Only Time For Nine? You Can Still Post Your Score

By USGA
July 23, 2014

As a general rule, 18-hole courses have distinct slope and course ratings for their outward and inward nines, as illustrated above.

Playing a nine-hole round of golf is not only a fun way to stay connected to the game we all love, it is also very easy to post for handicap purposes.

Each golf course that has an 18-hole USGA Course Rating™ and Slope Rating® also has nine-hole Ratings. These can be found in the USGA Course Rating and Slope Database™. Since most players have an 18-hole Handicap Index®, the first step is to determine a nine-hole value by cutting it in half (rounding to nearest tenth as applicable, e.g., 14.5 / 2 = 7.25, 7.3 rounded). Next, multiply that value by the respective nine’s Slope Rating and divide by 113 to determine a nine-hole Course Handicap™ for that side (e.g., 7.3 x 131 / 113 = 8.4, 8 rounded). Golf courses have Course Handicap Tables posted on site and a Course Handicap can also be determined using the USGA’s Course Handicap Calculator.

Players who are really crunched for time will be glad to know that nine-hole scores can be posted for handicap purposes after playing as few as seven holes. If a player needs to leave after seven or eight holes the “par-plus” method can be used to compute a nine-hole score. This is done by taking par for the hole(s) not played and adding a stroke(s) if the player is entitled to them according to their nine-hole Course Handicap. Using a player’s nine-hole Course Handicap as 8 from the example, and only playing eight holes, that player would determine a hole score of bogey on the ninth hole if it were one of the first eight handicap-stroke holes on that nine. (Note: Handicap-stroke holes may need to be re-allocated 1-9.) A score of par would be recorded if it were the ninth handicap-stroke hole.

The policies and procedures for posting a nine-hole score can be found in “Section 5-2 & 10-5” of “The USGA Handicap System.”  In addition, the answers to many of the most common inquiries regarding the USGA Handicap System™ can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions section of the USGA’s Handicapping page.

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