Thank you for reading my post and hopefully you will be able to help me.

To give you some context here, I want to compare two separate golf games, played on two separate golf courses by two separate people e.g. I play in Scotland and my Granddad plays in America.

I am looking for a way to calculate the following outcomes during a game of golf:

  • a comparison for each hole on its own (e.g. he won hole 1) when they will potentially not be the same par or difficulty
  • a comparison of the whole game (all 18 holes combined, I won) when they will potentially not be the same par or difficulty

I say "potentially" but in reality they will definitely be different!

Maybe I'm really looking for an algorithm?

The usual route is to compare your "net score" (how many shots you hit less your handicap) with the varying "net score" of your friend. While this is acceptable if you played together at the same time on the same course, this is not accurate enough when the two golf courses are different and so is the weather!

I would like the results to to be directly comparable, so perhaps giving the players a rating out of 100% for each hole and the course in whole? I also want to have this calculation work for any course (after updating the par, etc of each) and to be able to be used for comparison of a large group of people (not just two as maybe Dad will also play one day in Italy, etc).

I want this calculation/s to work for any two golf courses anywhere in the world and the information I have to use is as follows:

  • the distance for each hole (yards)
  • the entire course distance (yards)
  • the total course par
  • each hole par (usually 3, 4 or 5)
  • each hole stroke index (the whole ordered in their difficulty, with the hardest hole rated 1 and the easiest hole rated 18)
  • the weather of the day in question e.g. light rain, heavy rain
  • the weather for each hole e.g. light rain, dry, sunny
  • course type (links, parkland, desert)

If someone can give me an easy-to-understand equation with changeable elements shown like ' "hole one par" / "total course par" ' (I am an extremely competent Excel user, but not an amazing mathematician) I would be incredibly grateful.

I think this is a fun problem to think about. . . right? Hehe.

I can reward with UK taxation or accounting answers if needed as I run my own business!

Thank you,


  • $\begingroup$ Umm... if I were you, I would modify the tags on this question a little bit. This doesn't have much to do with complex analysis... $\endgroup$ – Franklin Pezzuti Dyer May 30 '17 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ Golf courses differ so greatly, that I'm not sure your bulleted points are good enough to make a valid comparison. For example, does 'par' really mean exactly the same thing at the Scottish and American courses? If the two courses in question are sufficiently well known that there are some golfers of consistent performance who have played both courses, that might help provide an empirical basis for comparison. $\endgroup$ – BruceET May 31 '17 at 8:07

I think you should look at the Course Standard Scratches/Course rating of your courses. Standard scratch is a number for each course so that rounds on different courses can be compared to each other. This number is on the website of your courses or on this database(https://ncrdb.usga.org/NCRDB/).

  • $\begingroup$ Ahhhh! Thank you. I think the Standard Scratch Score (SSS) may be very useful. However, I can immediately see my local course only has the SSS for the red tees. $\endgroup$ – R.T-O May 31 '17 at 12:02
  • $\begingroup$ I think calculating the standard scratch yourself would be very difficult, as the method usually used for this calculation takes in a huge number of variables. Perhaps you could ask visitors how difficult they feel the course is, and from that you can assign a standard scratch value. For example, Augusta national is very hard and it's standard scratch is 6.1 shots over par. Mapleview Country Club is easy and 4.9 shots under par. $\endgroup$ – Mike May 31 '17 at 12:56

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