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# 9 Hole Rounds and Handicaps

## 64 posts in this topic

In my league, which plays 9 holes we figure our handicaps based on a 9 hole round like most. Then another player asked my cousin what his handicap is for 18 holes and he said it was a 5, but he is a 5 for 9 holes. So this started a heated debate on what is right. I told him at best I'll say your a 10 because your a 5 for 9 holes.

I know I'm closer to the right track than he is, but can somebody clarify this issue for me?

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USGA handicaps are based on 18 holes.
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USGA handicaps are based on 18 holes.

Yeah. Also important to note: handicap index isn't necessarily the same as handicap.

If your course handicap comes out to 5.4 that rounds down to 5. Doubling it would make it 11 (10.8). Indexes have a decimal point. Course handicaps are in full shots.
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Awards and Achievements

If you want to have a laugh and learn about 9 hole handicaps at the same time, do a search on 'brah?', take the longest thread in the search and you'll get all the info you need :).

Just make sure you don't bump that old stinker of a thread.
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In my league, which plays 9 holes we figure our handicaps based on a 9 hole round like most. Then another player asked my cousin what his handicap is for 18 holes and he said it was a 5, but he is a 5 for 9 holes. So this started a heated debate on what is right. I told him at best I'll say your a 10 because your a 5 for 9 holes.

To attempt further clarification, your league handicap is not "official" it is only an approximation of a handicap and depending on the method used it could vary greatly from a USGA handicap.

The "approximation" of doubling your 9-hole league "handicap" is perhaps slightly reasonable but should not be passed off as an official USGA handicap index. It fails to take into account slope and rating of the course you normally play compared to the course you are stating a handicap at and it is not representative of your scoring potential over 18 holes to simply double your "best average" 9-hole score for your 18-hole legitimate handicap. The best method would be to utilize the USGA handicap caluculations and combine two consecutive 9-hole rounds to determine your actual handicap index. Regarding the clarification you are requesting, to state that he is a 5-handicap would be well outside of his scoring ability with respect to par. He would indeed be closer to a 10-15 handicap through 18. Regards, -E
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To attempt further clarification, your league handicap is not "official" it is only an approximation of a handicap and depending on the method used it could vary greatly from a USGA handicap.

Well said. You NEVER double what you took on 9 holes because 18 holes adds elements that may not be as favorable to you when you do 9 (such as fatigue). Always base the handicap off of 18.
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The USGA handicap manual defines 9-hole handicaps and tells you what to do if you have one (section 10.5):

A nine-hole handicap is a Handicap Index (N) if the club follows the USGA Handicap System. A nine-hole handicap, or Handicap Index (N), may be used in inter-club play against other players with nine-hole handicaps. If a competition requires a Handicap Index, a Handicap Index (N) may be doubled for 18-hole play.

It goes on to say that if you need a 9-hole handicap and only have a normal handicap, you halve your Handicap Index (and apply some rounding). So it seems that there is some legitimacy to a 9-hole handicap, but it's not clear to me exactly what the limits are.

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I know that when calculation your handicap, it combines 9 hole rounds together to make a single 18 hole round.

How does it choose which 9 holes to combine.

Example:

Round 1: 7/31 45
Round 2: 8/14 44
Round 3: 8/19 44

So I assume it takes round 1 and 2 and combines them and then will combine round 3 with the next 9 hole set I play. Is this correct?
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So I assume it takes round 1 and 2 and combines them and then will combine round 3 with the next 9 hole set I play. Is this correct?

yep. see 10-5 of the

USGA Handicap Manual for details.
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There are a few courses in my area that have 27 holes (blue, green, and white) for play. When I go to them, I usually play 18 holes. How would I figure out the course rating and slope for all 3 9-holes courses? Would they just be half of a normal course rating and slope?
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I think it has to be rated by the USGA or Canadien counterpart. It shoud be printed somewhere on the scorecard for each tee box or a listing of course ratings. The 9 hole course that I'm learning on doesn't have one so I just list it as "hard". lol
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The problem is, it only gives me the course rating and slope for the 3 18-hole combinations. (i.e. green/white, red/white, green/red). It doesn't give me the course rating and slope for 9-hole course.
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The problem is, it only gives me the course rating and slope for the 3 18-hole combinations. (i.e. green/white, red/white, green/red). It doesn't give me the course rating and slope for 9-hole course.

When you combine 9 hole rounds into an 18 hole round, the rule is that rating = rating_1 + rating_2 and slope = (slope_1 + slope_2)/2 (i.e., you add the ratings and average the slopes). If you're handy with algebra you can work out the 9-hole ratings for each 9 from the info you have. I'm bored so I'll help you out here

I'll call the ratings and slopes for the various pairs R_12, R_13, R_23, and the slopes S_12, S_13, and S_23. These are for 9-holes #1 paired with #2, #1 with #3, and #2 with #3, respectively. The ratings for each 9 are then R_1 = (R_12+R_13-R23)/2, R_2 = (R_12+R_23-R_13)/2, and R_3 = (R_13+R_23-R_12)/2. The slopes are S_1 = S_12+S_13-S_23, S_2 = S_12+S_23-S_13, and S_3 = S_13+S_23-S_12.
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Thanks. I just finished calculating them now. (I started about 20 minutes ago)
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Is it as simple as dividing the slope and rating by 2? Seems like if I enter a 45 the calculator will think I shot an amazing round..
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You don't need to do anything with the slope and rating. The calculation is going to give you a 9-hole handicap though - you'd need to double it if you want to compare it to a standard 18-hole handicap.

Technically it wouldn't affect your official handicap though until you played another 9 that could be combined with the first 9. To get an 18-hole slope and rating from 2 9s, you add the ratings and average the slopes. I.e., if you played the same 9 hole course again you'd double the rating and use the existing slope. Or, if you were to play your next 9 at an 18 hole course, they would have separate ratings and slopes for each 9 and you'd use the rating/slope for whichever 9 you played.
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Is it as simple as dividing the slope and rating by 2? Seems like if I enter a 45 the calculator will think I shot an amazing round..

I infer from a local course near me that GAM (Golf Associaiton of Michigan) put ratings on the front & back 9 and the final 18 is the summ of the ratings and the slope is the average. For instance, here is the Willow Metropark ratings & slopes:

Blue Tee, 70.0/124 Blue Tee Back 9, 34.6/125 Blue Tee Front 9, 35.4/123 Gold Tee, 65.9/108 Gold Tee Back 9, 32.3/104 Gold Tee Front 9, 33.6/112 White Tee, 68.5/121 White Tee Back 9, 33.8/121 White Tee Front 9, 34.7/122 Let me know which course/tee & I'll look it up for you at the GAM website if you don't have a membership.
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...the final 18 is the summ of the ratings and the slope is the average.

Yeah, like I said.

The OP said it was a 9 hole course though, in which case he would just use the course's slope and rating.
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