What is the Hacker's Ratings System?


Our Rating System evaluates sixty specific (on and off course) elements of a golf course from 5 core categories (plus a ladies-centric category called Forwards) and scores those elements on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest). Those sixty elements are then "weighted" in accordance with the significance of that specific element. We look at the overall golf experience, not just how pretty are the greens. A perfect score in all categories would be 1000 points.

We look at a golf course from the perspective of a modestly skilled player, but also place considerable emphasis on the beauty and design as well as those things that make a course fun to play.

Our reviews and ratings are completed by a team of regular golfers that have been screened and selected from thousands of applicants. Everyone can sign-up using our 3-step process, but not everyone is selected.

If selected, raters come in two flavors: regional directors and local raters.

Regional Directors are responsible for a region within their area (i.e. NE Phoenix, SE Atlanta, West Des Moines). Each metro area (MSA) contains 5-10 regions with 10-20 courses in each region. Cost: $79.95/year.

Local Raters live in a region and can be invited by a Regional Director to rate a course and be a part of the foursome. They would show up at the course at the proper time, play the course and rate it. Cost: $39.95/year.

Here are the 5 categories we rate with a brief description of the elements considered in each category:

Conditions (19%) = 190 points

What is the overall condition of the golf course? What about the tee boxes, greens, fairways, cart paths and hazards individually? How nature-friendly is the course? Strong emphasis on pace of play, speed and design of the greens. Props go out to course superintendents in make the most out of the real estate they were given.

Hospitality (15%) = 150 points

What is the quality of social interaction and guest service? (Food, beverage, pro shop, course control, etc.) Does the course host leagues, accommodate junior golfers, provide instruction and/or have all the basic (or perhaps even additional) amenities? Also evaluates the quality of a course website, the tee time reservation process, and the accommodations made for female golfers.

Playability (19%) = 190 points

Primarily from the perspective of an 18+ handicapper. ("Bogey golfer") Evaluates the degree of difficulty of the course design and how it impacts genders, age groups and/or skill levels of golfers. Also considers the condition and amount of hazards, care of rough, walking vs. riding options as well as a strong emphasis on tee box and hole-to-hole signage, scorecard details and distance measurement systems. (GPS or otherwise.)

Facilities (15%) = 150 points

What do you get off the course? Examines the clubhouse, the logic of the property layout and cleanliness. Food service options, practice areas, quantity and quality of restrooms vs. locker rooms, pro shop quality/variety and general off course experience/atmosphere are all additional focal points of this category.

Forwards (17%) = 170 points

A combination of 12 factors from withing the preceeding 5 categories. These are factors that are femaile-centric. Cleanliness, forward tee placement, signage, bathroom faciltiies, food offerings, customer service all are part of the category. Women look at a golf course differently than a man does and we want to do our best to see how friendly a course can be to the ladies.

Value (15%) = 150 points

6 of the 12 elements have to do with cost: Of round, cart, practice, food & beverage, etc. "Little” courses can stand on equal ground with the “famed and fortunes.” Who gives the most for the least? A course relying on its reputation (to charge $200 a round) can be knocked to its knees by the municipal beauty next door at the cost to play. Balanced with all the cost considerations are the factors that make a round valuable for most of us: Signature holes, great atmosphere, beauty, fun and the lack of "buyer's remorse". Those are our values.

Total Score = 1000 points