of the rating process. It allows you a second look at the course. It is not uncommon for players to notice something they missed while touring the course in rater mode.

GAM may rate as many as five or six dozen courses per year state-wide. Raters can make their own schedule. A minimum of six ratings per year will help a rater gain and maintain proficiency. Beyond that, the number is a matter of personal preference. Some raters chose to do several dozen ratings.

To be a course rater you must be a GAM Member. If you maintain a World Handicap System Index you are most likely a member already. If you’re not a member contact the GAM at the number above. Membership options start as low as $24 per year. Raters are required to purchase their own copy of the Course Rating System Guide™ for $15.00.  Most raters do bring their own measurement device (laser) to the rating. Raters are encouraged to dress in a uniform manner. This makes it easy for golfers to spot raters when they encounter us on the course. Usually the rater uniform is a white golf shirt, a tan hat and tan slacks or shorts. Opportunities exist for you to purchase official GAM Course Rater shirts, hats and other gear at a modest cost.

No, all course raters are volunteers. The benefits do include lunch and a round of golf however.

The Course Rating System Guide™. is the rater’s bible, studying it is your foundation as a rater. The USGA runs an online course for raters. GAM runs annual Rating Seminars. New volunteers will receive an orientation from their Team Captain, and you will be assigned to a trainer for on-the-job training. Once ready to stand on your own, there is more support. Raters always work with a rating team, so you will be supported in the field by experienced raters.

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. Raters evaluate the 10 Obstacle Factors that are used by the program. They include; topography, fairway, green target, recoverability and rough, bunkers, crossing of penalty areas, lateral obstacles, trees and green surface. On each hole these factors are assigned a value between one and 10 by the raters. The data is recorded on the rater’s worksheet called a Form One for scratch and bogey golfers.

Each tee set needs to be evaluated for men and women players. A large team perhaps 15 to 20 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