The “Short” Course – is it worth your time?

In today’s time-strapped society it seems more and more golfers are playing less or giving up the game. To counter this, an emphasis in golf course design and renovation in recent years has been to focus on designing courses that can be played more easily and faster. This includes nine-hole, executive and par three courses. The rationale is, if people don’t have 5 or 6 hours to play a round of golf, maybe they have 1.5 – 3 hours to spare and we can reverse the trend in golfer participation.

Although there has been a lot of talk about developing more “short” courses, other than those aligned with the First Tee or Links Across America, I have seen very few actually built. I personally learned the game on a nine-hole, executive-length course in Newport News, Virginia (since converted into a “regulation length” course) and felt it was a perfect, low-pressure introduction to the game.

I truly believe that more par three, executive and nine-hole courses are needed to grow the game of golf. While these courses are great for juniors, seniors and beginners, a well designed par three, executive or nine-hole course can also be a great test for better players. These courses are fantastic opportunities for moms and dads to play with their kids, while not devouring their entire day. Golf course designers have recently come up with some creative short course design concepts to increase playing options and variety. I am hopeful that we see these types of courses built.

The question is: Are you inclined to play more rounds of golf if there are short course or nine-hole options in your area? Please chime in with your thoughts on the subject.

David Johnson

David Johnson Golf Design, LLC