The R&A is supporting nine hole golf with the introduction of a new championship at Royal Troon this summer.
The event will take place on 9 July and will give amateurs the chance to play nine holes at the historic course in Ayrshire, Scotland.
The event will be expanded next year, allowing amateur players to qualify for a round at Troon via various nine-hole events. These will be held by The R&A’s affiliated national associations in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The R&A recently released a survey on the pace of play, and the Time for Golf conference at St Andrews in November 2015 focused on the problem of finding time for 18 holes.
“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, who is currently a Working for Golf Ambassador for the R&A. “I’m really pleased to see The R&A taking the lead in this area. 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.”
The aforementioned survey found that 21 per cent of golfers aged 25-44 years would like to see playing time reduced by as much as an hour and a half. 19 per cent indicated they’d welcome the chance to play nine holes more often.
“One of the messages that came through clearly from the survey and the Time for Golf conference is that people would play more golf if they could do so in significantly less time,” said Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A. “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.”
The new event will see 30 golfers play a nine-hole championship at Troon, comprised of qualifiers from events held at the 13 regional qualifying
Slumbers added: “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.”