The finest nine: Top 9-hole courses in UK & Ireland
Golfers in Britain and Ireland aren’t put off the course by the prospect of a little adverse winter weather – otherwise we might never get to play! But the full 18 can seem step too far as temperatures plummet and days shorten leaving fewer tee times. In winter the 9-hole track is definitely your friend and it’s the preferred option year-round for many. Research shows the popularity of 9-hole golf is skyrocketing as our lives get busier, with work and family commitments taking precedence over leisure time. To help work a bit more golf into your busy schedules, Teeofftimes by GolfNow has rounded up the Top Nine Places to Play Nine in the UK & Ireland.
The Wee Demon @ Cameron House, Loch LomondSituated on the grounds of Cameron House, the Wee Demon 9-hole course weaves between 5-star luxury lodges and offers a lovely alternative to The Championship Carrick course. Check in at the Marina reception, then make your way to the first tee where you will find not only a challenging 9-hole golf course but stunning views of Loch Lomond. After your Wee Demon round, relax in the resort’s award-winning restaurant and bar, The Boat House, on the banks of the Loch. Could there be a better way to end your golfing day?
Anstruther Golf Club, Anstruther, ScotlandWho ever said playing nine holes was the easy option? The course at Anstruther offers plenty of challenges, including the 5th (The Rockies) previously voted the toughest par-3 in the UK by Today’s Golfer. Beware the club’s version of Amen Corner which comprises a series of three challenging par-3s, starting with the card-wrecking Rockies and ending with The Valley at the 7th and a very awkward hilltop green. Just nine miles south of St Andrew’s, this beautiful but tough 9-hole course stretches along the shoreline between Anstruther and Pittenweem.
The Famous 9 at Gwel an Mor, Portreath, CornwallOpened just last year by Bernard Gallacher OBE, The Famous 9 at Gwel an Mor has been shooting for premier golfing status from the get-go. And we don’t just mean the name. This is a pristine golfing destination boasting spectacular elevated coastal views, spanning the North Cornish countryside surrounding the Gwel an Mor Resort. The design of each of the nine holes has been inspired by some of the world’s most aspirational golf courses – from St Andrews to Augusta; Royal Troon to Sawgrass; Pebble Beach to Carnoustie.
Burslem Golf Club, Stoke on TrentA lovely spot just north of Stoke on Trent, Burslem Golf Course offers nine challenging holes and there are alternative tees for those who fancy playing 18. With tight, undulating fairways and quality greens, this 9-hole course is a good test for low-handicappers without being too intimidating for beginners (there are just five strategically-placed bunkers). Burselm is a great choice if you have a mix of expertise levels within your group.
Datchet Golf Club, Slough, BerkshireOn the banks of the River Thames, with views of Windsor Castle, Datchet Golf Club is home to a 15 tee, 9-hole course with plenty of challenge. Whatever you do. don’t underestimate this little gem. The small but perfectly manicured greens are protected by bunkers and the tight, tree-lined fairways ensure a competitive challenge for any standard of golfer. It’s a small course which packs a big punch with five par-4s over 400 yards and three par-5s. Accuracy is the key to achieving a good score.
The Green Course @ Wexham Park Golf Centre, Slough, BuckinghamshireThis Berkshire-based golf centre is the perfect place to polish all aspects of your game. It is home to some of the most extensive practice facilities in the area including a 36-bay driving range that has 20 covered bays for the winter weather. In addition to this there is a short-game area, as well as a large putting green situated in front of the clubhouse. Out on the course, the wider fairways and large undulating greens are ideal for people just getting into the game. At 2,219 yards with a mixture of par-5s, 4s and 3s the course is long enough to force the golfer to use a full range of shots, but short enough to provide a gentle introduction to golf.
The Nine of Herts, Rickmansworth, HertfordshireNo matter their skill level, everyone will enjoy this quirky 9-hole layout (and it’s pun-tastic name!). The course comprises a mix of par-3s and 4s and is the ideal setting to introduce youngsters to the game, measuring just 1,882 yards. The facilities available at The Nine of Herts Golf Centre are of the highest standard including the 9-hole course, footgolf and 11- bay public driving range. This is an affordable and fantastic family-friendly venue!
Bushfoot Golf Club, Portballintrae, Co. AntrimThough it shares the rugged beauty of Northern Ireland’s Antrim Coast with one of the world’s most famous links courses (Royal Portrush), Bushfoot certainly holds its own. This 9-hole track has everything you’d hope to find on a classic links course – outstanding beauty and coastal views, year-round play and a tough test of golf demanding accuracy from those who take it on. Bushfoot recently celebrated its 125th anniversary and members will tell you that golf was played on this spot long before then.
Cruit Island Golf Club, Kincasslagh, Co. DonegalAt the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, and on Ireland’s most northern tip, golfers arriving on the tee at Cruit Island may have the feeling of standing on the edge of the world. If the unique panoramic views don’t take your breath away, the wind might! This natural 9-hole, par-68 links course should not be underestimated. Each shot must be thoroughly thought out and taken with care. Cruit Island was one of the first clubs in Ireland to offer full membership to ladies and was the first Irish club to appoint a lady as President when Eileen Oglesby accepted the position in 1994.