The initiative looks to attract the average person to try a round of golf in a less time consuming manner.
July 29th marked the Second annual Play9 day sponsored by the United States Golf Association in partnership with American Express. Golf clubs around the country, such as the Skyway golf course in Jersey City where I went, hosted the event to encourage new, casual, and regular golfers alike to adopt the shorter, more time conscious 9-hole round. One of the biggest complaints golfers have about the sport is the time it takes to play a round. Understandably so, considering that the average 18-hole round of golf can take anywhere from four to six hours. Considering most golf courses are a decent drive of an hour or so from most cities like New York, a round of golf will pretty much kill an entire day for most.
With all this in mind, you can see why USGA executive director Mike Davis is pushing to make 9-hole golf a more common activity with this event. He said studies show most people who are new to golf are intimidated by length of the course, and with 9-hole golf, that intimidation is no longer there. He even hinted at a possible 9-hole pro golf open. Almost a third of all golf courses in the country are 9-hole courses and most that are 18-hole courses offer 9-hole rates. Still, most golfers choose the 18-holes, feeling that 9-holes is not a legitimate round of golf. After speaking with some more avid golfers and attendees, they too seemed to lean more towards 18-hole golf, considering the long drive it takes to get to most courses.
With a nice course like Skyway, which is only about a 20-minute drive from Manhattan, everyone in attendance welcomed the idea of possibly skipping away on their lunch break to play a quick game of golf and be back in time to work. Once a landfill, Skyway has been reclaimed and converted into a lush landscape with a lake and a very natural feel to it. Overall, the event was a great success and looks to encourage a new wave of golfers to go out with their families and try out a quick game of golf.