Of all the ideas proposed to shorten the amount of time it takes to play a round of golf, one has the potential to make by far the biggest difference: reducing the number of holes played from 18 to nine. It doesn’t take a professor in mathematics to realise that without changing anything else, that one simple move would halve the amount of time required to play a ’round’.
The R&A clearly agree, and have just announced a nine-hole championship that will take place the week before The Open, on the same course. This year, that means July 9 at Royal Troon.
The event will be contested by 30 amateurs who have earned a place via Open qualifying events. The R&A plan to expand the event from next year.
“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,” said Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the R&A.
2007 and 2008 Open champion Padraig Harrington thinks the nine-hole championship is a great idea.
“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,” he says. “I’m sure this new competitive format will encourage more people to get out on the golf course and play nine-hole golf.”