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In a Hole, Golf Courses Experiment With 15-inch Holes 405

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "According to the National Golf Foundation, golf has lost five million players in the last decade with 20 percent of the existing 25 million golfers apt to quit in the next few years. Now Bill Pennington writes that golf courses across the country are experimenting with 15 inch golf holes the size of pizzas to stop people from quitting the game. "We've got to stop scaring people away from golf by telling them that there is only one way to play the game and it includes these specific guidelines," says Ted Bishop, president of the PGA of America. "We've got to offer more forms of golf for people to try. We have to do something to get them into the fold, and then maybe they'll have this idea it's supposed to be fun." A 15-inch-hole event was held at the Reynolds Plantation resort last week featuring top professional golfers Sergio García and Justin Rose, the defending United States Open champion. "A 15-inch hole could help junior golfers, beginning golfers and older golfers score better, play faster and like golf more," says García, who shot a six-under-par 30 for nine holes in the exhibition. Another alternative is foot golf, in which players kick a soccer ball from the tee to an oversize hole, counting their kicks. Still it is no surprise that not everyone agrees with the burgeoning alternative movement to make golf more user-friendly. "I don't want to rig the game and cheapen it," says Curtis Strange, a two-time United States Open champion and an analyst for ESPN. "I don't like any of that stuff. And it's not going to happen either. It's all talk.""
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In a Hole, Golf Courses Experiment With 15-inch Holes

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21, 2014 @06:16AM (#46803793)

    How did this get posted? Golf??!

  • by Jack Griffin ( 3459907 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @06:22AM (#46803811)
    Maybe it is less about the size of the hole and more to do with the absurd amount of money and time is cost to play the sport? I had a few games once, the money I could probably afford, but I simply don't have the time to spend hours on a golf course every week...
  • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @06:33AM (#46803853)
    The high cost used to be offset by the status associated with the game, but it just isn:t the symbol of wealth and refinement that it used to be. Thus I suspect giant holes will not help much.

    That being said, are we sure this is not some kind of joke or hoax? This reads like something from The Onion....
  • by ad454 ( 325846 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @06:38AM (#46803873) Journal

    Not to mention the horrible amount of water, fertilisers, pesticides, and land tracts golf courses require for their "prefect" greens. Heck, with so many people using golf carts, and caddies carrying golf bags, most people playing golf aren't even getting sufficient exercise.

    Mini golf, and basically every other non-motorised sport, are by far much more environmentally friendly then golf.

    In many places, it is known as the sport of the "white old mens club" (figure of speech) or the 1%, because of the restricted club memberships, expensive green fees, and huge variation in equipment costs, which can be in the thousands of dollars for a single decent club.

  • by Afty0r ( 263037 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @06:52AM (#46803927) Homepage

    Wonder why - the most expensive popular sport in existence is losing millions of players, right around the time that the income of the group most associated with playing golf is dipping dramatically...

    Maybe if Sherlock were here he could figure out why?

  • by floobedy ( 3470583 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @07:04AM (#46803955)

    I'm an avid sailor, and the same discussion is being had in the sport of sailing. The sport of sailing is in rapid decline, at least in the US. It's far less popular than it was 30 years ago. Most of the people who do it are baby boomers who will soon retire from it.

    There is great consternation within the sport of sailing about what can be done to save it, but really, nothing can be done. The sport is not appropriate for the times.

    It's not a matter of cost. Sports like golf, sailing, lawn bowling, and other sports which are in rapid decline can be done affordably. Sailing, for example, is cheaper than ever because more and more used sailboats are dumped on the market every year (fiberglass sailboats almost never wear out).

    The pace of life has changed. That is the issue. Young people, who've been reared on dizzyingly fast-paced entertainment such as first-person shooter games, are not thrilled at the idea of racing at five miles per hour (or sometimes less) in a sailboat for four hours. Nor do they find it exciting to play shuffleboard or do golf. By the standards of today, those sports are boring.

    Nothing should be done to make golf or sailing more interesting for younger people. It won't help to make golf holes bigger. The only way to make these sports more interesting is to make them drastically faster paced, which will ruin them for the people who enjoy them now. These sports should just accept unpopularity.

  • by Archtech ( 159117 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @07:18AM (#46803997)

    Golf certainly is frustrating. That's quite deliberate, as it makes excelling very difficult and thus worthwhile. Think of it as like a Scottish martial art... taking years to become fairly proficient, and never being sure of reaching that elusive perfection.

    But golf is also a spiritual discipline. It teaches you self-control, patience, and sportsmanship. Witness the far better behaviour of professional golfers, compared to soccer players and many other sportsmen.

  • by blackraven14250 ( 902843 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @07:53AM (#46804143)
    A sport, by definition, is any form of physical activity that aims to use, maintain and improve physical ability or skills for the purpose of entertainment of participants and/or spectators. If you think walking even factors in to the experience of playing golf, I suggest you go out and try it yourself. It's one of the hardest sports to play well, requiring a mixture of concentration, extreme coordination and practice to even be decent. Walking, which isn't even a required aspect of the sport thanks to these things you may have heard of called "golf carts", isn't even tough - the difficulty is in hitting the ball at the proper trajectory, without slicing it, with the correct amount of power (taking into account which club you're using), most of which is dependent on the course layout. Complaining about walking and being out in the sun is just absurd when the walking part is entirely optional, and is like complaining about the fact that you need to stand on the sideline while playing football (you can sit, either on the grass or on the bench).
  • by Pinky's Brain ( 1158667 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @08:15AM (#46804217)

    For a while it was a middle class game, for a middle class with lots of leisure time. The current remaining middle class works far more than the old middle class.

    Golf is returning to being an upper class game ... but that means much less players and thus less courses.

  • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @08:44AM (#46804371)

    Then golf simply isn't for you, since the time spent on the course (and in the clubhouse afterwards) is what it's all about.

    Really, do you think that the point of the game is to get a small white ball into a small hole several hundreds of yards away? That's the objective; the point is to spend a good time, basically going on an extended walk with other people (nice ones, hopefully), talking, and enjoying not worry about deadlines and performance metrics and the like for once.

    How nice and romantic. It's a pity that joining a country club, paying the greens fees, and the expense of the clubs is the only possible way to do that.

    Your :

    going on an extended walk with other people (nice ones, hopefully)

    Is true enough. Although is "nice" the metric? Everyone I know who is in a Golf country club is not there because the others are "nice" - they are there for the exclusivity, the companionship of others who value being better than other people. Some were nice people, some were definitely not.

    I could have joined locally, but frankly golf is a game for people with a very high boredom threshold, I like being around interesting people, not ones who just happen to be wealthy, but are bores otherwise, and I had other venues in which to network.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21, 2014 @08:51AM (#46804431)

    >reasonable workout
    You sound fat

  • Costs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @09:39AM (#46804863)

    It's more likely the result of fees that are routinely over $100. And to really enjpy the game (be good enough not not get pissed all the time) you need to play at least three times a week.

    Pretty pricey.

  • by operagost ( 62405 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @09:40AM (#46804877) Homepage Journal
    Isn't that kind of like complaining that your softball or flag football league isn't allowed to play at Citizen's Bank Park or Lincoln Financial Field?
  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @10:03AM (#46805047) Homepage

    This kind of proves the first poster's point. YOU cannot play at Augusta National as it is exclusively for the top 1% of the top 1%.

    Allow me to explain the idiocy of what you just said.

    Cars are evil, because only the top 1% of the top 1% can afford a Lamborghini or a Ferrari.

    Houses are evil because only the top 1% of the top 1% can afford lavish mansions.

    Boats are evil because only a select few can afford giant yachts.

    Restaurants are evil because not everybody can afford places which serve foie gras, caviar, and thousand dollar bottles of wine.

    I'm a fairly avid golfer. I have neither the interest, skill, nor the money to play Augusta.

    And do you know what that does in relation to where and when and how I actually do play golf? Not a damned thing.

    Augusta is an extreme example, and while there are some places which are still the domain of rich old white men ... that has nothing at all to do with my ability to play at an affordable course whose price and skill level more closely matches what I can manage.

    You can readily take up golf with $100 worth of used clubs, and play on courses which cost the $20-$30 the poster you replied to mentioned. I know someone who until a year or so ago played on the same clubs he'd gotten as a teenager.

    I have no interest in playing Augusta or any of the crazy courses the pros play -- because they're way beyond my price range and my skill level.

    That there exists examples of courses that the average player will never play on has nothing to do with the rest of golf. And for the rest of us, there's actually quite a lot of affordable golf in many communities.

    For most of us, golf is a game, and a leisure activity. We ignore or are unaware of half of the rules. We play for fun and a little exercise, and to hang out with friends. We watch the pros to realize just how well the game can be played, and then we laugh and go about our business of playing it our way.

    What your saying is akin to saying you shouldn't take up jogging because you'll never make it into the Olympics. The one has nothing at all to do with the other.

  • by johnlcallaway ( 165670 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @10:42AM (#46805447)

    Some of the nicest people I've ever met I've met playing golf. Respectful, courteous, and often have interesting stories to share.

    On the other hand, some of the biggest jerks I've ever heard spout their opinions about an activity they know very little about and probably suck at. I'm sure they feel smug in their own little minds but sound like assholes to everyone else.

The best defense against logic is ignorance.