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Player With Handicap Completes 9 Holes

Posted: 6/19/2012

When a player with a Handicap Index® (based on 18-hole scores) is competing in a nine-hole competition, the player must first halve their Handicap Index, round the result upwards to the nearest tenth, and convert it to a nine-hole Course HandicapTM using the nine-hole Slope Rating® from the Course Handicap Table for the tees being played (Please see Section 10-5 of “The USGA Handicap System” manual).


A common misconception when calculating a Course Handicap for a nine-hole competition is that a player simply halves their 18-hole Course Handicap and rounds the result to the nearest whole number. Since each set of tees is rated on a nine-hole basis, it is not always the case that half of the strokes fall on the front nine and half on the back nine. Thus, it is important to calculate each player’s nine-hole Course Handicap using the Slope Rating of the nine holes being played in order to ensure that each player is receiving the correct allotment of handicap strokes.

For example, Player A, with a Handicap Index of 23.7 competing on a course with a nine-hole Slope Rating of 125 would have a nine-hole Course Handicap of 13.

Step 1:            23.7 / 2 = 11.85 = 11.9


Step 2:            11.9 x 125 / 113 = 13.1 = 13 (rounded to nearest whole number)  

If the nine-hole competition consists of players competing from different sets of tees or men and women competing from the same set of tees, an additional adjustment must be applied based on the difference in nine-hole USGA Course RatingTM. Once each player’s nine-hole Course Handicap is established and the appropriate handicap allowance for the format of the competition is applied, the difference in nine-hole Course Rating must either be added to the Course Handicap of the player(s) playing the higher rated set of tees, or subtracted from the player(s) playing the lower rated set of tees. (Please see Section 3-5 and 9-3c.)


Let’s take a look at an example: Player A from above is a man competing from a set of tees with a USGA Course Rating of 35.8. He is competing against Player B, who is a woman with a nine-hole Course Handicap of 8 from the forward tees (37.8/127). After each player calculates a Course Handicap from the player’s respective set of tees, the woman must add two strokes (37.8 – 35.8 = 2) to her Course Handicap (8 + 2 = 10) based on the difference in Course Rating. 


If the nine-hole USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating information is not available at the golf course, please feel free to search the National Course Rating and Slope DatabaseTM for the most up-to-date ratings, http://ncrdb.usga.org/NCRDB/. 


Also, the USGA has a Course Handicap calculator available online at, http://www.usga.org/playing/handicaps/calculator/course_handicap_calculator.asp. 


“The USGA Handicap System” manual is available to view online at, http://www.usga.org/Rule-Books/Handicap-System-Manual/Handicap-Manual/ 


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