Score Differential

Score Differential is the numerical value attributed to a score (Adjusted Gross Score) achieved during a round of golf. In fact it indicates the value of Handicap Index that has been ‘played to’ for the round on a specific course on a specific day.

The Score Differential value is calculated with a simple formula. The result is expressed as number rounded to one decimal place. Finally the consecutive Score Differentials are chronologically registered in the scoring record of a player. They are the basis for the calculation of the player’s Handicap Index.

score differential in WHS for handicap purposes

CR and SR in the formula above are the acronims of Course Rating and Slope Rating. There are two numerical values determined for each set of tees during the course rating procedure. See more details on the Course Rating subpage.


In general, the adjustment of a Handicap Index relies on 18-hole Score Differentials. Therefore 9-hole scores have to be converted into their 18-hole equivalents. Rules of Handicapping describes two methods of such conversion:

  • a 9-hole score is scaled up to an equivalent 18-hole Score Differential (an option for Great Britain, Ireland and South Africa), or
  • a 9-hole score is combined with another 9-hole round Score Differential to create an 18-hole value (an option for US, Australia and Argentina);
  • EGA (continental Europe) countries use both options.

The calculator below calculates:

  • 18-hole Score Differential for 18-hole round, or
  • 9-hole Score Differential (for combining with another 9-hole score) and
    its 18-hole equivalent (for immediate use) for 9-hole round.


The Score Differential is registered in the scoring record of this player as the score of the round for handicap purposes (Handicap Index calculation).


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update: April 2021