Re: Ask Chuck
The ball golf course rating process is only partly based on hard numbers. Their ratings have no direct connection to actual scores because they can't. There's no reference from which to establish those ratings. Someone made up some factors that in theory affect challenge on the course. However, they made up how many strokes an oak tree of a certain size will have based on its position on the fairway. None of these factors have ever been corroborated with actual scoring values.
Fortunately, they aren't too far off because the majority of the course rating just like DG is based on length and fixed values that relate to shots around the green. The geezers who walk around and rate golf courses spend a lot of time (and the club's money) using checklists that only impact in the neighborhood of +/- 1 stroke in the overall course rating.
Our course ratings are more precise because they are directly related to the challenge presented by the course that round. Any factor that might affect challenge that round is automtically taken into account via the accumulated set of scores by players with established ratings. The only weakness with our process is the customer service tradeoff made by the PDGA to calculate SSAs using scores from as few as 5 players. That's not ideal statistically but it's still better than the inaccurate BG base course ratings, no accounting for weather and the slope "fudge" factor they've had to introduce to make things work a little better. With most events having 40 or more rounds on the same layout, we have great accuracy in determining the actual SSA for that course layout.
With regard to having fixed baseline values for our courses, there is a way to determine a baseline SSA for every combination of tees and pins using the data available. I've been ready to provide that calculation thru the PDGA Course Directory but have been put off for several years due to lack of programming resources. Maybe with the updated website coming this year, things like this can finally be addressed.
Rater of the tossed arc.