Major 9 hole event to start this year at Royal Troon

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 21, 2016 13:26

A nine-hole golf event designed to boost participation in golf will take place at Royal Troon just five days before the Open tees off this year.

Research from The R&A shows there is strong demand to play golf, but many do not want to play 18-hole rounds as it takes too long.

www.tourprogolfclubs.com

Padraig Harrington. Image from www.tourprogolfclubs.com

Golf’s governing body is therefore running the nine-hole event to show that there are shorter versions of the game.

The event is set to become an annual competition – just like the ‘Par 3 Contest’, which has taken place at Augusta on the eve of the Masters every year since 1960. Winners of that tournament have included Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead and Tom Watson, and in more recent years Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington and Louis Oosthuizen.

“The R&A is demonstrating its support for nine-hole golf as an ideal way to play golf in less time whilst still doing so competitively and for handicap purposes by introducing this new championship,” said a spokesman.

The inaugural event for amateurs will be played on Saturday, July 9, at Royal Troon.

In 2017, the event will be expanded to cover golf clubs in Great Britain and Ireland with players being given the opportunity to qualify at nine hole events held by The R&A’s affiliated national associations in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

“People who want to play golf are increasingly struggling to find the time to play and so positioning nine-hole golf as a legitimate alternative makes a lot of sense,” said Padraig Harrington. “I’m really pleased to see The R&A taking the lead in this area.

RBC Heritage Practice Round April 11, 2012 in Hilton Head, SC

Flickr / Keith Allison

“For regular amateur golfers to be able to play The Open venue in championship condition immediately before the best players in the world is a fantastic initiative and I’m sure this new competitive format will encourage more people to get out on the golf course and play nine-hole golf.”

A recent R&A’s survey on pace of play highlighted the challenges many people face in finding time to play 18 holes, with 60 percent of responders expressing the view that they would enjoy golf more if it took less time.

The survey also revealed that among 25 to 44 year-olds who are unhappy with the pace of play, 21 percent would like to see the playing time reduced by as much as one-and-a-half hours, while 19 percent said they would welcome the opportunity to play nine holes more often as an alternative format. An 18-hole round can take longer than four hours to play, while nine-holes is typically less than half that length.

Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A, said: “One of the messages that came through clearly from the survey is that people would play more golf if they could do so in significantly less time. Nine-hole golf is not new but we feel it is often overlooked as a perfectly valid way to play the sport either with your family and friends or competitively.

“We are delighted to introduce a nine-hole championship and will be promoting this format as a way of playing golf in less time which can have wider appeal among people who lead increasingly busy lives today. We hope to see more events being played throughout Great Britain and Ireland to cater for this important audience.”

For this year’s event two players will qualify from events held at each of the 13 regional qualifying venues for the Open throughout Great Britain and Ireland with host venues Royal Troon Golf Club and The Ladies’ Golf Club, Troon each providing two players. The handicap event will be open to men, women, boys and girls who are members of the clubs taking part.

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 21, 2016 13:26
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1 Comment

  1. Faldo girl August 22, 19:11

    A brilliant event – really enjoyed it!

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