The 'Front Nine' of a Golf Course

What is the "front nine" in golf? It's a very common term in the game and it means the first nine holes of an 18-hole golf course.

The "front nine" of any 18-hole golf course is comprised of the first hole though the ninth hole — holes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. The front nine ends after the ninth hole.

The front nine can also be called the "outward nine," as well as the "first nine" or the "front side" of the golf course. The front nine is followed by the "back nine," which (you guessed it) refers to the second nine holes of an 18-hole golf course (holes 10-18).

The front nine and back nine are the two halves of an 18-hole golf course and an 18-hole round of golf. And golfers think of them as halves. The scorecard splits the holes up that way, too: We write down our scores for the front nine holes, then there is a space to tally up those scores — to write down our total score for the first nine holes.

The "front nine" of any course can only exist if there are 18 holes total. A course that only has nine holes, for example, is not referred to as a front nine. The term "front nine" implies the existence of a "back nine," because the two nines together make up a single, 18-hole course.

Golfers often use the term in explaining a golf score. For example, "I shot 77. I was 1-under on the front nine but shot 42 on the back." Or, "I struggled over the front nine but then put my game together after the turn."

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