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Golf Handicap FAQ: Incomplete and 9-Hole Rounds

Can I record incomplete or 9-hole rounds for handicap purposes?

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Yes. Nine-hole rounds should be recorded as such when you post your scores. They may not immediately have any impact on your handicap index. However, if there is another 9-hole round in the system for you, the two will be paired together as if they comprised the two halves of an 18-hole round. That "18-hole" round will then be figured into your handicap index.

Thirteen holes must be played in order to post an 18-hole score. So what happens to the five holes you didn't play? On your scorecard, you write down the score you would likely have gotten had you played those holes.

No, that doesn't mean you get to put down birdies for those holes! Nice try, though. On the five holes you failed to play, you would take par plus the strokes allowed by your course handicap. If your course handicap is 18 (meaning you get one stroke per hole), that means putting down bogeys (par plus one) for those five holes.

If your course handicap is 9 (meaning you get strokes only on the nine most difficult holes), you would write down par for any holes rated 10th or higher, and par plus one for any holes rated 9th or lower.

You'd need to check with your handicap committee, too, to find out the proper notation for unplayed holes on your scorecard (you'll probably be asked to put an "x" before the number; e.g., "x5").

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