Golf Handicap Formula for 9 Hole Rounds

By Don Patton

golfer makes putt
Many golf leagues have nine-hole competitions, either because there is a time limit, such as those set by after-work leagues, or because the participants want to play only half a round.


There are two ways to handicap a nine-hole competition: Participants can adapt their regular 18-hole Handicap Index or they can use the USGA provision for nine-hole handicaps.

18-Hole Handicaps

If the players want ever to compete in 18-hole events, use of a regular Handicap Index is the best option. For nine-hole events, a regular Handicap Index is halved and then rounded up to the nearest tenth.

Nine-Hole Handicaps

If players never play 18-hole rounds, using nine-hole handicaps is much easier. They are computed and used solely for nine-hole events.

Computing Handicaps

Regular 18-hole Handicap Index is 96 percent of the average of the differentials from the lowest 10 of the last 20 rounds played, multiplied by 113 and divided by the course slope rating.

The nine-hole Handicap Index is calculated in exactly the same way, except using nine-hole scores and course ratings.

Course Handicaps

For both types of event and either type of handicap, the player's Handicap Index and the slope rating for the course are converted to a Course Handicap using the course handicap table.

About the Author

Don Patton has been writing since retiring as an engineer in 2006. He has written study guides, short stories, articles, and essays, and in 2009 was published in "Chicken Soup for the Golfers Soul; The Golf Book." He holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of California Berkeley.