So as I understand it, the course rating is the score a typical scratch golfer would score from that tee position whereas the slope is a reflection of how more (or less) difficult the course would be for the typical higher handicap player. Or that's how it's been explained to me.
Sometime look at a couple of the courses you play and see how these ratings line up in your head with how challenging the course is. For me, I have one course, Pudding Ridge, which I play from the tips, 6800 yards on the scorecard. Rated CR is 72, slope 133. Now for the most part there, the wayward tee shot or approach shot can be found. Usually in the rough between holes. But there is trouble, there are places to lose balls on every hole and a decent amount of water. But the fairways tend to be wide and landing areas generous. I usually can shoot anywhere from 73-78 there.
Now compare that to the course I p[layed yesterday, Tidewater Golf club in North Myrtle Beach. We played the white tees, since most of the players were 90+ scorers...From there, it is rated CR of 70 and slope of 127. I shot 77 which was a really good score for me on that course. There is SOOOOO much more danger on that course for the average golfer. I'm surprised the ratings are lower. Water and marsh abound on that course. every green bunkered by multiple Bunkers, tough green constructs, water, etc. I guess the yardage must be a BIG part of that rating calculation. It was only about 6300-6400 from the whites.
Do you notice courses you play where you see something similar?