Saturday, 22 September 2007

Why eighteen holes?

After playing Shiskine (on the Isle of Arran), Andrew Grieg decides that twelve holes is a much more sensible length for a golf course than eighteen. At the risk of being cast as a complete golf heretic, I think he has a point. An eighteen-hole round, as we who play on crowded English courses know only too well, can take a hell of a long time, but playing nine only ever feels like a cup half empty (hence nine-hole courses are usually played around twice). Last year we had a tour of the Old Course at St. Andrews where our guide explained that eighteen holes was an arbitrary length and before 1858 courses could be of any length.
So in our time-poor society, who's for a rethink? A course I know returns to the club-house at the fifteenth, and that always feels a pretty good time to stop. I reckon to have 14 or 15 holes would knock an hour off most rounds. Result? time for more rounds, and maybe room for more courses.

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