The R&A - Working for Golf

9 Hole Challenge

The 2022 R&A 9 Hole Challenge Final will take place at The Old Course, St Andrews on Friday 8 July.

A recent R&A survey revealed that 60% of golfers would enjoy golf more if it took less time.

This led The R&A to run a 9 hole pilot event at Royal Troon in 2016 and has resulted in our annual 9 Hole Challenge.

The 2021 event culminated in a 9 hole final played over holes 1, 2, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17 & 18 at Royal St George's.  

9 Hole Challenge Overview

2021 Champions

Matthew Barnes & Chris Houghton 

2016 Amateur Championship  Scott Gregory

Matthew Barnes and Chris Houghton of Whittlebury Park Golf Club in South Northamptonshire were elated to have won the Stableford competition with a nett aggregate score of 38 points to be crowned 2021 champions.  

2022 Final Venue

Royal St Georges 2

2022 Final Venue



Old Course - St Andrews

The 9 Hole Challenge Final will be staged at The Old Course-St Andrews on Friday 8 July 2022.

Host Course:

Old Course - St Andrews



2022 Final Venue





Qualifying is open to amateur golfers who are members of a golf club within GB&I, Australia or New Zealand and hold a recognised handicap.

Qualifying competitions will be run by golf clubs in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Australia and New Zealand and conducted over 9 holes by Stableford.

For further details on qualifying competitions, please go to your national website;






New Zealand


The 2021 Final will involve 42 amateur golfers and will be played on the morning of Saturday 10 July. Click here for further details.



2022 Final Venue



Ready Golf will be encouraged during play of the 2020 Final and during all qualifying events.

Ready Golf features in The R&A’s Pace of Play manual as a recommended solution for tackling slow play and it enables golfers to play when they are ready to do so rather than strictly adhere to ‘the farthest from the hole plays first’ requirement.

The practice can be used in stroke play and includes a number of actions that can help to improve the flow of golfers around the course.

Examples of Ready Golf in action are:

  • Hitting a shot when safe to do so if a player farther away faces a challenging shot and is taking time to assess their options
  • Shorter hitters playing first from the tee or fairway if longer hitters have to wait
  • Hitting a tee shot if the person with the honour is delayed in being ready to play
  • Hitting a shot before helping someone to look for a lost ball
  • Putting out even if it means standing close to someone else’s line
  • Hitting a shot if a person who has just played from a greenside bunker is still farthest from the hole but is delayed due to raking the bunker
  • When a player’s ball has gone over the back of a green, any player closer to the hole should play while the other player is having to walk to their ball and assess their shot
Download our Ready Golf Infographic.

Why 9 holes?

Golf played over 9 holes;

  • takes less time
  • can be social and/or competitive
  • can count for handicapping purposes
  • is still real golf
  • is fast, fun and flexible

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