NMI golf courses earn USGA ratings


Laolao Bay Golf & Resort’s course operations manager Tony Satur, second left, assists the United States Golfers Association-certified course raters when they visited the island last August. (Contributed Photo)

CNMI Federation of Golf Associations president David Largent welcomed the official ratings given by the United States Golf Association to Saipan’s five golf courses—including the nine-hole Saipan Country Club.

The course and slope rating was conducted by a four-member group led by Guam National Golf Federation ratings administrator Andriano E. Balajadia, who is also a USGA certified course rater.

Balajadia along with Joe James, Jay Huff, and Duke Delisle arrived in the last week of August to assist in rating the island’s golf courses. All four are certified USGA golf course raters.

Largent said the course ratings given to Coral Ocean Point Golf Resort, Kingfisher Golf Links, Laolao Bay Golf & Resort (east and west), Marianas Country Club, and SCC is positive news for Saipan’s golf community and industry as a whole.

“Having the golf courses rated not only gives credibility, but allows a USGA handicap system to be implemented where golfers of all skills can compete together and play anywhere else in the world,” said Largent.

“The most important aspect of the handicap system is also to give foundation to our junior golfers who plan to develop their skills and play competitively in tournaments outside the CNMI. Having a valid handicap is a requirement,” he added.

CNMI golfers need to be member of a public golf course that provides handicap services or a golf club and both must provide services for a fee that is included in membership dues to allow players to earn a USGA handicap. Golfers then need to post their scores throughout the year once they earned their USGA handicap to maintain the system’s equality. The handicap would accurately reflect the type of golfer they are and players must have at least five scores to establish a handicap. A golf handicap and information network can be found on the USGA website and golfers can post their scores whether they played in the US or in the CNMI.

Largent added that the CFGA would work closely with the eight member associations under their group aside from the management of the five golf courses to effectively implement the new handicapping system.

This is the first time in more than 10 years that Saipan’s golf courses are rated. The inspection updated the course ratings of all golf courses and at the same time made it official the handicapping system to every golfer in the Commonwealth.

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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