Jack Nicklaus Endorses 12-hole Course Design
By mustang6560 on 5/18/11
At a charity golf tournament in Tennessee, Jack Nicklaus once again pitched his idea of cutting a round of golf from 18 holes to 12. His idea stems from his concern about the future of golf.
“Since 2006, we’ve lost 20 percent of the women in the game and we’ve lost 20 percent of the juniors in the game,” Nicklaus said. “If you’re the CEO of a corporation and have those numbers, you say, ‘What do I do?’ The professional game is great. The showcase is great.
At first, I thought this was just another silly idea that would attract new golfers at the expense of current golfers. Then Jack made an interesting analogy that I totally agree with.
“The game is so difficult to start with. You take kids. They start basketball at a 6-foot hoop, 7-foot hoop, small ball, big ball.... All the sports work their selves up. In golf, you start with a set of clubs and a hard golf ball and it’s not easy.
I think public courses would benefit the most from a 12-hole golf course because rounds are notoriously slow at municipal courses. On a given Saturday at a given muni course, you can expect the round to take between five and six hours. Even Kevin Na plays faster than that!

The golf purists would argue against a 12-hole setup. I don't think 12-hole golf courses will start popping up anytime soon, but I am not opposed to the idea like I originally thought I would be. My only concern would be regarding a golfers handicap. Would you reduce it by a third because you're only playing two-thirds of a round of golf? How would this affect course handicap and rating and slope?

I think the best idea would be to keep the 18 hole setup up, but make a 12-hole scorecard like Jack did at Muirfield and the Bear's Club. The trick is the course designer would have to make it so the 12th hole would finish at or near the clubhouse. That way, the golfers can decide if they want to play all 18 holes or just 12.

According to Jack, "My seniors are loving [the 12 hole setup]".

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photo by Keith Allison

[ comments ]
Nethmonkey says:
what's wrong with just playing 9...
billbadaz says:
exactly, what is wrong with 9? most golf leagues are 9 hole golf leagues. If kids want to play more, they have this thing called the PAR 3 course. Works pretty well...
bkuehn1952 says:
So what I am I missing? You do not have time to play 18 holes. Or eighteen holes and a score of 127 is too much. Play 9! Why create a 12-hole course when essentially you have two 9-hole courses already?

I never take the grandkids out for 18 holes. We always play nine. Any activity that takes longer than 2 to 2.5 hours is going to lose their interest.

I suppose there are a few people that will say 9 is just not quite enough but 18 is too much. I guess Jack can cater to them.
guzzlingil says:
a 12 hole course makes no sense....
dartboss04 says:
i'm sorry jack...seems asinine to me...i'm with the other guys...just play 9 or play 18 at a par 3 or executive course...
Kurt the Knife says:
Jack's demented
birdieXris says:
Jack's losing it for sure. "hey everybody, this sport we've been playing for a couple hundred years as-is seems to not be for everyone. Let's completely change it". No no no no. We're not talking about a rule here or there that is outdated, we're talking about the entire game. changing the number of holes is just not the answer. Besides, then golf channel will have to change the name of the show to the "13th hole"--- thats' just dumb.
mjaber says:
You don't need fewer holes... you need more tee boxes, or more "executive" courses
billbadaz says:
we could always just start making courses like caddy shack 2.... worst friggin movie ever!
falcon50driver says:
12 beers in a case, 12 hours in a day, coincidence? We don't need fewer holes, just more beers per case.
Kurt the Knife says:
@ merlin

Methinks ur cases of beer a bit meager ( I thot there was 24 ) as also the length of ur day.
Unless ur on Neptune.
Backquak says:
Kurt I do believe it goes 24 beers in a case, 24 hours in a day, here we buy 18 packs cause there are 18 holes, :)
Neo says:
I actually like the idea, but I think 18 holes gets a little tiresome and 9 is too few.

The fact is, some idiots will play whatever is put in front of them. Like the two dudes I joined up with a couple weeks ago playing from the back tees. 73/135 rating at almost 6800 yards. These two were just "trying to break 100". That's why golf is slow my friends. I did pretty well, but the fact that they didn't belong back there was lost on them.
Torleif Sorenson says:
IMHO the problem can be addressed without fundamentally altering the game; I interviewed golf course architect Kevin Norby a couple of years ago and he hit the nail on the head: "Lately, we've been building some of these longer, more challenging courses and not too many that appeal to the average golfer."

The fact that those two testosterone-fueled dolts who will never break 100 played from the tips anyway, and dragged out Neo's round, shows that there are a lot of uneducated people screwing up things for everybody else. Otherwise, the vigilance must come first at the course, with marshals actually willing to do their job.
Agustin says:
@Neo - 73/135/6800... Piece of cake... try 75.9/144/7544 ;) It's a Nicklaus signature course... and believe me after 12 from the tips you do feel like crying and going home. LOL.
TeT says:
3 six hole setups... pick your 12 or go full 18
Kurt the Knife says:
My instructor advises everyone play from the red tees until they can break 100. then move back to the white ones until you break 90.
I can't play from the red cuz my buddies make fun of me.
gpickin says:
I guess you can play from the Red tees, but you better look good in a skirt.
I think if you have nice par 3 courses, with 9 and 18 options... there isn't a need for more courses.
I think regular golfers would only play 12 if they have a lot of space for faster rounds, and I think if they didn't have support for regular golfers, they wouldn't be profitable anyways.
I get it, but they can still walk off after 12. 9 should be plenty though.
wdelnero says:
I thought they created executive courses and par 3 courses to appeal to those who are learning, or those who don't have the time to play a full 18...
legitimatebeef says:
@gpickin: that is just the kind of attitude that keeps people from playing the appropriate tees. Courses ought to stop calling them "women's tee's" and simply call them forward tee's. Or else why don't we call the blue tee's the "man's tee" and the black tee's "manly man's tee". Laugh about it all you want, ha ha, but if more people, men included played from the forward tee's...we would all be better off. Sad though because this is one of those dead simple, can't fail solutions that will never, ever, ever gain traction. I would bet the farm on it. You might as well call them the "Homo tees" because no male golfer is ever going to go there far as I can tell.
Banker85 says:
Why not just make easier courses. problem solved.
Werepuppie says:
It is not usually the lenght that causes slow play.If you take 5 chips from 20yds out how does a shorter course help?
goodies1 says:
I think you have your 18 set up for tournaments and championships or major evens but you can have a 12 hole event. Golflink is changing where it saves the 9 holes you play then combines them the next time you play. 12 holes this is good for time poor players who have families and work commitments. 9 holes seems to short and well 18 you get over it. Heyfield Golf Club has a good set up where you can play the chicken run in 12 holes they have taken 6 holes each side of the 18 hole course and made a card up. It can be done. I guess also to smaller clubs that are struggling need to look at maybe making the course less holes for maintenance issues (why have 18 sub standard holes due to a lack of money or volunteers when you can have 12 lush holes and maintained in budget). Every sport has changed and is growing because they are looking at change, tradition is the foundation and important but it can be the demise so we need a balance of tradition and forward thinking.
jgoodie says:
At Heyfield Golf Club we have an 18 hole course and with in that 18 hole golf course we have made two 12 hole loop courses with each one having a 6 hole loop. The older guys who struggle to get around and 18 and believe 9 isn't enough play one 12 holes tues and thurs in their chicken run and then the other 12 holes the week after. If your a beginner then there is 6 hole loops you can do as well. The 6, 12 hole courses have been shortened to make it more enjoyable and so the older guys in the club can still be competitive.
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