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For the Architects / course designers out there a question: if you knew nothing about the current size of the golf hole , what size of hole would you create to have a balance of difficulty, speed of play and fun ?

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Six inches.

But… golf should not ever really be changed, as 4.25 is the perfect size now that we've had it for so long. Six inches would require changes to almost every green out there as more slope would likely need to be added.

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I don't remember the exact quote but Jack Nicklaus said something to the effect of; "The game of golf takes too long, it's too expensive, and it's too difficult" and so he hosts a 12 hole tournament at Muirfeild Village during Labor Day weekend where the cups are 8" in diameter (almost twice as large). He's doing (and I assume is still doing) this in an effort to attract more golfers to the game. I'm not sure how well it's working, and given he's doing it at Muirfeild I'm not sure how much time they've spent on the "expense" part of the problem, but it seems Jack thinks 8"cups and 12 hole courses would attract more people to the game.

I read Dave Pelz Short Game Bible years ago and I recall him saying that the pros putting statistics are insignificantly different from the average amateur's statistics when it comes to making a 3 foot or closer putt, and also when it comes to making a 9 foot or farther out putt, but between 3ft and 9ft the pro is dramatically better..... because of talent, yes, but also practice....hours of it. Most of us amateurs don't have the time to practice much given we have day jobs but I bet if we did we'd putt better, not like a pro, but better.

The "American" golf ball is 1.68" in diameter. The "Brithish" golf ball is 1.62". That means with the cup being 4.25" in diameter the cup is over 2.5 times the width of the ball. If we went to 8" cups as Jack suggests to draw more golfers to the game that would almost double your chances of sinking putts with the cup being over 4.75 times the size of the ball. I think it's a question of handicap really. For single digit handicappers I think the hole is the right size. For higher handicappers, maybe a larger hole does help in terms of motivation and it certainly would help in terms of pace. One thing is for certain, a large part of the game is putting and with larger cups scores would dramatically reduce.

 

 

Edited by HonestyPolicy
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The "American" golf ball is 1.68" in diameter. The "Brithish" golf ball is 1.62". That means with the cup being 4.25" in diameter the cup is over 2.5 times the width of the ball. If we went to 8" cups as Jack suggests to draw more golfers to the game that would almost double your chances of sinking putts with the cup being over 4.75 times the size of the ball. I think it's a question of handicap really. For single digit handicappers I think the hole is the right size. For higher handicappers, maybe a larger hole does help in terms of motivation and it certainly would help in terms of pace. One thing is for certain, a large part of the game is putting and with larger cups scores would dramatically reduce.

 

I think as of 1990 the golf balls are now the same size?

 

Regulations

The Rules of Golf, jointly governed by the R&A and the USGA, state in Appendix III that the diameter of a "conforming" golf ball cannot be any smaller than 1.680 inches (42.67 mm), and the weight of the ball may not exceed 1.620 ounces (45.93 g). The ball must also have the basic properties of a spherically symmetrical ball, generally meaning that the ball itself must be spherical and must have a symmetrical arrangement of dimples on its surface. Additional rules direct players and manufacturers to other technical documents published by the R&A and USGA with additional restrictions, such as radius and depth of dimples, maximum launch speed from test apparatus (generally defining the coefficient of restitution) and maximum total distance when launched from the test equipment.

In general, the governing bodies and their regulations seek to provide a relatively level playing field and maintain the traditional form of the game and its equipment, while not completely halting the use of new technology in equipment design.

Until 1990, it was permissible to use balls of less than 1.68 inches in diameter in tournaments under the jurisdiction of the R&A, which differed in its ball specifications rules from those of the USGA.[15] This ball was commonly called a "British" ball, while the golf ball approved by the USGA was simply the "American ball". The smaller diameter gave the player a distance advantage, especially in high winds, as the smaller ball created a similarly smaller "wake" behind it.

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Six inches.

But… golf should not ever really be changed, as 4.25 is the perfect size now that we've had it for so long. Six inches would require changes to almost every green out there as more slope would likely need to be added.

Do you think it is going to change for lower level players / public courses, seeing how most everything else in the game has changed ?  I would like to see an increase , but keep it to six inches and maybe only on certain days on better courses. Getting frustrated with not making as many putts as I would like and I am better than most putters, so can't imagine how others  feel.

 

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Do you think it is going to change for lower level players / public courses, seeing how most everything else in the game has changed ?  I would like to see an increase , but keep it to six inches and maybe only on certain days on better courses. Getting frustrated with not making as many putts as I would like and I am better than most putters, so can't imagine how others  feel.

The main advantage I could see for myself (32-34 putter), is that I can putt more aggressively from inside 8 feet. IDK, how many strokes I could save?

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I don't think people want to change.

In a thread on this same subject a while back... I'll copy what I wrote there:

There is an executive course in the San Diego area, Lomas Santa Fe Executive course, that for over a year has had both the regular sized hole and an additional 15" hole towards the back of the greens.  I've played there maybe ten times while they have had both holes and have never seen anyone play to the 15" holes.  I spoke to an employee behind the counter in the pro shop and he said the 15" holes hardly get any use.

As a side note, my only 'hole in one' was to one of the 15" holes.  To bad I was trying to play to the regulation hole.

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The main advantage I could see for myself (32-34 putter), is that I can putt more aggressively from inside 8 feet. IDK, how many strokes I could save?

probably save about 3-4 strokes, but more than the saving the stroke is the enjoyment to me of making the putt !! I see way too  many golfers putting defensively ( including myself sometimes ) which is not how it should be.

I don't think people want to change.

In a thread on this same subject a while back... I'll copy what I wrote there:

I don't like the idea of a 15" hole, I think it changes the game too much...

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Do you think it is going to change for lower level players / public courses, seeing how most everything else in the game has changed ? 

I don't think "most everything else in the game has changed." Not the types of things similar to the size of the hole. Those types of things have stayed the same. You still tee off from an area, clubs are still relatively the same, etc.

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I think as of 1990 the golf balls are now the same size?

 

Yes. The point is that "of the golf balls that are or have been used in the recent past" 1.68 and 1.62, (The American Ball and the British Ball) the hole is over 2.5x the diameter of either. Making the hole bigger would be just like making the ball smaller in that the ratio of the ball vs the hole would increase. Actually making the ball smaller would provide advantages in other areas of the game too like ball flight. The hole is already 2.5x the width of any recently played ball and I think that's enough for serious golfers. For others? Not sure and I hesitate to disagree with Jack :-) 

I did not mean to convey that the current golf ball per the rules today is something other than 1.68 in diameter.  

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such an arbitrary question.  pick one and stick with it.  I'm just glad it's standardized so it's not different from course to course.  I'm not even sure if people offer an opinion that it's even worth the discussion of "why" they choose that number.  everything would be relative to personal experience against the existing standard.  Or, worse yet, it'll be relative to someone's pet golfing peeve.

 

it would be more fun if the hole would launch a piece of fudge when a putt is sunk, or if the hole was an automatic ball washer, or a moving hole

Edited by rehmwa
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I would not like to see the overall challenge of the game changed too much, but I would like to see a very slight increase in the diameter of the hole, say to 5 inches.  I think this would achieve three things, as follows:

1.  It would decrease the number of lip outs of putts that are going the appropriate speed (stopping within 1-2 feet past the hole).  Those putts would be more likely to either miss completely or they would drop in the hole.

2.  Running shots that strike the base of the flagstick squarely would be more likely to drop in the hole as opposed to bouncing away.

3.  The rules could be changed to leave the flagstick in the hole at all times, thereby simplifying the rulebook in several places, and speeding up play with no adverse effects.

I believe these changes would only cause a 1-2 stroke improvement in overall scores.

Numerical purists could argue that 5.04 inches equals 3x the ball diameter and is therefore perfect!

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3.  The rules could be changed to leave the flagstick in the hole at all times, thereby simplifying the rulebook in several places, and speeding up play with no adverse effects.

The ball fits in the hole with the flagstick in there now. If they wanted to, they could leave the flagsticks in now. No ball that hits the flag and bounces out would have gone in the hole without the flagstick in the way - it's going too fast to drop 0.83 inches.

The only balls that would have a chance of going in are when the flagstick is leaning too much for the ball to fit.

So nothing about the flagstick should really be a reason to justify a larger hole.

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No disrespect to Jack, but of all the things involved in playing golf, putting is one of the easiest.  My daughter can't swing a golf club to save her life but she's a champion on the mini-golf course.  Even on my backyard putting green she can sink more putts than her boyfriend who's been practicing for just about a year.

I say leave the hole size where it is and use the hole placement as a means to change the difficulty of the course.

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Golf is hard... and it is intended to be so.

To play to par one is allowed two, read (2) strokes on the green. Playing a typical hole to par may require 1, 2 or three strokes to get on the putting surface.

Seems to me that 2 strokes to get in the hole from the putting surface is sufficient.

What... you want to change the size of the cup to make it easier? Why not limit a par 3 to 60 yards, a par four to 150 yards, and a par five to 200 yards?

Come on guys, this game would be not worth playing without the challenges she has always presented.

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