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Would Golf be Better or Worse if 12 Holes Had Become the Standard?

A 12-Hole Standard?  

76 members have voted

  1. 1. Would the game of golf be better or worse off now if 12 holes (3 par 3, 6 par 4, 3 par 5 = par 48) had become the standard?

    • Better off
      34
    • Worse off
      22
    • This fence is mighty comfortable!
      20


130 posts / 6831 viewsLast Reply

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Yes, golf would probably be better off with 12 hole courses. The classic complaint is that golf is too hard and it takes too long to play. 12 holes would take a 4+ hour round down to around a 2.5-3 hour round.

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46 minutes ago, iacas said:

Maybe. But yeah, it's about whether Prestwick's twelve-hole course had set the standard, basically, instead of the Old Course's 18.

That does change my perspective.  If golf had started with 12 holes, I'd definitely be in favor of 12 vs 18.     I can see the advantages of cost saving.    That's much different than changing from the current 18 to 12 holes.   

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I think it would be better off. Golf is a heavy investment in time and 12 holes makes it easier to fit rounds into the day. Especially since most people don't like very close to a golf course and has to drive 10-40 minutes to get there. If you got a course with a locker it makes things easier, but if you are a family person where the car often needs the space for a stroller, you might have to get the bag out of the garage or some storage room. Then at the course you have to unpack, get the trolley ready if you got one, maybe hit a bucket of balls before you head to the tee where you meet 10 minutes before tee time. After the round everything is packed down and the drive home, maybe putting the bag away again. When all this time is added up, I think it's easy to see that 12 hole rounds could put golf in a better place. It also requires less land and operational cost. A local course I used to play at has 6 holes and they said increasing it to 9 would double the costs.

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From a course management/cost/land perspective, I can see how it would be better. From my perspective of playing, I never have a problem with the amount of time it takes to play 18 and rarely am satisfied after even finishing 18. Call me a glutton for punishment, but I really like when I'm able to take advantage of the all you can golf deals when I can play 27, 36, or more holes before the sun sets. Of course, that wouldn't change if the standard was 12, I'd still play as many holes as I could. I also wonder if the prices would actually be lower. Prices tended to be higher when golf was more popular and the courses were fuller. Now that there's been a decline in popularity, the cost of rounds around here has dropped a lot. It used to be 45-60 a round here and now it's 23-40 max for 18 and a cart.

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Would golf have been better off with 12 holes? It's a possibility, but I have no doubt people would then just bitch about 3 1/2 hour rounds. 12 holes would simplify things and cut costs, and in a modern world where everyone is in such a hurry to get to the next thing, it might make golf more popular...I don't know. 

I do know I like 18, but what's best for me might not be best for golf. Like I have said before, I really like to play golf. My time I spend on the course is enjoyable. Most of the time when I play I am in no hurry. Played a 5 hour round just this weekend, didn't bother me a bit. I was out there with friends, we knew it would be slow. We played games on the tee boxes and talked between shots. We were social, no one complained one time about the length of the round.

 

Edited by NM Golf

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It would be better for golf course operations.  Worse for me. 

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How would you convert current 18, 36 hole complexes to 12? 

Break up 18 into 3 6s, option to play any combo of the sixes? You could play just 6, 12 or the full 18?

 

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From the standpoint "If the game of golf would be better?"
I think so, given hindsight of many factors involving costs at the time of development.

Both players and course owners/developers would have benefitted as would the golf industry in general.
It may have prevented the downturn in the industry and help maintain a steady growth of new players.

The real question could be, "where would the Golf be now?"
Would it be beneficial for all involved? I think so in all aspects, the industry, golf business and golfers.


 

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29 minutes ago, nevets88 said:

How would you convert current 18, 36 hole complexes to 12? 

Break up 18 into 3 6s, option to play any combo of the sixes? You could play just 6, 12 or the full 18?

 

Re-read the question please.

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On the whole, it would probably be better for 95% of the golfing world, for several of the reasons outlined in the original post. Generally speaking, golf would be more attractive and accessible to the recreational golfer.

That said, I think the competitive aspect of golf would be harmed. While I acknowledge that I have a pre-conceived bias towards 18 holes, I tried really hard to come at the question with a blank slate in mind. And still, I just don't like the idea of a 12 hole match play event. Part of the reason I love match play is that you can have a really crappy start, lose a few holes and still re-assure yourself that there is plenty of golf left to play. But if I'm down 3 holes early a 12 hole event, it probably ain't happening. 

I don't play enough competitive stroke play to comment, but I imagine the issue would be the same. It's tougher to overcome a single bad hole when there are fewer remaining holes to make up ground. I suppose the net result would be that it would add more randomness to the results. Which actually may not be a bad thing, but no something that I personally prefer.

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I am going to vote better off.

Assuming golf still grows into the game it is today, I believe a 12-hole golf course would have more positives versus an 18-hole course.

2 minutes ago, Big C said:

That said, I think the competitive aspect of golf would be harmed. While I acknowledge that I have a pre-conceived bias towards 18 holes, I tried really hard to come at the question with a blank slate in mind. And still, I just don't like the idea of a 12 hole match play event. Part of the reason I love match play is that you can have a really crappy start, lose a few holes and still re-assure yourself that there is plenty of golf left to play. But if I'm down 3 holes early a 12 hole event, it probably ain't happening. 

That is because you have no actual experience with a 12-hole golf course. It's very hard to wipe away all past experiences.

The question is, what would your answer be if all you knew was 12-hole golf? You'd probably think a match would just long enough because that's what you are accustomed to.

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Hard to say in the abstract, but there are probably some good reasons why most courses are 18 holes. Historically, that's the product that most golfers have wanted.

If the less was more concept really worked, wouldn't we have more nine-hole courses than we do? Really nine isn't a lot different from 12 anyway. My entire metro area has exactly one nine-hole and one executive course left. 

I'm also not really sure about the business of golf costing less. You may be purchasing a lesser quantity of golf, but it probably wouldn't be cheaper. 

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13 hours ago, HJJ003 said:

I say better off. I think a lot of sports would benefit from the “less is more” thought process. Golf especially. 

MLB would benefit from this too.

Re: 12 hole golf, I think that would be perfect. 9 is not nearly satisfying enough, but I rarely have time for 18.

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2 minutes ago, Kalnoky said:

MLB would benefit from this too.

Off-Topic

Spoiler

 

Minor League Baseball does their games in under 2.5 hours. That was in a 7-3 ish scoring game. So, not two pitchers throwing a lot of quick 1-2-3 innings.

MLB just needs to add in a pitch clock, and keep things moving.

 

I think it would make the courses cheaper.

1. Less land
2. Less bunkers
3. Less greens
4. Less water
5. Less workers required to maintain course

Maybe it improves the quality of the courses because the money can be spent on 12 holes instead of 18.

 

Edited by saevel25

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28 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

That is because you have no actual experience with a 12-hole golf course. It's very hard to wipe away all past experiences.

The question is, what would your answer be if all you knew was 12-hole golf? You'd probably think a match would just long enough because that's what you are accustomed to.

Well, I acknowledged in my post that it may be impossible to wipe out the bias I have towards 18 holes because "that's the way it's always been done."

But, no I don't agree that 12 holes would be ideal to settle a competitive match play event - it's too short and too random.

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17 minutes ago, Big C said:

Well, I acknowledged in my post that it may be impossible to wipe out the bias I have towards 18 holes because "that's the way it's always been done."

But, no I don't agree that 12 holes would be ideal to settle a competitive match play event - it's too short and too random.

I wonder if it would make the average handicap lower? A lot of my rounds I start out better than I finish.

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1 hour ago, Big C said:

On the whole, it would probably be better for 95% of the golfing world, for several of the reasons outlined in the original post. Generally speaking, golf would be more attractive and accessible to the recreational golfer.

That said, I think the competitive aspect of golf would be harmed. While I acknowledge that I have a pre-conceived bias towards 18 holes, I tried really hard to come at the question with a blank slate in mind. And still, I just don't like the idea of a 12 hole match play event. Part of the reason I love match play is that you can have a really crappy start, lose a few holes and still re-assure yourself that there is plenty of golf left to play. But if I'm down 3 holes early a 12 hole event, it probably ain't happening. 

I don't play enough competitive stroke play to comment, but I imagine the issue would be the same. It's tougher to overcome a single bad hole when there are fewer remaining holes to make up ground. I suppose the net result would be that it would add more randomness to the results. Which actually may not be a bad thing, but no something that I personally prefer.

I'm guessing with 12 hole courses, a decent amount of serious competitive events would go to 24 holes. Any decently large competition makes it impossible to play 2 rounds in one day. But I can see playing 24 holes in a day in a competition pretty easily.

There are still probably more 9 hole leagues than 18 hole leagues now. I don't think a lot of super serious golfers play in them, but they're still popular.

EDIT: It looks like the first dozen British Opens were played over 3 rounds at Prestwick. That's 36 holes. I think competitive golf would have been fine.

Edited by DeadMan

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If the game was to change today to 12 holes (which I know is sightly different to the poll question), I think it would be great for hole variety. 

If I think of my home course, holes 13 & 16 are really quite similar, as are holes 4 & 15, and  6 & 8. Many other courses have an element of this too. Being able to reduce to 12 holes might see courses able to fit in more imaginative holes, while still having land free at the end. Then there'd be fewer holes bordering driving ranges, fewer double greens, and fewer tee boxes surrounded by greens. 

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