The times, they are (maybe) achanging…

I saw this story in UK’s Sport newspaper today. It shared that the great constant in golf – the 18 hole round – may be open for some changes. I’m all for that!

Although it has been cast in stone tablets for over 2 centuries that a round of golf is 18 holes (The Old Course was reduced from 22 in 1764 and was then copied the world over), golf really needs to adapt in this age when leisure time for many of us is at a premium. I agree. There are those who are advocating 12 holes, others 9, 6 or even 3 (for the youngsters).

Anyway, I think it would be great to offer golf in packages of 6, 9, 12, 15 and 18 holes (and price them accordingly). Of course, that would reek havoc with scheduling systems, but I’m sure some brilliant person could figure out how to do it.

I often play 9 and dine even in the summer when the sun doesn’t got down until 9 or 9:30. Frankly after work, I just don’t have time (or energy) for 18 holes. But I’m still having to pay close to premium rates for just 9 holes. That bugs me.

I know that other women would play more often if they could book golf rounds of 6, 9 or 12 holes. AND I think they would walk more too. Although I prefer walking over carting I do find dragging my cart around 18 holes is tiring. I bet many golfers who drive 18, would walk 9.

And let’s not forget the kids – ours would be much happier going out with us old folks if they could keep the time to a minimum – 6 or 9 holes would work really well for them and us – 18?…not so much. They’d rather spend the extra two hours with their friends.

So…I think it’s time for more flexibility here for duffers like me who need to squeeze golf into busy work and family schedules.

What do you think?


Douglas Lowe on Tuesday
18 Dec 2007

ONE of the great constants in sport is about to alter. For more than two centuries a round of golf has been 18 holes but in an effort to adapt to an age when leisure time for many is at a premium, steps are being taken to reduce the number of holes in… read more…

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One comment

  1. I have mixed feelings with this…I am certain that Murphy’s Law will prevail no matter what number of holes is offered you can play. Whatever options that are offered you are going to have a person or a group that wants to play a different option. Before you know it you have an hourly rate established for a round. Maybe that would be good and could help solve slow play especially if some entrepreneur set up a punch clock on each teebox and if you fall behind the time normally takes to play a hole the time clock sets off an alarm, drops a net over the people in that group, the Marshalls come and hauls them off… But I digress to another subject and issue…

    Being an operations management consultant I can tell you figuring the cost ratio for a round of golf set on variables that are based on the number of holes played would result in the more holes you play the less it would cost so over time you are back to either playing 18 or paying 18….

    The reason I heard they reduced the number of holes from 22 to 18 back in 1764 was that 18 holes was the number of holes a fifth of whiskey lasted and nobody wanted to play anymore holes once they ran out of whiskey or by the time they went to get another bottle of whiskey…well, you see, you got that slow play issue again. I am sure if you left that running out of whiskey challenge up to the golf course management groups of today to handle they would have had a liquor store at the 18th green to keep you playing the remaining four holes.

    I just don’t know. I hate to think about the congestion on the golf course with people bailing out of a round at three holes when the people behind them are playing more. Those people walking back to the club house will have a long walk against the traffic…and then you have the whiskey factor in with people walking into someone’s line of shot to the green…golf courses are just not designed for a stop and start kind of arrangements. Maybe it would be better to look to the other side of the equation and people managing their time to have enough of it to play 18 holes in comfort. Or just carry two fifths of whiskey instead of one…I am sure there is a solution to the problem…

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