In its ongoing effort to draw new players to golf and promote different ways for experienced golfers to enjoy the sport, the United States Golf Association has named next Wednesday, July 23, "Play 9 Day," a celebration of nine-hole rounds and all the little things that make up the game.
More of a marketing campaign than an actual event, Play 9 Day by the USGA is designed to show present and future players that there is more to golf than a full 18-hole round on preferred courses. The campaign is sponsored by American Express. An ad starring Rickie Fowler debuted during last month's U.S. Open and emphasizes how golfers can play nine holes and still have time to go about their daily tasks.
“I don’t always have enough time to play a full round between practice and spending time with friends and family,” said Fowler in a USGA press release. “I’m happy to join the USGA and American Express on 'Play 9’ to encourage golfers to play a nine-hole round, especially if that’s what’s going to get them out onto the golf course to play more often.”
According to the USGA, a 2013 study conducted by Sports & Leisure Research Group found that 33 percent of core golfers (those who play eight to 24 rounds annually) and 38 percent of casual golfers (those who play seven rounds or fewer) would play more nine-hole rounds if the format were “more strongly encouraged.”
Here on Long Island, nine-hole rounds are easy to come by. Many nine-hole courses are run by municipalities and are good bargains for area residents. Courses like Timber Point GC and Middle Island Country Club are full-length facilities with rotating nines. Spring Lake Golf Club and Harbor Links feature 18-hole courses alongside nine-hole alternatives. Out east, Sandy Pond Golf Course and Cedars Golf Club have both been refurbished and rejuvenated under new owners.
The USGA is also encouraging activities like practicing at the range and on the putting green, as well as playing nine-hole best ball with a friend or challenging a playing partner to a nine-hole match. For more on Play 9 Day, and to see the Rickie Fowler ad, visit the USGA's Play 9 site.
And for more on Long Island's nines, check out GOLI's list of public courses, or see previous posts on Nassau's nine-hole courses and Suffolk's nine-hole options. You can also track the nearest tees and greens by using GOLI's course map.