International ‘early evening’ nine-hole competition gains R&A support

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams June 12, 2018 09:56

As new statistics continue to prove the growing popularity of nine-hole golf, The R&A has thrown its support behind a German competition which is about to be branched out across the world.

The Mercedes-Benz After-Work Golf Cup (MBAWGC) is a nine-hole event which, as the name suggests, take place in the early evening on week days throughout the summer.

In a few years the series has grown to over 3,000 tournaments on more than 300 golf courses, predominantly in Germany, with some 75,000 participants. The next step is internationalisation with the initial phase, launched at Frankfurter GC, taking tournaments to Sweden, Argentina and South Africa.

Some might be surprised by the governing body’s enthusiasm for the shorter form, but The R&A’s Mike Tate explained: “It was only in 1923 that the UK had more 18 hole courses than nine hole layouts and the notion of playing nine holes has always been one golfers are familiar with.

“What’s more, the numbers are compelling. England Golf reported a 50 per cent increase in nine-hole competitive scores returned between 2014 and 2017. In Ireland between 2016 and 2017 the increase was 200 per cent. In Portugal between 2007 and 2017 it was 269 per cent.

Nicola Brackston, Mercedes-Benz Sport Sponsoring International Golf, and Michael Tate, Executive Director Business Affairs The R&A, presented the plans regarding the nine-hole series as part of MBAWGC Media Day at Frankfurter GC

“We need new concepts that attract golfers to play. Nine holes does that and the MBAWGC has a proven track record so we are delighted to support the competition.”

Nicolas Brackston of Mercedes-Benz added: “We’ve seen the evidence. More golfers are playing in the week and it is the golfers who traditionally struggle to find the time, those who are working, those who are aged 20 to 50.

“With this increase in numbers there is increased footfall through the pro shop, bar and restaurant. The three new countries are just the start. We’ve very excited about the future.”

In a statement released at the launch, Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A said: “The Mercedes-Benz After Work Golf Cup is a pioneering new competition which enables golfers around the world to play the sport in an exciting and convenient way.

“Nine-hole golf is continuing to grow in popularity among golfers worldwide so we are very pleased to support Mercedes-Benz in offering golfers more opportunities to enjoy this shorter format of the game, both socially and competitively.”

The competition will have global rankings which will increase competitiveness and it is open-to-all, not just a range of handicaps, but men and women too. The United Kingdom is not part of the first stage of extension, but is a potential inclusion in the future.

“Mercedes-Benz is proud to be title sponsor of the international Mercedes-Benz After Work Golf Cup series,” said Jens Thiemer, vice president Marketing Mercedes-Benz Cars.

“That nine-hole tournaments are not just a short-term trend but a real alternative to classic 18-hole tournaments especially for our target group has been proven over the last five years in the pioneer market Germany.

“We are excited to roll-out this modern, digital golf platform internationally, as we are convinced it meets current needs and will shape the game in the future – both marketing-wise and golf-wise.”

 

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams June 12, 2018 09:56
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5 Comments

  1. steven June 11, 08:05

    Very positive move and fits with the psychological profile of a lot of golfers who need a reason to maintain their link with the game

    Reply to this comment
  2. Scott June 11, 11:04

    It’s a great concept. I used to produce their co branded apparel and give always for Mizuno.

    Reply to this comment
  3. john June 11, 11:36

    Nice move right on track and inline with our visions too

    Reply to this comment
  4. djm June 14, 13:13

    Those compelling numbers from England Golf have more to do with the people wishing to retain “competitive” handicaps & being graciously permitted to do so by the R&A by entering scores for 9 holes.

    Reply to this comment
    • djm June 14, 17:31

      The “Marketing Committee” at the R&A might do well to be a little more choosy just who they cosy up to – MB having joined the grubby ID parade for vehicle emissions cheats

      Reply to this comment
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