Nine-hole golf tournaments could increase participation numbers

sandals with socksParticipation in golf should go up with shorter rounds – but so could golf injuries.

One of Golf’s governing bodies, The R&A, has recently endorsed nine-hole golf rounds in a bid to increase participation in the sport.

A nine-hole tournament will be played at Royal Troon just five days before it hosts The Open, which is on from 10-17 July, and celebrates its 145th year in 2016.

This is an attempt to reverse the decline in the number of people playing the sport: one big reason people do not play golf is the huge time commitment required. An eighteen-hole golf round can take four to five hours. Not many people have time for that.

In a survey, 60% said they would enjoy the game more if it took less time to play. A fifth of 25 to 44-year-olds said that playing time needs to be cut by an hour and a half.

A nine-hole round makes this achievable, so more people may take up golf.

However, with this increased participation will, inevitably, come an increased number of injuries. People who have been desperate to play golf but not had the time, instead spending the last few years sitting in the office in front of a PC, should beware before they pick up a club and start trying to hit a golf ball.

Golf requires good spinal mobility and core strength, which are two things that suffer greatly from a sedentary lifestyle ie sitting at a desk all day.

The majority of golf-related injuries that we see at Newcastle Sports Injury Clinic are due to a player not having the spinal range of movement to swing the club. If this is the case, a player’s body shifts that rotation stress to other parts of the body, leading to injuries such as low back pain, hip pain, shoulder pain and golfer’s elbow.

If you are thinking about going back to golf, or taking it up for the first time, speak to us first for advice on how to prevent golf injuries.

We will also be publishing a blog post soon with our top five golf stretches – watch this space!