Participation in 9-hole golf has more than doubled in one year

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 7, 2021 07:51

The number of rounds of nine holes of golf has grown at an even faster rate than that of 18-hole golf in the last 12 months, according to new figures.

BRS Golf by GolfNow has said the number of nine-hole tee times that were booked via its various platforms in 2020 in the UK and Ireland was 3.47 million – more than double the figure of 1.55 million in 2019. The figure was 1.4 million in 2018.

This 123 percent increase in rounds is due to both more demand for purpose-built nine-hole courses and 18-hole courses offering the option to play nine holes. Of the 3.47 million rounds played, 51 percent was by members of clubs and 49 percent by visitors. In 2019 the split was 60-40 in favour of visitors.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the data is that, while the top three months for booking nine-hole golf were May, June and July, December came above August in fourth place.

BRS Golf says its nine-hole bookings data accounts for two thirds of the entire UK market.

“What’s clear from these numbers is that the appetite for a shorter form of golf is growing and clubs not yet offering a nine-hole rate on their courses should consider changing their policy, making golf more accessible for players short on time or looking to squeeze in an evening round as daylight hours lengthen,” said a spokeswoman.

This comes as Sport Wales, The R&A, Wales Golf and Parc Golf Club, located between Cardiff and Newport, have invested in a state-of-the-art short game academy, that will be all-weather and floodlit.

The flagship facility will cater for all abilities from high performance training through to inclusive coaching, with work expected to be finished at the end of March.

It will include two driving nets, an all-weather synthetic surface green with several surrounding chipping pods, as well as a bunker with targets.

Playing surfaces, and surrounding areas will be fully accessible to all people, including those using a variety of mobility aids, including sticks and wheelchairs. The area will also have a shallow bunker entrance, rest areas and netting for safety and storage for adapted equipment.

To cater for the elite players in Wales there will be chipping pods of both fairway and rough grade, contouring of the greens, contouring of the bunker to allow for pot bunker practice, a wedge practice area for 40 to 100 yard shots and an indoor putting green for all weather training.

There is an equivalent planned for North Wales and the plans can be shared as a good practice model for the development of future golf practice facilities around Wales.

“This is the first project of its kind in Wales and we would like to thank all our partners for making this possible,” said Wales Golf director of performance Gillian O’Leary.

“It will be accessible to a whole range of golfers and should be something that is in place for many years to come, not only for high performance players but also as an inclusive facility for all abilities.

“We can’t change the weather in Wales, but we can change the facilities so people can practice in a top quality environment all the year round and not just during daylight hours.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 7, 2021 07:51
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  1. Doug March 11, 09:25

    A large proportion of this will be due to clubs wanting to allow more players on the course after the lockdowns. There is a pent up demand from members to just get out and hit a ball, even if only for a couple of hours.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Jerry March 11, 09:08

    Some of this increase in nine-hole rounds was due to the fact that a number of clubs restricted their members and visitors to only nine holes when they re-opened after Lockdown #1 and #2 last year. This enabled them to offer more tee times to golfers in the initial weeks after re-opening.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Peter March 9, 13:57

    Nice !! It truly is the “white space” of the industry !! More should be looking to develop, three, six and nine hole, shorter feeder courses !! They allow people to play more while paying what they can afford and using the time they have !! Still not sure, what they haven’t caught on more !! It’s what people want, especially families !! And…wouldn’t it be nice, to finally open up the game, to more young people, disable people and vets with injuries ? Of course !!

    Reply to this comment
  4. Chervo Sportswear March 9, 12:23

    This is something we are experiencing in Italy too. And it would be great to have a detailed study based in some other European Countries (Germany, France, Italy and Sweden for example) in order to better understand if this big change we are seeing in UK is truly something we have to take into consideration for the future, or not.

    #golf #golfbusiness #18holes #innovation #future #opportunity

    Reply to this comment
  5. Always Time for 9 March 9, 10:56

    Awesome. We “golf the fairways less traveled” featuring small town, family-owned 9-hole courses.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Branston Golf & Country Club March 8, 13:07

    If the Covid Pandemic has shown us anything it is that more people are looking to take up new or previous outdoor / sporting activities.

    9 holes of golf offers a quicker alternative and release from the daily stresses. Attracting a more modern golfer with limited time.

    Branston Golf & Country Club offers both full 18 hole and 9 hole memberships with great practice facilities and a recent modern clubhouse refurbishment.

    We have seen and are continuing to see an increased uptake of our Eagle membership!

    We can’t wait to see all our members and welcoming new members from the 29th March

    #golfers #community #golfclub #countryclubs #staffordshiregolf

    Reply to this comment
    • Doug March 11, 09:19

      Surely a large proportion of this is due to clubs wanting to get more players on the course during the
      current situation

      Reply to this comment
  7. GCMA March 8, 10:33

    I see a huge market for 9 hole golf as we look towards retention of the 2020 golf ‘boom’.
    The rise in home working will provide much more opportunity for flexible working and late afternoon / early evening golf during the week, particularly for those with young families who can’t commit the time for an 18 hole round at weekends.
    Clubs really need to think about this and integrate it into their strategies.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Soil Scout March 7, 20:43

    As time gets more pressious and land more expensive 9 hole golf will have a big part to play in golf participation going forward with some fantastic layouts up and down the country. #golf

    Reply to this comment
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