Can A Bigger Hole Save Golf?

To date most industry efforts to “fix” golf have centered on the former issue, the time constraint, taking the form of faster playing alternatives to traditional 18-hole courses.

Three years ago I wrote a feature on this architectural trend for American Way, the inflight magazine, in which I explained that as far back as 2007 Jack Nicklaus was advocating 12-hole designs as the new normal, and the Golden Bear created 12-hole loops within the existing eighteens at two of his layouts for private clubs, complete with special scorecards. Another PGA Tour superstar turned top designer, Greg Norman, loudly suggested 6-hole courses, and has designed a 12-hole course in Mexico and added a 12-hole par-3 course to his home club, Florida’s the Medalist. Other examples include 4 and 8-hole courses around the world.

Now a group known as HackGolf, whose tagline is “How Do We Make Golf More Fun For Everyone?” is trying to tackle the other side of the equation, difficulty, by making golf easier. Its website is devoted to “generating thousands of practical ideas for making golf more fun” and then plans to “prototype the best ideas through real world experiments and then ramp them up as appropriate.”

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