Thursday, August 22, 2013

Why Casual Golf Should Only Be 12 Holes

Not everyone plays like the pros

I can hear the purists right now bellowing out an “Auck No, laddie” (I think it really isn't auck but it’s almost impossible to understand a true Scotsman). It was a bunch of Scotsmen that did make the game of golf 18 holes in the first place. Rumour has it that they originally played on an 11-hole course and played it twice—once out and once back or in. The greens were probably not what we would be accustomed to in today’s game so they probably had a flag and a tee paired together at each end of the golf hole. So it was 22-holes long initially but even this was too long for the Scotsmen (probably cut into their drinking time or other social activities) so they decided to remove 2 holes and make it 9 out and 9 in making for the 18 holes we now suffer through. So it would appear that it was totally arbitrary.
Having worked at a golf course for many years as a starter and marshal, I learned that the average foursome takes an average of 15 minutes to play a golf hole (12 for a par 3, 15 for a par 4 and 18 for a par 5). The average course consists of 4 par 3’s, 10 par 4’s and 4 par 5’s. Doing the math, that works out to a total of 72 strokes to make par but the average golfer does not break 100 in a round. If you play in a threesome, twosome or solo or are also above average golfers or have no one playing in front of you, then you do stand a chance to play in less than 4 and half hours. And that is where the game of 18-hole recreational golf is too long for most average players.
There is also a greater chance for fatigue after 12 holes or boredom for some so I propose that recreational golf would be better served if it were 12 holes, especially on weekends. So the game would take 3 hours or less and more players would have access to generally overcrowded public or semi-private courses.
Interestingly enough when I discussed this concept with customers and staff alike, it was older golfers and women who thought the idea had merit but it was not limited to these groups. The average golfer plays on lower priced courses which likely means that the tracks are public and semi-private. The average golfer plays the game more for a social event with friends and not to be the next Tiger Woods. So let them play in less than 3 hours on a 12-hole course.
But that won’t happen because courses are designed by people that are relatives of the original players out of the “royal and ancient” in Scotland. Purists be damned, the game of golf needs to be played two ways. Keep all the arcane rules and the 18 holes in place for competitive golf and make allowances for recreational golf which would include, among other things, 12-hole games and more liberal rules since it is leisure we have in mind here and not competition.
Common sense would say that you should move your ball away from a tree, rock or other obstruction that would likely result in a damaged club or injury. The recreational golfer is not sponsored by one of the many club manufacturers so they would have to buy a new club if they broke it. Common sense lift and place without penalty would speed up the game and add to the enjoyment in recreational golf.
But the purist would still bellow out “Auck no laddie, that be against the rules of the royal and ancient game”. I never liked playing with that type of golfer. They did not understand that games are about having fun and winning is the result of having way too much fun.
I don’t play the game anymore since the course I worked at closed down and became another location for oversized ego boxes that only the insanely rich homeowner could afford. But if I did I would like to play the game for fun. Maybe keeping score is the problem for the recreational golfer, trying to find a lost ball or doing other things to try and avoid another stroke. It’s funny how the 19th hole always seems to be the most enjoyable. Now that might be a problem with a 12-hole game since the 19th becomes the 13th but I don’t think that many will care. It’s about having fun in recreational golf and that is what is most important.
After all, we are trying to avoid a stroke.
And stay tuned for another article entitled I Can Fix Your Golf Swing and even one as strange as Charles there. He is improving and I could help him with that since I have seem many just as worse and know what to look for and how to get it back looking more like the ones you see every Sunday with Mr. Feherty doing the fun commentary.

OK so I took more than an hour to write the second story. I had to eat something lol.

No comments: