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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 / 6387 viewsLast Reply

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4 hours ago, iacas said:

Seems like a silly assumption, don't you think? A round of golf wouldn't take five hours. Land usage would be lower. Etc. Several things would change or be different.

There would be no "same amount" to charge. The concept of 18 holes would be foreign to the game of golf. And as I noted above, the golf courses would use less land, would take less time, etc. Some expenses would remain the same - the clubhouse might be the same size or only a little smaller, equipment might still cost the same (though you may need to buy fewer balls), etc. But the bigger expenses would be reduced. You wouldn't have as much land to tend, need as much water or fertilizer, etc.

Nope, you would still have folks complaining about pace of play.

Today's water issues would still be prevalent.

Courses would still be closing due to the economy.

I don't think green fees would be any less, as well as the cost of anything related to golf based on 12 holes. 

On flip side, all the good things we enjoy while playing 18 hole would still be there for 12 holes. 

Actually, I think if golf had originally started out with 12 holes, by now, the powers at large would have changed it  to 18 for increased revenue. . 

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43 minutes ago, Big C said:

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.

If all you knew was a 12-hole match, then your opinion would be different.

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1 minute ago, saevel25 said:

If all you knew was a 12-hole match, then your opinion would be different.

Sorry, but this comment adds nothing to the discussion. You make a statement like this as though it's factual, even though it can be neither proven nor disproven. Speculating on what someone else's opinion might be in a hypothetical situation is really kind of pointless, don't ya think?

Again, I'm trying to take the question at face value. I don't favor 12 holes for match play golf. That doesn't mean that I am married to the idea of 18 holes, but I do believe that 12 is too short and I'm willing to defend why I believe that to be the case. 

If you disagree with my reasons, then fine. If a 12 hole match appeals to you, then more power to you. 

But arguing about what I might think had I been raised in a parallel golf universe is just a wheel spinning exercise.

 

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I don't know if golf would be better off but I would be a 1000% better off. Simply put I would get out on the course at least 50% more times than I do now. I really don't like 9 holes. Bargaining with the wife for 5 hours away from home every weekend is just an impasse and as a result I play less than 30 full rounds a year. If I can spend only 3-3.5 hours (yes that extra hour and a half or so makes a huuuuuge difference) away at the most, my golf life landscape would change dramatically. 

Where do I sign? Really. 

Edited by GolfLug

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23 minutes ago, Patch said:

I don't think green fees would be any less, as well as the cost of anything related to golf based on 12 holes. 

 

They would be less , whether it started that way or changed tomorrow. Mainly because the cost to supply the product would be somewhat lower, but also because : 

a) There would be more tee times , meaning an increase in supply. This could obviously be offset by an increase in demand, but that would likely have the effect of making the market more competitive.
b)  There would also be more supply because Courses in a rural location could more easily  offer a second course , such as an executive course or par 3 course. In urban areas, you could fit more courses into a smaller pockets of space. 
 

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

Re-read the question please.

My mistake, skimmed too quickly.

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4 minutes ago, Moxley said:

 

They would be less , whether it started that way or changed tomorrow. Mainly because the cost to supply the product would be somewhat lower, but also because : 

a) There would be more tee times , meaning an increase in supply. This could obviously be offset by an increase in demand, but that would likely have the effect of making the market more competitive.
b)  There would also be more supply because Courses in a rural location could more easily  offer a second course , such as an executive course or par 3 course. In urban areas, you could fit more courses into a smaller pockets of space. 
 

I'm still not convinced of that honestly, but there's no way to know how the market would play out in this alternate version of events. As I mentioned, when demand was higher in my area prices were higher. Assuming that there would be more popularity of golf, more people golfing, tee times are in higher demand, cost of those tee times go up. That said, I do think the courses would probably be in better shape overall because the cost of upkeep would be lower. However, if things were the same with the number of people golfing and the demand for golf tee times held constant between 18 and 12 versions, then yes I'd agree the cost would be lower.

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Let's not confuse the cost of running the course with the price people would have to pay to play the course. Even the munis would seek the additional revenue if they thought they could get it. 

 

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1 hour ago, mcanadiens said:

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.

No, that’s the product they have been supplied.

1 hour ago, Big C said:

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.

It is more so. But they could play 24, too. Or golf would simple be accepted as a bit more random. Faster starts would be more important.

1 hour ago, Patch said:

Today's water issues would still be prevalent.

 

I don't think green fees would be any less, as well as the cost of anything related to golf based on 12 holes. 

Actually, I think if golf had originally started out with 12 holes, by now, the powers at large would have changed it  to 18 for increased revenue. . 

No and no. Less land means less water. And lower green fees (it’s already less to play nine).

As for your last point that’s ridiculous. What’s to stop them from making it 20 now? There’s nothing in this alternate world that’s sacred about 18.

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28 minutes ago, Moxley said:

 

They would be less , whether it started that way or changed tomorrow. Mainly because the cost to supply the product would be somewhat lower, but also because : 

a) There would be more tee times , meaning an increase in supply. This could obviously be offset by an increase in demand, but that would likely have the effect of making the market more competitive.
b)  There would also be more supply because Courses in a rural location could more easily  offer a second course , such as an executive course or par 3 course. In urban areas, you could fit more courses into a smaller pockets of space. 
 

Maybe, but I play 18 now for $25 ($12  if I walk). I don't see 12 costing less to play. 

Also, I am looking at this scenario as if the 18 hole round never existed. If it never existed, it's numbers can't be used as a benchmark for comparisons. 

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15 minutes ago, Jeremie Boop said:

I'm still not convinced of that honestly, but there's no way to know how the market would play out in this alternate version of events. As I mentioned, when demand was higher in my area prices were higher. Assuming that there would be more popularity of golf, more people golfing, tee times are in higher demand, cost of those tee times go up. That said, I do think the courses would probably be in better shape overall because the cost of upkeep would be lower. However, if things were the same with the number of people golfing and the demand for golf tee times held constant between 18 and 12 versions, then yes I'd agree the cost would be lower.

I agree it's difficult to know how it would play out, but demand wouldn't need to merely stay constant in order for prices to fall - demand could rise and prices fall if the increase in supply outstrips it. If demand increases more or less to match the increased supply (not a totally unreasonable assumption) then you'd simply have the same situation but with a lower cost product (and in a more liquid market). It would drive competition. 
 

17 minutes ago, mcanadiens said:

Let's not confuse the cost of running the course with the price people would have to pay to play the course. Even the munis would seek the additional revenue if they thought they could get it. 

 


I'm not confusing it - the two are related. 
 

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6 minutes ago, Patch said:

Maybe, but I play 18 now for $25 ($12  if I walk). I don't see 12 costing less to play. 

Also, I am looking at this scenario as if the 18 hole round never existed. If it never existed, it's numbers can't be used as a benchmark for comparisons. 

That’s one example.

And there’s logic that a course that costs less to build, maintain, etc. would cost less to play, on average.

You’re in the weeds on this one.

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15 minutes ago, iacas said:

No, that’s the product they have been supplied.

The history of golf indicates that there were many different numbers of holes on golf courses before 18 became a standard. I would surmise they came up with this number for a reason as opposed to Old Tom Morris' great-great-great grand daddy pulling the number out of his butt.

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/the-hole-truth-2/

Edited by mcanadiens

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I think I would enjoy it less in multiple aspects, so I voted worse off.

I most commonly play 9/par 35 at my home course.  If there's nobody in my way, I can get that completed in a very reasonable amount of time so going to a 12/48 course would take just that little bit longer, and 6/24 would not be long enough.  I suppose an 8/36 could be done if the courses were set up that way but it seems harder to do to design 3 out-n-backs so that you could play a certain 8 or rotate or anything like that.  If I want to spend more time, a 18/70-72 is enough time for me to golf in most situations before I'm good for the day.  If I get really ambitions 36/140-144 is just a good day but that's rarely done for me.  So the par 36/72 tend to line up with reasonable amounts of time for me to play without feeling like I'm giving up part of the course if I did do a 6 or 8 hole stretch.

As for watching, 4 days of par 48 golf doesn't seem like enough, while if they were subjected to different rules/double play 4 days of 96 seems like too much.  Three days of 96 is close but I don't like the idea of either only one day of qualifiers, or trying to figure out who should keep playing halfway through day 2 at a 144 stroke turn.  So on the flipside to argue against 4/48 it doesn't seem like the best players have as much opportunity to consistently display themselves as the best players.  Perhaps this is something that I don't understand as I'm not at that level but I feel over a par 192 (compared to the 270s that it currently is) there's much more opportunity for variance.  I feel (emphasis on feel) like there will be players that can get hot over 12 holes currently but fall apart over the 6 and then they're not in contention, which seems fair.  If they only have the 12 to get hot over, the leaderboards would be much all over the place.

Maybe the leaders being more volatile would be much more exciting as a viewer, that's hard to judge, but I like seeing how the best pros can get hot, but still manage their game when they aren't at peak performance.  The length of the current game seems to allow both sides of their game to shine and keep the people that can get hot and yet manage themselves at the top.  This has gotten long winded, but I like the idea that over more time you're more likely to see even the leaders struggle over a longer period of time.

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5 minutes ago, mcanadiens said:

The history of golf indicates that there were many different numbers of holes on golf courses before 18 became a standard. I would surmise they came up with this number for a reason as opposed to Old Tom Morrison's great-great-great grand daddy pulling the number out of his butt.

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/the-hole-truth-2/

It's the product that anybody who is actually alive has been supplied. It may be that golfers in the 1700's wanted 18 holes, but quite a lot has changed since then. 

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6 minutes ago, mcanadiens said:

The history of golf indicates that there were many different numbers of holes on golf courses before 18 became a standard. I would surmise they came up with this number for a reason as opposed to Old Tom Morris' great-great-great grand daddy pulling the number out of his butt.

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/the-hole-truth-2/

You’re talking about a time when you could practically invite everyone in the world who played golf to play your course on the same day.

Plus what @Moxley said.

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13 minutes ago, amished said:

I think I would enjoy it less in multiple aspects, so I voted worse off.

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I get most of what you're saying here.  Golf, for me, is something I like to plan an entire period to occupy my day.  An entire morning, or an entire afternoon.  So a typ 4 hours is a perfect period.  I don't want to just golf and go (which appears contrary to most commentators apparently).  The duration is part of the enjoyment.  I currently find 18 holes at 3-3.5 hours (enjoyable pace) to actually be too short.  Playing 18 can take more with slow courses, so that's fine.  But hitting 18 quick when the course is empty (end of day) is still doable.  It's a nice balance for me.

And playing 12 holes twice would be fine, but I'd rather play unique holes, not double tap the same 12 twice.  12 is a great numbers for when pace of play sucks. 

YMMV

Edited by rehmwa

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3 minutes ago, rehmwa said:

I get most of what you're saying here.  Golf, for me, is something I like to plan an entire period to occupy my day.  An entire morning, or an entire afternoon.  So a typ 4 hours is a perfect period.  I don't want to just golf and go (which appears contrary to most commentators apparently).  The duration is part of the enjoyment.  I currently find 18 holes at 3-3.5 hours (enjoyable pace) to actually be too short.  Playing 18 can take more with slow courses, so that's fine.  But hitting 18 quick when the course is empty (end of day) is still doable.  It's a nice balance for me.

And playing 12 holes twice would be fine, but I'd rather play unique holes, not double tap the same 12 twice.  12 is a great numbers for when pace of play sucks. 

YMMV

I'm much the same. When I plan to go play, unless I have something specific I need to get back for, I prefer to spend my day on the course. The only difference is that I don't mind running the same course more than once. That said, there are 2 courses which are a 15 minute drive apart that are owned by the same people that allow you to play both in the same day for the same price when you take advantage of their "all you can golf for $25" deal. That includes the cart. I've never actually left the one course to go to the other, but now that I think about it, it may actually be a better deal.

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