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 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.