Cruit Island- hole 6 by droneCruit Island- hole 6 by drone


Golf is generally played on 18 hole courses. 

It has just evolved that way- when St Andrews moved from 22 to 18 holes it became the template for golf the world over to follow.

And yet in this increasingly time poor generation playing golf on less than 18 holes makes sense.

For me any opportunity to play a quick nine after work is golden- it doesn't compromise the day's activities, but leaves you fully satisfied...


While 18 holes is the standard there are plenty of nine hole or even 12 hole courses around the world that are so good that they become instant favourites.

Sometimes they are a second course at a club that has a 'championship' course and additional land.

Often these 2nd courses are not subject to the same restrictions as to par, length or structure and are just pure fun to play.

Still others are nine hole stand alone courses where the land dictated only 9 decent holes- sometimes these are the purest of golfing experiences...

This article is dedicated to those courses:


1. Cruit Island, Ireland


Cruit Island- hole 5 by droneCruit Island- hole 5 by drone


Cruit Island is a crazy, remote 9 holer in north west Ireland, and a remarkable golfing experience.

We rate it a Travelling Golfer 'must play!'

Wherever possible we include the Cruit Island experience in our Irish tours



- see Course Reports: Cruit Island for more detailed information on the course

- see Destinations: Ireland for information on tours which include Cruit Island


2. Vik GC, Iceland


Vik GC-hole 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Vik GC-hole 4


Located in the seaside town of Vik in Iceland, the nine hole golf course of the same name is routed hard against the base of towering basalt cliffs only 500 metres or so from the ocean.

The club was established in 1992 and the course designed by Hannes Thorsteinsson, one of Iceland's professional golf course designers.

Vik is a relatively simple course, with no airs and graces- but it can be challenging all the same.

It is all pretty low key- there is even an honesty box for green fees when times are quiet, and it is possible to hire clubs..

 With the wind howling some holes play long, and others are tight- play the 9 holes again and you will benefit from knowing the lines of play.


The course is great fun and not to be missed for any golfer who travels to the area for the sightseeing- but whatever you do, don't miss Skogafoss Waterfall, the power of the sea at Dyrholaey, the puffin birds, Solheimajokull Glacier, and the black beach..



See Course reports: Vik GC, for more information on the golf course

See Destinations- Iceland for more information on golf tours that include Vik GC. 



3. King Island Golf & Bowling Club, Tasmania, Australia


King Island Golf & Bowling ClubKing Island Golf & Bowling Club- hole 4


King Island is now officially on the golfing map with recent developments at Cape Wickham and Ocean Dunes universally recognised as world class courses.
However the 'hidden gem' on King Island is the nine hole King Island Golf & Bowling Club, located adjacent to the main town of Currie.
Set in rolling dunes right on the coastline, King Island is a traditional links course, and the perfect warm up to playing Cape Wickham & Ocean Dunes...
Some rate it as the best nine hole course in the world, and while I don't quite regard it at that august level, it is certainly a quality links course in a beautiful setting.



see: Course Report- King Island Golf & Bowling Club

see Destinations- King Island



4. Brautarholt GC, Iceland


DCIM\100MEDIA\DJI_0402.JPGBrautarholt GC- hole 1


Brautarholt GC was founded in 2011 and opened for play with a nine hole course designed by Edwin Roald.

The club is located around 30 minutes by road from Reykjavik

Roald has made a name for himself internationally for his forward thinking on golf design- in particular he questions the need for 18 holes as a template when the terrain may offer a different number of quality holes (remember St Andrews was originally 22 holes!)

Roald sets out the holes without a preconceived notion of par or length- at Brautarholt many of the holes occupy sites along clifftops or by the ocean, and they do fit the land hand in glove...

Cape Wickham comes to mind as the best comparison course I have come across.

Brautarholt is a world class golfing facility, with spectacular views and dramatic golf.

No trip to Iceland should even be contemplated without a game at Brautarholt.

We consider Brautarholt a Travelling Golfer must play!



see: Course Report- Brautarholt GC

see Destinations- Iceland



5. Teven Valley GC, New South Wales


Teven Valley GC hole 1aTeven Valley GC- hole 1

Teven Valley GC reopened for play late in 2020 after a major overhaul by Craig Parry.

With a brand new clubhouse and wall to wall zoysia turf, Teven Valley is one of the most exciting local developments we have seen in years

The playing surfaces are absolutely world class, and Parry has produced some wonderful green complexes.

They are as firm and true as anything in Australia, but with plenty of movement.

With a river and rocky creeks abutting them it takes some crisp iron play to hit these greens, let alone hold them.

But the recovery shots are a joy!

I could happily spend ages exploring the possibilities around each of these greens.

Byron Bay was always a good golfing destination, now it can't be overlooked..


We consider Teven Valley GC a Travelling Golfer must play!



see: Course Report- Teven Valley GC

see Destinations- Byron Bay



6. The Hay at Pebble Beach 


The Hay at Pebble Beach- hole 2The Hay at Pebble Beach- hole 2


In 1957 Pebble Beach head pro Peter Hay desigined a par 3 course across the road from the famous U.S. Open course itself.

Hay was an advocate of junior golf, and beleived short courses were invaluable in bringing junior golfers to the game.

The Peter Hay short course was one of the first short courses built in the U.S.A.


In April 2021 Pebble Beach opened a completely reimagined short course on the same site.

The new course, appropriately called 'The Hay', was designed by Tiger Woods.

The Hay is spectacular, and great fun to play.

Woods has designed nine par 3's, each with a story from the history of Pebble Beach.

Each is named to commemorate those magical moments in time that contribute to the legend of Pebble Beach.


Click here for a review of each hole.


Of particular note is the glorious par 3, 2nd hole with views over Pebble Beach and Stillwater Bay.

The green is an exact copy of the famous 7th hole on Pebble Beach.


The Hay at Pebble Beach hole 3The Hay at Pebble Beach- hole 3


The Hay is beautifully presented, has a sense of history about it, and is great fun to play!

In reality golfers only need a putter and a few wedges to play the course, but it is quality golf.

You will play your 9 holes in no time at all, begging the question should you retire to the well appointed eatery on the 1st tee, or go around again?


Every visit to Pebble Beach should include a game at The Hay


see: Course Report- The Hay at Pebble Beach

see Destinations- The Monterey Peninsula


7. The Olympic Club- Cliffs Course


The Olympic Club Cliffs Course hole 3The Olympic Club Cliffs Course hole 3


The Olympic Club in San Francisco boasts three great courses, but is most famous for The Lake Course which has hosted six U.S. Opens (including one Women's Open).

Flying under the radar a little is the utterly beguiling Cliffs course, a 9 nine holer right on the clliffs, with panoramic sea views.


The Olympic Club-, Cliffs Course- hole 4The Olympic Club-, Cliffs Course- hole 4


The Cliffs Course was designed by Jay Morrish & Tom Weiskopf and opened for play in 1994.

The bunkering and greens are top notch, and the course is nicely maintained.

It is a joy to play!


The Olympic Club- Cliffs Course, holes 6- 8The Olympic Club- Cliffs Course, holes 6- 8


 see Course Report: The Cliffs Course at The Olympic Club


8. The Baddest Little Nine




9. 'The Sacred Nine'- Royal Worlington & Newmarket GC

Royal Worlington- 18th green & clubhouseRoyal Worlington- 18th green & clubhouse

Royal Worlington & Newmarket Golf Club was founded in 1853 in the middle of nowhere, Suffolk, England.

The small sand based tract of land is reminiscent of classic links by the sea, but there is no ocean nearby.


The course itself has been little changed in a hundred years- not since Harry S. Colt remodelled the 9th hole in the 1920's!


Over the years the course has gathered fame worldwide- some rate it 'the finest nine holes in golf', or the best nine hole course, but my favourite summation is 'The Sacred Nine', a term coined by Bernard Darwin a century ago.

To play Royal Worlington is to go back to golf's early days- not much has changed at all- not in the clubhouse, or the set up of the bar, and the trench like cross bunkering on the course does date the course.

But it is classic links like golf, with all the subtleties of bounce and roll that one expects from the great links of the world.


The more memorable holes for me were the short par 4 third hole, the outrageous par 3 third hole, and the lovely short dogleg home hole


Royal Worlington GC- hole 5Royal Worlington GC- hole 5


All Travelling Golfer's should make the pilgrimage to play 'The Sacred Nine'


 see Course Report: Royal Worlington & Newmarket GC