One of the UK’s best examples of a nine hole golf course, Reigate Heath GC is now amongst the first to get its nine hole format of challenging heathland golf approved for handicap purposes and for qualifying competitions under the new CONGU guidelines, writes Charles de Haan.
The club’s manager Scott Patience, who is also a PGA Professional, said, “After 120 years since our nine hole club was established, it seems the world of golf is finally learning to appreciate our kind of golf offering, and the degree to which it offers an attractive solution to some of golf’s issues.
He comments, “While we have half the holes, all of them are within 10 minutes’ walk from the clubhouse. We also have 18 tees, most of which are angled to present a very different challenge second time round. Excellent catering has also shaped our reputation as a lifestyle and leisure time choice, not just a golfing one.”
“Nowadays 18 holes means taking half a day out of your schedule and for modern lifestyles that’s often too much, especially if you’re a parent whose leisure time is so valuable. But nine holes is a very different matter, and it’s also a much more inviting and practical prospect for fast golf, family golf and especially for beginners and older golfers.”
Patience continues, “A lot of our members enjoy playing just nine holes when they’ve got a couple of hours to spare, with some playing early in the morning before work and a lot more enjoying nine holes after work. We’ve set up the tee times so that two balls have priority for the first hour and a half, and we have nine hole events and competitions which are proving very popular, such as our Adult & Junior and various mixed, Men’s and Ladies’ competitions.”
“We’re certainly looking at events in the near future like nine hole Open and guest days, and hopefully a local school’s tournament, to show the local golfers and the younger generation that nine holes is as much fun as 18.”
A good example of Reigate Heath GC’s pioneering the nine hole concept is their Pro-Am. The club ran its first in conjunction with The PGA in England (South) last year, and the feedback from PGA Professionals and amateurs alike was very positive, with many enjoying the fact that they could work in the morning and play in the afternoon, or vice versa.
Patience is looking forward to this year’s Pro-Am and to the growing popularity of the nine hole format, as he commented, “For those who’d like to see just how good nine holes can be, I can guarantee that Reigate Heath will make them think again about nine hole courses, and see them as an attractive and lifestyle-friendlier way to play golf.”
Reigate Heath GC www.reigateheathgc.com