There’s a big move underway to coax more golfers into regularly playing nine-hole rounds. While courses would certainly rather you go the full 18, in these days of dwindling participation and revenue, they’ll take what they can get.
In fact, there’s much to be said for the half-round. The most obvious advantages are cost and time – the two biggest factors keeping golfers (and would-be golfers) off the course. It’s possible to slip in nine holes after work, for instance, or on a weekend when you don’t have an entire day to devote to the game.
There are other, less obvious benefits to playing just nine holes. Such as:
- You’ll feel less pressure: For an avid golfer, playing 18 holes is serious business. Score is foremost on the mind, meaning pressure mounts when you’re playing well, and you can get deflated after a bad hole. A nine-hole round alleviates much of this stress. Sure, you can still post nine-hole scores for handicap purposes, so the rounds do “count.” They just don’t feel the same as a full 18.
- You can experiment with your game: When you’re less concerned about score, you’re more likely to try that lob shot you’ve been practicing, or to see if you can cut the corner of a troublesome dogleg. Practice all you like, but you simply can’t replicate on-course situations on the driving range or putting green.
- Better yet, you can hit multiple balls from the same spot if playing on an uncrowded evening or other off-peak time.
- It’s more conducive to walking: Let’s face it – walking 18 holes is a major chore for many of us. Walking nine holes is a much less daunting task that can provide solid health benefits, especially if you do it on a regular basis.
- The family might be willing to join you: Likewise, a four- or five-hour round is a big investment for kids and spouses. A couple of hours on the course is quite reasonable, however, and you may be able to convince the family to tag along.