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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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  • Not a fan, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MidnightBrewer ( 97195 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @06:27AM (#46803833)

    Golf is about getting your balls into the hole in as few strokes as possible. It's as simple as that.

    I'm not a golf guy, but I can appreciate that the original game is fine the way it is. Seriously, 15-inch holes aren't going to magically enable you to get a hole-in-one. The challenge of hitting the traditional hole is something I respect; making it feel like I have training wheels on to pander to me is just going to alienate me further. I think most prefer things tight, not loose. You have to feel like you've succeeded.

  • Softball (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LMariachi ( 86077 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @07:18AM (#46803995) Journal

    15" holes seem pretty ridiculous, considering you still have to get to the green. Accurate drives and knowing how to deal with situational shots comprise at least half the difficulty of golf. Nobody takes a mulligan on a missed putt, they take them when they slice a shot onto the next fairway over or into a water hazard or whiff it entirely and launch a clump of divot instead of the ball.

    But no one derides amateur softball players for not hitting 85 mph pitches or being able to throw out a runner at first with a bullet from 130' away. What might make golf more accessible is building smaller 9-hole courses heavy on par-threes with more forgiving hazards and flatter greens. Less of a time commitment, cheaper due to faster turnover... Change the name somewhat (Golf-lite? Softgolf?) so as to defuse objections from people who want to maintain “pure golf’s” identity as is.

  • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @09:31AM (#46804801) Homepage
    I don't know about calling it a sport still. For me, it falls into the same categorization as bowling, darts, and billiards. That isn't to say that golf, along with those other sports don't require a huge amount of skill, but I would hesitate to lump them into the same category as soccer, basketball, hockey, cycling, running, and other more physically exerting sports. This same kind of thing comes up when equating Starcraft with real sports, calling it an e-sport. Sure there are certain physical characteristics one must possess, but that doesn't mean it should be lumped into the same category.

    Also, in the PGA, they are not allowed golf carts. There was, as far as I'm aware, only a single golfer [] allowed to use a golf cart, because he had a physical disability. So, although golf carts may be used by amateurs and weekend warriors, that doesn't really mean it's part of the game. Just as there are oversized clubs that once can use that aren't tournament legal. If players want to make up their own rules amongst themselves, nobody is going to stop them. In recreational golf, it's not uncommon for players to take a mulligan, or stop counting when they get more than a double bogey.

    If anything people aren't leaving because the game is too hard, but because the game is just too expensive. People have found other things to spend their money on. I've heard that cycling is turning into the new golf. Sure you can spend tons of money on the equipment, just like golf, but it's free once you own the equipment. People see very little value in paying for country club memberships as many of the people who now have money are don't care about the whole socialization aspect of it.
  • by Kr1ll1n ( 579971 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @09:33AM (#46804819)

    I am a disc golfer. I have met many traditional golfers that have left their game and become disc golfers.
    Here are three of the reasons they have cited as why;

    * More laid back players\atmosphere
    * Majority of courses have zero green fees
    * More family oriented
    * Only takes 1-2hrs to play a round
    * Costs of gear is a fraction of the alternative
    * Costs to be in the PDGA is much cheaper than the PGA

    Translation is that some golfers convert to disc golf because it is much cheaper, more laid back, and they can get their whole family involved.

  • by tsqr ( 808554 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @10:02AM (#46805033)

    whats your definition of a sport?

    A game in which the spectators are able to scream at the top of their lungs, throw cups of beer at the officials, blast air horns, toot vuvuzelas, and/or wave fun noodles while the contestants are trying to concentrate on scoring points. Golf, tennis, and bowling are examples of competitive games that could be considered sports if one or more of these elements were present.

  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @10:53AM (#46805555) Homepage Journal

    Darts is the weirdest thing to be honest. People will consider archery and shooting sports, but not darts. I think it's because it seems so random to a beginner, but when you get deeper into it, it becomes pretty clear that it's all about fine motor skill.

    And maths and strategy. You're left with a score and need to get to zero with the last dart hitting a double, so you need to not only know what combinations will get you there, but also which ones will do the least amount of damage if you miss, and redo your strategy if you miss or a dart blocks your strike zone.
    It's as much in your head as it is in your aim, arm and hand.

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson