News in this week’s edition of The Golf Paper suggests that golf’s governing body, the Royal & Ancient (R&A), is moving to “revitalise the image of golf” by launching a new 9-hole team tournament, as well as staging a high-profile joint event between men’s and women’s European Tours. This is welcome, and long overdue news.
Golf has faced an increasing image challenge while its primary means of participation is a 4+ hour round of 18 holes – generally resulting in half a day / day out of precious weekend time. For many this is no trouble (and desirable for some)! But for those balancing increasingly busy family lives – men and women alike – this has led to challenging participation numbers.
Tennis has long been able to engage men and women alike in mixed competitions. Football and rugby are working hard to extend participation among women and girls. So what a relief it is for the R&A to be thinking about promoting not only mixed events, but also 9-hole events. At Golf Like a Girl, we actively target clubs that provide a 9-hole option. We find that clubs that offer 9 holes are, frequently, open to other creative ideas about encouraging newcomers into golf – good news for golf clubs and participants alike.
There’s nothing wrong with the all-day, all-weekend or even all-week golfing holiday for devotees! But for those of us also keen to get out more regularly for a quick round, we’re delighted that the R&A looks like promoting both mixed and 9-hole golf in a more active manner.