Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Is More Always Better? When It Comes To Course Length, Maybe Not

For most of us, heading out to play a round of disc golf entails a journey across 18 holes. Sometimes, if we have the time and energy, two rounds make it into our day but very rarely do people play fewer than 18. Admit it - if you had the chance to choose between this “standard” length course compared to one that’s only 9 holes, which would you choose?

Although some might look at a 9-hole course and assume it doesn’t have much to offer, there are actually a ton of benefits that this type of layout can bring. However, many players don’t realize this and tend to stick to what they know. For example, whenever we get requests for new courses through Dynamic Course Design, it’s often to explore the possibility of a full 18-hole installation. Even when we take a look at the typical basket order, most of the time people are opting for 18 instead of 9.

If you’re of the opinion that a 9-hole course just doesn’t serve much of a purpose, consider how they can be beneficial for both players and course designers alike:

  • Great for all - An 18-hole course may be the ideal spot for those who have been playing disc golf for years, but this layout can be intimidating and downright difficult for beginners and children. Individuals who are just dipping their toe into the world of disc golf often find that a 9-hole course is far more approachable.

  • Saving money - Installing a disc golf course isn’t overwhelmingly expensive, but it’s not cheap either. Assuming that you’re looking for a cost-effective way to introduce the sport to a new area, consider spending half the money and time that you normally would and bring in a 9-hole layout.

  • Fitting in - Many would argue that a well-designed course needs at least one acre of land per hole and finding tracts of land that are near 20 acres can be a challenge. Instead, a 9-hole course needs far less space and can find a home in many established parks.

  • Staying casual - While children may not have the stamina to complete a full 18-hole course, that doesn’t mean that all adults can handle it with ease. Rather than only having championship-style layouts to choose from, a casual player can change up his or her routine and opt for a shorter set of holes to work on specific shots.

  • Timing is everything - It can be difficult to find several hours of your day to hit the disc golf course, but when 18-hole layouts are all that there is, sometimes you can’t play as often as you’d like. In many instances, a 9-hole course can be completed during a long lunch break or on your way home from the office before it gets dark out.
Don’t get us wrong, we love 18-hole courses as much as anyone else, but keep in mind that they aren’t the only option out there. If we truly want to #growthesport and make disc golf as accessible as possible for all, an influx in shorter layouts is certainly a step in the right direction. Tell us your thoughts on 9-hole courses below - what purpose do they serve in your personal game?

If you are looking into getting a course installed in your area send us an email at to see what is possible.
  1. i hit a 24 hole course but skip around and do about 12. I like a local 9 hole great for putting /approach shots. Any disc golf is good disc golf.

  2. If it wasn't for a smaller course I probably would have quit. I went to a big course on a ski hill for my first time with my starter pack and it sucked. It was confusing as hell with multiple Tees and baskets and it went up and down a damn ski hill with shots straight up the hill. When I got done I was ready to quit. Thankfully I tried one more course. It was still 18 but much smaller, on the side of a lake. It was like a night and day differance and I have been playing ever since. 2 years now. Going to a 9 hole tomorrow.
    Still dont play the course on the ski hill.

  3. Local 9 hole course is now I discovered the joy of disc golf 4 years ago. Due to that beginner friendly—yet still challenging—park golf course my wife and children also play. We’ve since traveled to play 18 and 27 hole courses as our skills have developed.

  4. There is a 9 hole course about 4 minutes from my house. It has 2 sets of tee pads for each hole so you can choose short or long shots. You can combine the 2 to make a decent 18 although it's still not quite like playing the larger courses near by. I go there often before or after work because I can get a round in with only about 30 minutes available. I play way more because of this course and it has helped my short game A LOT! I have learned to throw putters of all types with much more power and accuracy (especially my waffle warden). I love you Montiel Park.

  5. I love the small courses which have alternate layouts- 9hole Bluemont Park in Arlington VA has 3 different difficulties of tee pads with two baskets for each hole. Amazing to play a quick game with casual friends or much more competitive rounds, just depends on your mood and objective!

  6. The problem with many 9 hole courses is that they are just so poorly designed and constructed. I will play one all day if its a good course. I use to live nearby a 9 basket - 18 hole course where you played in one direction then played it in the opposite direction. Basically it plays like a 18 hole course with 18 different tees and fairways. Its actually one of the oldest courses in Maryland called Pine Grove. Yes an old Gem of a course that lacks permanent tees and signage but it plays really well. It does not have a lot of traffic so there is not much cross conflict.

  7. I love 9 holes, not as much people for one, less time, with 2 small kids it's usually at a park, so get done playing and the kids can go play


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  10. Personally I prefer the 18 hole courses, I feel like im just getting warmed up by the 8th hole and its already over. 9 hole courses are good for a casual practice round for me. But then again I dont have a lot to choose from. And the 9 hole course near me is pretty terrible; if anyone lives in St. Charles MO. and knows of the Creve` Coure Lake park course, you probably know what I mean. So I might have just not played a good one yet. My favorite course is Fort Hudson in Ferguson MO. it is 18 holes but every hole feels like it is spaced perfect and they are all different and fun. If you are ever in the area it is definitely the place to go.