New Findings Show Popularity of Nine Hole Golf

By: Golfshake Editor | Wed 16 May 2018 | Comments

There has been considerable work and attention placed upon growing the prevalence of nine-hole competitions and events a golf clubs – to alleviate the time pressures associated with the game – and the R&A has reported a significant increase in popularity for these shorter formats.

R&A Report

  • England Golf has reported a 50% 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% (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% (18,753 to 30,803) and by over 200% by men and boys (2,370 to 7,250). 
  • Wales Golf has reported a 28% increase in nine-hole competitive scores returned between 2016 and 2017 (12,201 to 15,671).
  • Scottish Golf has reported a 30% increase in nine-hole competitive scores returned between 2016 and 2017 (30,021 to 39,107).

Other nations also noted growth. Portugal reported a 269% increase in the number of nine-hole qualifying scores recorded from 2007 – 2017 (1,688 to 6,225), while in Spain the number of nine-hole rounds played from 2014 – 2017 has increased by 36% (35,777 to 48,806).

When it comes to the visibility of these formats, the European Tour has recently showcased GolfSixes and the Belgian Knockout – which features nine-hole strokeplay matches. This year’s R&A 9 Hole Championship Final will be played on Saturday 14 July ahead of Open at Carnoustie, while over 300 courses in Scotland now also have a designated nine-hole Standard Scratch Score (SSS) to stage nine-hole medals.

Time for Golf to Promote More 9-Hole Competitions?

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.”

However, while respondents noted that time constraints were an issue when it came to them signing up for a golf membership, the 4,500 golfers that answered last year’s Golfshake Survey were ambivalent towards the idea of embracing these shorter formats.

But it’s clear that more clubs and authorities view nine-hole golf as an alternative for their members and visitors, and it’s a trend that appears to be developing for the future, potentially making the game more accessible and easier for those with time pressures to enjoy.

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