9 Hole Challenge

Royal Troon opportunity as R&A 9 Hole Challenge continues to grow

The R&A
07 Mar 24
3 mins

Golfers from across the world have the incredible opportunity to tee up at Royal Troon on the eve of The 152nd Open by competing in The R&A 9 Hole Challenge.

With participation in nine-hole golf still on the rise, qualifying for the Challenge this year is open to golfers across a record number of countries as it continues to grow in popularity. First staged in 2016 at Royal Troon, golfers who hold a registered Handicap Index™ in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain and Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa can compete in qualifying and earn an opportunity to compete over the famous Ayrshire links. By playing in nine-hole qualifying events organised by national federations in their own country, players can aim to be among the finalists teeing it up at Royal Troon on Friday 12 July – just days before the world’s best men’s golfers compete for the Claret Jug.

Incredible opportunity

The challenge encourages people to enjoy a shorter format of the sport and last year saw over 100,000 golfers from across the globe participate. Kevin Barker, Director – Golf Development: GB&I and Africa at The R&A, said, “Every year we are seeing more people compete in The R&A 9 Hole Challenge with its popularity spreading all over the world. We are pleased to welcome golfers from Canada into the Challenge this year for the first time. “For people looking for an alternative option to 18-hole golf, it showcases that nine-hole golf can be played competitively by people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. “For all golfers taking part, there is the incredible opportunity to compete on golf’s biggest stage ahead of The Open and I would encourage players to enter a qualifying competition at your local club to give you the chance to play at Royal Troon.”
Olivia Byrne and John Murphy won the title at Royal Liverpool ahead of The 151st Open.

Irish success

Last year, the Irish pairing of Olivia Byrne and John Murphy secured a thrilling win at Royal Liverpool ahead of The 151stOpen, coming out on top among the 38 finalists. From the 19 team pairings, it was the Irish duo from Glenlo Abbey Golf Club – a nine-hole course in Galway, Ireland – who won the Stableford competition with a nett aggregate score of 36 points to take the 2023 title. Murphy said at the time, “It’s unbelievable to have won. We come from a small little club in the west of Ireland and this is beyond our wildest dreams. We thought the prize was getting to play Royal Liverpool, but to have won is incredible.” The R&A 9 Hole Challenge is central to the organisation’s wider drive to promote this form of golf as an ideal way to enjoy playing the sport in less time, either recreationally or competitively for handicap purposes, and experience the physical and mental health benefits golf provides. There has been an impressive growth of nine-hole golf in recent years, aided by the ease of the new World Handicap System™ (WHS™) to submit scores. Please visit randa.org/nine-hole-challenge for more information.