I am sure you know that Golf Handicaps are calculated for 18 hole rounds. But did you know that if you only play 9 hole rounds you would have a Handicap Index called N?

You will see in our Trends section that there are a set of “9 Hole Rounds” graphs. In there you will be able to see your **Handicap Index N** which is calculated using your 9 hole rounds. (it won’t show if you don’t have any 9 hole rounds)

To calculate this handicap you simply use the course rating of the 9 holes you played and use the same formula you use for 18 hole Handicaps. You will see that this handicap ranges from 0-18 instead of 0-36 like the regular Handicap Index.

NOTE that 9 hole rounds are not utilized for the regular Handicap Index calculation.

**Why not simply multiply your score times 2 for 9 hole rounds?**

Well, the USGA doesn’t really explain the reasoning behind having two different handicaps but based on all my readings and interpretations of the USGA thinking, I will give you my best guess. (so please interpret this post as my opinion and not the USGA’s)

[like_to_read][/like_to_read]“Playing 9 hole rounds requires different level of concentration than 18 hole rounds. Keeping the focus for 18 holes (~4.5 hours) is much more difficult. So it wouldn’t really be fair to multiply by 2 the score and then get the equivalent 18 hole round score.”

But I figured you wouldn’t believe it so I ran a couple of analyses, here they are!

*What would be my handicap if I calculated front and back nine separately?*

We looked at 5 different golfers, and while there is only significant difference in 2 of them, it is; in my opinion, enough . See the graph below comparing the handicaps of 18 hole rounds versus the handicap calculating every 9 holes (multiplying by 2)

Look at golfer 1 and golfer 5. There are ~4 points difference between the regular handicap and the equivalent handicap we calculated using their 9 hole rounds. And out of the 5 there is only one of them that have less than 1 point difference.

*What is the average difference between the front and back 9 per round?*

We looked at the front 9 and back 9 of the same 5 golfers. We found that the difference between the two average 4.2 strokes. That means that on average, those golfers had a 4 strokes difference between the front 9 and the back nine. So, if one of this 5 golfers shoot 44 on the front 9, he was expected to shoot a 40 or a 48 on the back 9. That’s a lot of strokes since 4.2 would mean a 8.4 difference on a 18 hole round.

**In conclusion…**

I know that this is not enough statistical proof and that we would have too look at a larger sampler. But I do believe that it is a lot easier for the regular golfer to shoot a 41 on 9 holes than it is to shoot an 82 on 18 holes. So you be the judge, but I think the USGA is right in separating the two and having a Handicap Index (18 Holes) and a Handicap Index N (9 holes).

What do you think?

Enjoy your golf!

## Rawley Burbridge

I just signed up to use your site, so far seems like a great service! I found this post regarding 9 hole rounds because I tend to play those more. Is the information you have provided here from 2012 still accurate. I noticed on the USGA site they indicate that two 9 hole rounds will eventually be combined.

## TheGrinter

Hi Rawley, good morning!

You can combine your 9-hole Scores to make them 18-hole Scores. But they have to be from the same Course of course.

Unfortunately, we do not have a feature that combines those Scores automatically, so if you want to combine two 9-hole Scores, you have to combine them manually, either using the App or the Website.

You do have two Handicaps, the 18-hole Handicap and 9-hole Handicap. You can view your Handicaps on the Trends Section on the Website.

If you have any questions or need anything else, you can contact us directly at contactus@thegrint.com

Regards.

## Rawley Burbridge

Thanks!

## Curt Sims

There are instances where I head out not knowing if there is enough time to finish 18. I will start with the front 9 and decide to go on after it is completed. It would be great if there was a “continue on” option after completing 9 so the scorecard automatically switched to 18 holes. I make a new round and combine the two manually currently.

## TheGrinter

Hi Curt – Thanks for your comments. If you are using an iPhone, you can click the menu on the top left, and click “Round Settings” to change the round from 9 to 18 holes.

If you are using Android then what you are currently the best option until this feature is ready to be released.

Thanks,

## Rebecca Killion

Are there golf handicap calculators for nine holes.I can’t find one.be

## TheGrinter

Hi Rebecca, good afternoon. If you track your 9-hole Scores with us (TheGrint), we calculate your 9-hole Handicap.

You can see it in your Profile and on the Trends Section in your Profile, where it says “Hdcp Index N (9)”.

You can contact us directly to contactus@thegrint.com if you have any questions.

## brian

Hi there, I just sent an email separately but then found this article and comment thread. One clarification: if i do play 9 hole rounds (on the same Course of course) and enter them in manually later do those rounds have to be the front and back nine? Or can i play the front twice (on different dates) and enter those together manually as 18?

## TheGrinter

Hi Brian, good afternoon. Sorry for the late response.

The Scores can be the same Course, same Tees and same 9-holes. You should be able to combine them manually through the Website.

Let us know if you have any questions.

## Jay Landwehr

In general, your 18-hole handicap will be higher than twice your 9-hole handicap, or handicap (N) – and potentially significantly higher.

Remember that your 9-hole handicap is based on the best 10 of your last 20 9-hole scores, and your 18-hole handicap is based on the best 10 of your last 20 18-hole scores. For your true 18-hole handicap to equal twice your 9-hole handicap (N), that is like saying you always shoot your best 10 of 20 scores on the front 9 and your best 10 of 20 scores on the back 9 together in the same “round”. That would almost never happen.

Exaggerating and simplifying to illustrate. let’s say Player A shoots 20 18-hole rounds where he shoots 40-50=90 each time, and Player B shoots 20 18-hole rounds where he shoots 45-45=90 each time. Player A and Player B will have identical 18-hole handicaps, since they always shoot the same 18-hole score. But if you take 10 of thise 18-hole rounds and treat them as 20 random 9-hole rounds, Player A’s handicap (N) will be based on a score of 40, while Player B’s handicap (N) will be based on a score of 45. If these 2 players multiply their handicap (N) by 2 to get and 18-hole handicap, Player A would have the 18-hole handicap of a golfer who shoots 80 – way below what he normally shoots – while Player B would have the 18-hole handicap of a golfer who shoots 90 – consistent with what he normally shoots.

For those of us who primarily play 9-hole rounds, the USGA would do us a service by developing a formula for converting a handicap (N) into an 18-hole handicap that can be used for those occasions when an 18-hole handicap is needed. I’m sure they have enough data at their disposal to come up with a reasonable, fair approximation.

## Timo Granberg

For a 24 handicapper playing on a course consisting of 3 times 9 hole courses. When playing 18 holes, does he calculate 9 strokes on both 9 holes first and then 3 holes second time on both 9 hole courses? Those three additional holes on 1., 2. and 3. HCP holes from both 9 hole courses.