# Handicap holes

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Why are the odds on one 9 and the evens on the other?

My course clearly has the 2 most difficult holes and the 2 easiest on the front. I always assumed it was for handicapping a 9 hole round, but am not sure of the reasoning.

Thanks for any insights.

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Contrary to popular belief, the order of handicap holes is NOT determined by the relative "difficulty" of the holes.  But rather by where the average "bogey golfer" needs the strokes relative to the average "scratch golfer"...

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53 minutes ago, David in FL said:

Contrary to popular belief, the order of handicap holes is NOT determined by the relative "difficulty" of the holes.  But rather by where the average "bogey golfer" needs the strokes relative to the average "scratch golfer"...

I learned something new....Thanks for sharing

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Any idea why the odd are front and the even back?

I'm a bit dense tonight, a bogy golfer is getting a stroke a hole vs scratch no matter the handicap rating of the hole. If it is a 17 vs scratch though, how did the decision come to be that the 17 is getting a shot on all except the 18th stroke hole.. What did the USGA 'measure' to decide that, for example, that hole 2, not 6 is more difficult? I have to assume its more than distance.

Edited by Papa Steve 55

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3 hours ago, Papa Steve 55 said:

Why are the odds on one 9 and the evens on the other?

My course clearly has the 2 most difficult holes and the 2 easiest on the front. I always assumed it was for handicapping a 9 hole round, but am not sure of the reasoning.

Thanks for any insights.

I think it is,  whichever hole is the number 1 handicap, whether front or back, that is the side that is odd and the other 9 is even.

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16 minutes ago, jsgolfer said:

I think it is,  whichever hole is the number 1 handicap, whether front or back, that is the side that is odd and the other 9 is even.

Front 9 is always odd and back 9 is always even for a regulation 18 hole course.  if there are 3 9's and the 18 holes starts switching around each day, the 9's are each labeled 1-9 instead.

3 hours ago, Papa Steve 55 said:

Why are the odds on one 9 and the evens on the other?

My best guess as to why is for golfers who only play 9 holes on an 18 hole course (leagues).  You still want allocations to be fair.

Edited by phillyk

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1 minute ago, phillyk said:

Front 9 is always odd and back 9 is always even for a regulation 18 hole course.

Not necessarily.  Although it's less common, there are courses where the even handicap holes fall on the front, and the odd on the back...

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7 minutes ago, David in FL said:

Not necessarily.  Although it's less common, there are courses where the even handicap holes fall on the front, and the odd on the back...

I looked it up and you're right, it's just a rare occurrence I guess.

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3 minutes ago, phillyk said:

I looked it up and you're right, it's just a rare occurrence I guess.

We actually have 2 fairly close to me.  In both cases, the number 1 hcp hole falls on 18. My buddy, who gives me one stroke, HATES to play either of them!

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40 minutes ago, phillyk said:

Front 9 is always odd and back 9 is always even for a regulation 18 hole course.  if there are 3 9's and the 18 holes starts switching around each day, the 9's are each labeled 1-9 instead.

My best guess as to why is for golfers who only play 9 holes on an 18 hole course (leagues).  You still want allocations to be fair.

That is not the case, our course the odd handicap holes are the back 9.

Oops I didn't read the previous posts.

Edited by jsgolfer

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I'm looking at two score cards from courses I've played this year and they have the even handicap holes on the front.

I'm also looking at one score card where there is no rhyme nor reason to the handicap holes.   Lakewood Shores Resort - Blackshire is as follows 13,4,8,7,2,14,16,18,9 / 5,17,6,15,3,1,10,12,11

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5 hours ago, Papa Steve 55 said:

Why are the odds on one 9 and the evens on the other?

My course clearly has the 2 most difficult holes and the 2 easiest on the front. I always assumed it was for handicapping a 9 hole round, but am not sure of the reasoning.

As others said it's not difficulty, it's the holes where the higher handicapper is most likely.

They also try to spread the strokes out, because if a 12 handicapper plays a scratch golfer and the first 12 holes give him strokes, the match may be almost decided unfairly early before the scratch golfer gets to play some even holes. Spreading them out to evens/odds guarantees that the strokes are somewhat spread out.

2 hours ago, Papa Steve 55 said:

I'm a bit dense tonight, a bogy golfer is getting a stroke a hole vs scratch no matter the handicap rating of the hole. If it is a 17 vs scratch though, how did the decision come to be that the 17 is getting a shot on all except the 18th stroke hole.. What did the USGA 'measure' to decide that, for example, that hole 2, not 6 is more difficult? I have to assume its more than distance.

They analyze a few hundred scorecards. The 18th handicap hole is the one where the scoring spread is the closest.

That's simple. One of them had to be.

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7 hours ago, iacas said:

As others said it's not difficulty, it's the holes where the higher handicapper is most likely.

They also try to spread the strokes out, because if a 12 handicapper plays a scratch golfer and the first 12 holes give him strokes, the match may be almost decided unfairly early before the scratch golfer gets to play some even holes. Spreading them out to evens/odds guarantees that the strokes are somewhat spread out.

They analyze a few hundred scorecards. The 18th handicap hole is the one where the scoring spread is the closest.

That's simple. One of them had to be.

Ahh, so there is a number crunch involved for existing courses. I assume a new course would have them set by someone with experience, then adjusted when there is a reasonable sample size.

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On 9/25/2017 at 6:03 AM, Papa Steve 55 said:

Ahh, so there is a number crunch involved for existing courses. I assume a new course would have them set by someone with experience, then adjusted when there is a reasonable sample size.

I believe they often use the course rating for scratch and bogey golfers to get a reasonable estimate about which holes have the largest or smallest gaps.

Distance is often a big component.

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