PLAY NINE GAIN­ING MO­MEN­TUM

Golf Australia - - AROUND THE TRAPS -

THE R&A re­cently pub­lished fig­ures sug­gest­ing there has been a sub­stan­tial spike in par­tic­i­pa­tion for shorter for­mats of the game; most no­tably, an in­crease in com­pet­i­tive nine-hole score­cards be­ing sub­mit­ted.

These find­ings were to be ex­pected, how­ever, with var­i­ous na­tional bod­ies – in­clud­ing Golf Aus­tralia – in­tro­duc­ing new and ex­cit­ing ways to play the game in or­der to at­tract time-con­scious peo­ple.

Last year, for in­stance, the in­au­gu­ral “Play 9” ini­tia­tive gave club golfers the chance to tackle the back nine holes of The Aus­tralian Golf Club dur­ing the Aus­tralian Open. It at­tracted 163 clubs and nearly 2,500 en­tries.

The Play 9 com­pe­ti­tion has al­ready opened for 2018 – and 24 lucky play­ers from around the coun­try will ex­pe­ri­ence nine holes at The Lakes Golf Club on Novem­ber 17 (day three of the Aussie Open). Win­ners will also re­ceive two nights’ ac­com­mo­da­tion in Syd­ney, an in­vi­ta­tion to the Cham­pion’s Cock­tail Func­tion and a gift pack.

Golf Aus­tralia is hop­ing to reach more than 350 clubs and 10,000 play­ers – and is cur­rently in the process of pro­vid­ing mar­ket­ing ma­te­ri­als to clubs and fa­cil­i­ties, in­clud­ing posters and videos.

“Es­sen­tially, I see nine-hole golf as a lever through which the sport can: One: Help re­duce mem­ber­ship at­tri­tion, es­pe­cially dur­ing fam­ily years, by chang­ing the preva­lent, ‘If I can’t play 18 holes reg­u­larly, I might as well give up,’ mind­set. Two: At­tract new peo­ple to golf who want to take up the game, but cur­rently see time as the ma­jor bar­rier,” said Golf Aus­tralia Mar­ket­ing Di­rec­tor, Danny Bow­erin.

En­try is sim­ple. All you have to do is find one of the many clubs par­tic­i­pat­ing in the com­pe­ti­tion and sub­mit a nine-hole score­card through Golf Link, re­mem­ber­ing you will need an of­fi­cial Golf Aus­tralia hand­i­cap to com­pete. For more de­tails and a list of par­tic­i­pat­ing clubs, visit www.golf.org.au/play9.

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