Amateur Club Golfers from Great Britain and Ireland will have the chance to tee up at Royal Birkdale shortly before the 146th Open is held there this July.
The final of the inaugural R&A Nine Hole Championship will be held on Saturday July 15, where a group of 42 men and women will play the challenging back nine on the famous Southport links.
Royal Birkdale will play host to the Open for the 10th time this year, and as Henrik Stenson comes back to defend the title he won at Royal Troon, amateurs around the country will be vying for their own spot in a July championship.
The finalists will earn their place in the event through a qualifying process organised by the national governing bodies in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, before teeing up the day before the professionals grace the course for the official practice from the 16-23rd July.
Duncan Weir, the Executive Director of Golf Development at The R&A said, “We want to promote nine hole golf as a perfectly valid means of enjoying the game whether socially or competitively and the 2017 event builds on the successful pilot run at Royal Troon last summer.
“We know the time 18 holes can take and that this can deter golfers from playing regularly so we continue to encourage clubs to offer nine hole event opportunities. It is important, we believe, to remind golfers that nine hole play is increasing in popularity and therefore being enjoyed by more players.”
The nine hole event, which follows a successful pilot last year, is central to The R&A’s efforts to promote this form of golf as an ideal way to play the sport in less time, either recreationally or competitively for handicap purposes.
The qualifying events are open to men, women, boys and girls who are club members with a CONGU handicap.