Definition: Emergency Nine (or E9)

Have you ever played an "emergency nine" at the golf course? That is a term that originated in the world of golf gambling, but has come more generally to refer to an extra nine holes, or a squeezed-in nine holes, or any 9-hole round that you play because you just couldn't stand another day without golf.

Emergency nine is often spelled "emergency 9," and is frequently abbreviated to "E9" or "E-9."

As noted, the term used to be used mostly among golf buddies (or foes) who were playing for money. If two golfers have money riding on the outcome of a standard, 18-hole round of golf, and they finish the final hole tied, they might play an emergency nine to settle the bet.

An emergency nine might also be called for by a golfer who just lost an 18-hole wager. In the following video, Lee Trevino uses the term when telling the story of a legendary gambling match against Raymond Floyd before Trevino was famous:

Floyd wanted an "emergency nine" because Trevino had just beaten him over 18 holes. A golfer who loses the 18-hole hole bet can request an emergency nine, which might (depending on what the golfers agree on) extend the original bet another nine holes, or might create a new bet. The winner of the original 18 does not have to agree to the emergency nine, however.

The term is much more widely used today. One golfer might call another after both haven gotten off work and suggest, "Let's get in an emergency nine." Or a golfer who hasn't been able to play in weeks might say, "I really need an emergency nine today."

So it has become a general term for when golfers manage to squeeze in an extra nine holes.

There are now golf companies, podcasts and web features that use the name Emergency 9 or E9. Golf courses run "emergency nine" specials (that apply to twilight rates or might just refer to any 9-hole round). There is golf merchandise branded with "Emergency 9" or with the term emblazoned on it (affiliate link, commissions earned).

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