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Is it true that players earn better ratings for the same score when a bunch of top, higher rated players compete in the event?

Yes, it can sometimes be true by a few percentage points. However, here's the catch. It's not because these top players have higher ratings. A couple factors are in play. There can be additional tournament pressure in higher tier events especially when local players are grouped with traveling pros. In addition, lower rated players seem to play worse on average than their ratings, especially when it's a tournament layout not played daily that's longer and has more OB challenges. Third, we've found that the farther you play from home, even if you know the course, players tend to average a few throws higher. All of these factors can boost the course rating resulting in slightly higher ratings than local sanctioned events. If you happen to be a local not affected by the added tournament pressure and course challenges, you may be able to average a throw or two better scores and earn those higher ratings. Note: those better ratings aren't just handed to you, you still have to earn them.