Liberty Corner, New Jersey, United States: As part of its on-going efforts to grow the game within local golf communities, the United States Golf Association (USGA) has announced plans to celebrate the fifth year of its successful PLAY9 programme.
Since its debut in 2014, PLAY9 has focused on encouraging more people to play more golf, more often.
The programme aims to showcase the nine-hole round as an ideal solution for both avid golfers and newcomers alike to get out and play in a time-friendly and engaging way.
This year, in collaboration with its Allied Golf Association network, the USGA will host and invite local communities to participate in dedicated regional PLAY9 days each month.
“The PLAY9 programme offers a fun entry point into the game for newcomers while providing a way for golfers to balance their love of the game with their demanding schedules,” said Mike Davis, the USGA’s Chief Executive Officer.
“We have seen the impact to date and the awareness it has built around enjoying nine holes with friends and family. Together with our friends in golf, we’re finding new ways to welcome more golfers and support a positive future for the game.”
Since the programme’s inception, PLAY9 has continued to positively impact golf communities and engage golfers nationwide:
- Nearly 24 per cent of golfers* reported that they participated in a PLAY9 programme in 2017, a significant increase from 2015 (17 per cent)
- 54 per cent of single digit handicappers reported that they participated in a PLAY9 programme in 2017, up from 32 per cent in 2015
- 70 per cent of golfers agree with the statement: ‘Nine-hole rounds are a great way to try golf’
“As all of our lives get busier, I’ve become a huge fan of the USGA’s PLAY9 initiative,” said Mark Button of the Texas Golf Association (TGA), which hosts a fun staff/community PLAY9 event each year.
He added: “Everyone at the TGA feels the same. Getting out with some of our members to play nine holes on a summer afternoon is one of my favourite things to do. We had so much fun, and I look forward to doing it again soon.”
According to the National Golf Foundation, 88 per cent of all public golf courses in America currently offer a nine-hole rate, averaging less than US$30 per round. Nine-hole scores made up around eight per cent of all scores posted to the USGA GHIN system over the past four years (2014-2017), an increase from an average of six per cent from 2010-2013.
The usga.org/play9 portal serves as a dedicated destination for golfers, including opportunities to share stories and information on posting nine-hole scores.
The USGA will also continue to support the PLAY9 initiative and communicate its message with a public service announcement that has already reached more than 180 million viewers nationwide.
*Random survey of 2,000 golfers in Fall 2017 (USGA Programmatic Tracker, conducted by Sports & Leisure Group)