‘Course rating for handicap purposes’


Guam National Golf Federation board member Andy Balajadia, far right, takes some notes after inspecting one of the holes at the Coral Ocean Point Golf Resort. (Contributed Photo)

CNMI Federation of Golf Associations president David Largent said having the golf courses on Saipan rated under United States Golf Association standards would level the playing field in terms of the potential ability of each golfer.

Coral Ocean Point Golf Resort, Kingfisher Golf Links, Laolao Bay Golf & Resort, Marianas Country Club, and the Saipan Country Club are the five golf courses on Saipan. SCC is a nine-hole golf course, but management plans to turn it into an 18-hole facility in the future.

Largent, who joined the four-person team of course raters from Guam yesterday, said handicapping purposes is one reason why they wanted Saipan’s golf courses receive professional ratings under the United States Golf Association standards.

“It levels the playing field. If I have a higher handicap and I’m playing against someone who has a lower handicap and if that person played within the average level then I have a better chance of beating him,” said Largent.

The golf handicap, which measures the ability of players, allows golfers who have different skills to play against each other on equal terms.

And that is what Guam National Golf Federation board member Andy Balajadia and his team would like to accomplish once they finished with the initial report, which they plan to share with CFGA and management of the five golf courses on Saipan.

“Having a handicap, you can match the different golfers who have different abilities where they can play on an equitable basis. The idea is to see how difficult the golf course is to different types of players,” said Balajadia.

Joe James, also a GNGF board member, Jay Huff, and Duke Delisle joined Balajadia in the trip to Saipan. The USGA rating team from Guam arrived on Sunday and immediately went to work by inspecting Laolao Bay’s east and west courses.

Balajadia, who is fresh from a USGA course-rating workshop in Florida, said they split into two different teams when they inspected Laolao Bay. They went to MCC and Kingfisher on Monday then COP and SCC last Tuesday.

The group used GPS equipment in looking at the distances of the tees to the greens. “We need to see if the yardages are accurate and each hole must be rated. It is more of a verification on the yardage information the golf course has provided,” said Balajadia.

“We’ve done the first stage of the rating, which is the measurements of each hole of the golf courses. We looked at the yardages, the size of the greens, the speed, and see if it has a lot of contours.”

He added that having a rated golf course is an advantage, especially if Saipan would host international events. Golf is one of the sports to be played when Saipan hosts the 2021 Pacific Mini Games.

“The rating has different uses, but if Saipan would like to host some international events then that is certainly a plus for the golf course. If people would come and play here they want to know if the courses are rated,” said Balajadia.

“When you look at the golf course information, not only would they give you the yardages but also the slope and course ratings. Golfers use that information to identify on how they could play the hole.”

James thanked the management and staff of the five golf courses they visited. “We are thankful for the assistance they provided to us. We would not have completed our job without their help.”

“It is important that they know that we really appreciated everything they have done to accommodate us.”

The quartet of golf course raters came to Saipan upon the invitation of CFGA. “They asked if we could help rate the golf courses on Saipan because some have not been rated for many years while others never at all,” said Balajadia.

CFGA vice president Ed Manibusan, Laolao Bay operations manager Tony Satur, operations staff Joe Camacho, and local market developer Franco Santos joined Largent, Balajadia, James, Huff, and Delisle.

The Amigos Golf Association, CNMI Women’s Golf Association, Marianas Golf Association, Refaluwash Golf Association, Saipan Golf Association, Fil-Taga Golf Association, Korean Golf Association, and the newly formed Marianas Junior Golf Association make up CFGA.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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