Is 9-hole golf the future of the sport? Hard to say for sure without our crystal golf ball, but recent research from BRS GOLF by GOLFNOW shows there is a definite upward trend in the number of golfers opting to play nine. Last year over 1.4 million 9-hole rounds were booked across the UK & Ireland using BRS GOLF technology, up from 1.2 million in 2017 and 976k in 2016.

This increase in rounds is not just thanks to purpose-built 9-hole courses, but 18-hole courses offering the option to play nine holes as well. Currently 326 BRS GOLF customers offer a 9-hole course and a further 144 clubs offer a 9-hole rate on an 18-hole course.

There are a number of reasons why 9-hole golf is on the rise, chief among them being that shorter rounds fit more easily into a golfer’s busy schedule. In fact, a survey by The R&A found that 60 per cent of golfers would enjoy the sport more if it took less time to play – a finding which saw golf’s governing body go on to launch its first 9-hole Championship preceding The Open at Royal Troon in 2016. This continued into 2017 at Royal Birkdale and 2018 at Carnoustie and this year will culminate in a 9-hole final played over the first two and last seven holes at Royal Portrush on the morning of Saturday 13 July.

And the popularity of 9-hole competitions isn’t just confined to The R&A’s 9-hole Challenge. Currently 530 BRS GOLF customers offer 9-hole competitions at their course, with 49k such contests held at golf clubs using our technology across the UK & Ireland last year.

But for those of you thinking visitors are behind this upswing in 9-hole rounds, the numbers tell a different story.

Not only have the number of members booking 9-hole rounds increased year-on-year (from 126k in 2016 to more than 153k in 2018), but members are also taking part in more and more 9-hole competitions. Participation in these short form contests has risen from 6,170 members in 2016 to 8,025 last year.

Visitors do still make up the majority of 9-hole bookings, however, with in excess of 321,000 visitors booking 9-hole rounds in 2018. Up from 300k the year before and 241k in 2016.

What’s clear from these numbers is that the appetite for a shorter form of golf is growing and clubs not yet offering a 9-hole rate on their courses should embrace this demand. For help setting up a 9-hole rate at your course using your BRS GOLF system, contact our Account Management Team on accountmanagement@golfnow.co.uk or call 00800 7808 8888.

BRS GOLF technology enables almost 2,000 clubs across the UK & Ireland to manage all kinds of online bookings with ease, cut down on admin time and analyse course usage and demand.