Large jump in number of nine-hole golfers

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams May 30, 2018 20:43

All four home golf unions have reported significant rises in the number of people who have been playing nine-holes of golf in the last couple of years.

Golf has traditionally been seen as having 18-hole format, although feedback from many people who have quit golf club memberships in recent years has suggested that the time it takes to play a round is seen as too long.

England Golf has reported a 50 per cent increase in nine-hole competitive scores returned between 2014 and 2017 (70,127 to 105,254). Between 2016 and 2017, competitive nine hole club rounds by males increased by 17 per cent (50,667 to 59,336) and 6% by females (43,314 to 45,918).

In Ireland, from 2016 to 2017, competitive nine-hole club rounds by women and girls increased by 64 per cent (18,753 to 30,803) and by over 200% by men and boys (2,370 to 7,250).

Wales Golf has reported a 28 per cent increase in nine-hole competitive scores returned between 2016 and 2017 (12,201 to 15,671).

Scottish Golf has reported a 30 per cent increase in nine-hole competitive scores returned between 2016 and 2017 (30,021 to 39,107).

A number of the world’s leading golfers are demonstrating their support for shorter forms of golf, including Ryu So-yeon, Jon Rahm, Charley Hull, Mel Reid, Eddie Pepperell and Richie Ramsay, who feature in a new series of videos produced by The R&A about their memories of playing nine-hole golf and their enjoyment of the shortened format.

“Nine-hole golf is a shorter form of the game that people of all ages and abilities can enjoy together and can be played after work, after school and at the weekend,” said Ramsay, a three-time European Tour winner.

“It’s encouraging that golf clubs are now offering their members opportunities to play alternative, shorter formats of the game in order to meet the demands of busy, modern lifestyles. I think this is important for safeguarding the future of the sport, while providing a fun and enjoyable means to exercise and socialise with family and friends.”

Duncan Weir, Executive Director – Golf Development at The R&A, said, “The figures reported by the national associations in Great Britain and Ireland, and those in other countries, demonstrate that nine-hole golf is rising in popularity. We are encouraged to see that shorter forms of the sport are being embraced by clubs and golfers as a perfectly valid means to play golf in less time, either recreationally or competitively.”

This year’s R&A 9 Hole Championship Final will be played on Saturday 14 July ahead of The 147thOpen at Carnoustie and thousands of golfers are competing to try and qualify through events being held by clubs throughout Great Britain and Ireland.

In Scotland, the first ever national nine-hole final at Milnathort in June will now be played over two days after over 170 clubs registered for the chance to go forward to play at the famous Angus links. Over 300 courses in Scotland now also have a designated nine-hole Standard Scratch Score (SSS) to stage nine-hole medals.


Emma Williams
By Emma Williams May 30, 2018 20:43
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  1. Go&Golf June 7, 21:40

    Interesting to see the growth in the figures for 9 hole golf. I have been pushing for our club to do this for a while on a week night so members who work (and can’t get away easier) can get a competitive game outside of the weekend. Especially now you can have them as handicap qualifying etc. there’s no reason why there shouldn’t be more of this.

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  2. Pete June 1, 11:49

    If time is of the essence, try the new Hybrid golf ball, allowing the golfer to play 18 holes in half the time. Offers same challenging big course golf game on shorter golf facilities.

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  3. Tim May 31, 11:57

    9 hole comps have been around for ages with clubs doing them often what would be interesting is the timings! What time of day ie 5pm 9 hole fish and chip supper events or Friday 9 hole ladies medal during the day that take 4 hours and both competitors shoot 80

    Definately a place for tea time short game golf followed by food to engage members

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  4. angus May 29, 11:04

    Interested in this latest data as, besides enjoying the format myself (as not being as young as I used to be!), it supports the development of a current golf destination project currently involved in for golf coaching, improvement & playing.

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