How to Become a Golf Digest Course Rater

Becoming a Golf Digest course rater is a coveted position in the golf industry. Golf Digest course raters are responsible for evaluating and ranking golf courses based on various criteria such as design, conditioning, and overall experience. If you are passionate about golf and interested in becoming a Golf Digest course rater, here are some steps you can take:

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  1. Have a deep knowledge and passion for golf: Golf Digest course raters are expected to have a deep understanding of the game of golf, including its history, rules, and etiquette. You should also have a passion for playing and experiencing different golf courses.
  2. Have experience in the golf industry: Golf Digest course raters typically have experience in the golf industry, whether as a professional golfer, golf course superintendent, or golf coach. This experience can help you develop a critical eye for evaluating golf courses.
  3. Apply to be a course rater: Golf Digest periodically accepts applications for new course raters. You can visit the Golf Digest website or contact their editorial department to inquire about the application process.
  4. Complete a course rating seminar: Once you are accepted as a Golf Digest course rater, you will be required to attend a course rating seminar. This seminar will teach you how to evaluate golf courses based on various criteria and how to assign ratings.
  5. Gain experience by rating courses: As a Golf Digest course rater, you will be responsible for rating courses in your area. This will give you the opportunity to gain experience and improve your skills as a course rater.
  6. Stay up-to-date with industry trends: To be a successful Golf Digest course rater, you should stay up-to-date with industry trends and changes in golf course design and maintenance. This will help you provide accurate and relevant ratings for each course you evaluate.
  7. Develop a strong golf network: As a Golf Digest course rater, you will need to have a strong network within the golf industry. This can include relationships with course owners, superintendents, and other professionals in the industry. These relationships can provide you with valuable insights and information about courses in your area.
  8. Be objective and fair: As a course rater, it’s important to be objective and fair when evaluating golf courses. This means setting aside personal biases and evaluating courses based on their merits.
  9. Attend golf industry events: Attending golf industry events such as trade shows, conferences, and tournaments can provide you with opportunities to meet other professionals in the industry and stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments.
  10. Be a good communicator: As a Golf Digest course rater, you will need to be able to communicate effectively with course owners and other professionals in the industry. This means being able to provide clear and concise feedback on course ratings and having the ability to explain your ratings to others.
  11. Be reliable and professional: Golf Digest course raters are expected to be reliable and professional in all their interactions with course owners, other professionals in the industry, and with Golf Digest itself. This includes meeting deadlines, providing accurate ratings, and maintaining a professional demeanor at all times.


How to Become a Golf Digest Course Rater

Becoming a Golf Digest course rater requires a combination of knowledge, experience, and passion for the game of golf. By following these steps and continually improving your skills and knowledge, you can become a trusted and respected course rater in the industry.

General Requirements

Golf KnowledgeDeep understanding of the game of golf, including rules, etiquette, and scoring.
Writing AbilityStrong writing skills with the ability to write descriptive, insightful, and unbiased reviews.
Communication SkillsExcellent communication skills to interact with course personnel, fellow raters, and editors.
Attention to DetailA keen eye for detail to evaluate and rate the course accurately.
ProfessionalismA professional demeanor and conduct while on the job.
Availability and TravelFlexibility to work on weekends, holidays, and travel to evaluate courses.

Golf Experience

Handicap IndexA low handicap index (single digit) that reflects a good level of play.
Course KnowledgeA deep understanding of different types of courses, course architecture, and playing conditions.
Playing ExperienceExtensive playing experience on a variety of courses with different levels of difficulty.
Tournament ExperienceParticipation in golf tournaments, either as a player or as a volunteer.
Rules and EtiquetteA thorough understanding of golf rules and etiquette, as well as their application in different situations.

Education and Training

Education and TrainingDescription
Golf Industry KnowledgeCompletion of a golf-related degree or certification program, or equivalent experience working in the golf industry.
Course Rating TrainingCompletion of a course rating training program offered by USGA, PGA, or other recognized organizations.
Writing TrainingCompletion of a writing course or training program that focuses on golf writing or journalism.
Public Speaking TrainingCompletion of a public speaking or presentation skills training program to improve communication skills.
Continuing EducationParticipation in continuing education programs, such as seminars, workshops, or webinars, to stay up-to-date.

Application Process

Application ProcessDescription
Online ApplicationSubmission of an online application form that includes personal information, golf experience, and writing samples.
Phone InterviewA phone interview with a Golf Digest representative to assess the applicant’s knowledge, skills, and availability.
Course Rating EvaluationCompletion of a course rating evaluation at a local golf course to assess the applicant’s skills and attention to detail.
Writing Sample EvaluationEvaluation of the applicant’s writing samples by Golf Digest editors to assess writing skills and quality.
Final Selection NotificationNotification of final selection to become a Golf Digest course rater, typically via email or phone call.

Responsibilities and Benefits

Responsibilities and BenefitsDescription
Course Evaluation and RatingConducting course evaluations and ratings based on USGA course rating system and Golf Digest rating criteria.
Course Review WritingWriting descriptive, insightful, and unbiased reviews of golf courses for Golf Digest’s print and digital platforms.
Golf Course AccessAccess to play some of the best golf courses in the country for free or at a discounted rate.
Networking OpportunitiesNetworking opportunities with other raters, golf industry professionals, and Golf Digest editors.


  • Ray Barnes

    Ray Barnes, our Senior Staff Writer and a Golf Analyst with a PhD in Sports Analytics, is a beacon of insight in the golfing world. With a deep understanding of the sport's nuances, statistical analysis, and a talent for demystifying complexities, he provides in-depth analysis and captivating narratives that engage golf enthusiasts worldwide.

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