How to calculate a handicap for 9 holes

Updated March 23, 2017

An increasing number of golfers are choosing to play only nine holes per course rather than a full 18. While there are a lot of benefits to this style of play, one of the downsides is that it sometimes makes it a bit more difficult for golfers to calculate their handicap. But it doesn't have to be a problem. If you would like to spend more time on the course and less time crunching numbers, this article will tell you how to calculate your nine-hole handicap in less than 5 minutes.

Gather your scorecards from at least five different courses of nine-hole play.

Determine the course rating for the holes that you played. The course rating is a measure of the course's difficulty and will vary depending on where you play. This can usually be found on the course's scorecard. There usually are two different course ratings, one for 18-hole play and one for nine-hole play. Be sure that you choose the course rating for the nine-hole play.

Determine the course slope. The course slope is a second measure of the course's difficulty and also should be found on the scorecard. There should be only one course slope per course, which remains the same for both nine- and 18-hole play.

Go to the handicap calculator found in the resources section of this article.

Select nine-hole scores on the top of the website page that appears.

Enter the information from Steps 1 through 5 of this article into the appropriate fields in the grid. Once the information is entered, cllick calculate. Your handicap index should automatically appear.

Return to the handicap calculator website page and locate the section labelled course handicap calculator. This should be located along the bottom of the page.

Enter the appropriate information into the text fields provided on the calculator page. You will need your handicap index number (calculated in the previous section) and the course slope.

Click calculate. Your course handicap should appear automatically.


The results of this method should only be considered a handicap estimate. Official handicaps must be administered by the United States Golf Association (USGA).

Things You'll Need

  • Completed scorecards from five different courses of nine-hole play.
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About the Author

Soren Bagley recently graduated from the University of Toledo with a B.A. in English Literature. He has been a professional writer for two years and his work has appeared on a wide variety of internet web sites, including Associated and