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Thoughts on short 9 hole courses / beginner courses - what's a good score?

HonestPlayerHonestPlayer Members Posts: 264 ✭✭✭✭
edited Aug 19, 2019 3:45am in Instruction & Academy #1

Hi - I was looking for thoughts about short courses / beginner courses.

Say for example a par 33 course that plays 2100 with no par 5s - playing it twice par 66 4200. But no super short holes, all over 80 yards none longer than 350 yards - small greens that are well protected by elevation changes, bunkers or trees depending on the hole - some water hazards in play.

I just wondered what a scratch golfer would expect to shoot on a course like that?

I play a short course that is 2100 9 holes for practice sometimes and an 18 hole course that plays 6400. But I wondered really how to compare the courses and my scores on them. Both were designed by a very well known course designer with a good reputation.

Thanks

HP

Most birdies in a round in 2019 - 3
Holes in ones career - 1
Split Grip Birdie COUNTER - 1

Comments

  • N0rs3manN0rs3man Members Posts: 104 ✭✭✭
    edited Aug 19, 2019 4:00am #2

    Many factors. Alot of the time distance doesn't change your basic score much. Until you are hitting driver/long iron into par 4s. A solid short game will determine much of your score assuming drives are in bounds. For practice on the short course you could use a club that's 100 yards shorter off the tee box than your driver to "add distance" each hole.

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  • Eric267Eric267 North Lake TahoeMembers Posts: 107 ✭✭✭

    Is the course rated? If so the first numbers are what a scratch should shoot on average.

    If you have a handicap plug it in here with the slope from each course and it will give you your course handicap. https://www.usga.org/course-handicap-calculator.html

    If you don't have one download a free handicap app to your phone and start plugging in your scores from both courses and you can figure it out after you have at least 5 18 hole scores.

  • Johnny BiarritzJohnny Biarritz Members Posts: 521 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Use statistics other than the raw 9 or 18 hole score. Track proximity to the hole for approaches. Track club used for approaches. Fairways hit and club used off the tee. To echo the second post, unless you're lights-out with wedges and putting, the shorter distance isn't going to change a lot, maybe a stroke or two.

  • HatsForBatsHatsForBats Members Posts: 1,794 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    See if the courses are rated - https://ncrdb.usga.org/NCRDB/NCRListing.aspx

    Then as mentioned in post #3 start keeping a handicap. The differentials from each score are what you can use for comparing rounds.

  • HonestPlayerHonestPlayer Members Posts: 264 ✭✭✭✭

    Thanks guys you were right, they are both rated. The short course is rated way too easy in my view compared to the 6400 course, but it is what it is - who am I to argue. I'll try the app thing.

    Most birdies in a round in 2019 - 3
    Holes in ones career - 1
    Split Grip Birdie COUNTER - 1

  • raynorfan1raynorfan1 Members Posts: 3,685 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Course rating on a Par 33 / 2100 yard 9 hole course is going to be really low. Figure that most of your Par 4's are going to be ~300 yards long. A scratch golfer (by definition) hits his tee shot 250 yards on average, so you've got an average approach shot of 50 yards. Basically pitch and putt; it wouldn't surprise me if the rating was sub 30.

  • HonestPlayerHonestPlayer Members Posts: 264 ✭✭✭✭
    edited Aug 19, 2019 1:42pm #8

    @raynorfan1 said:
    Course rating on a Par 33 / 2100 yard 9 hole course is going to be really low. Figure that most of your Par 4's are going to be ~300 yards long. A scratch golfer (by definition) hits his tee shot 250 yards on average, so you've got an average approach shot of 50 yards. Basically pitch and putt; it wouldn't surprise me if the rating was sub 30.

    It's 30. It's a tight and protected course. Most days it's very windy, I think that makes the rating slightly off. I think that's why I'm rating it harder in my head, normal course conditions are 15-20 mph winds. The course is on elevated sloped land that dips from one side of the course to the other dramatically both north to south and east to west. It's on a slant. Interesting course for such a low yardage.

    Most birdies in a round in 2019 - 3
    Holes in ones career - 1
    Split Grip Birdie COUNTER - 1

  • SNIPERBBBSNIPERBBB Hit Ball Hard SE OhioMembers Posts: 2,773 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    40 would be a good score for a beginner. It would show that you can get the ball airborne and in play with irons and some semblance of a short game.

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  • raynorfan1raynorfan1 Members Posts: 3,685 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @HonestPlayer said:

    @raynorfan1 said:
    Course rating on a Par 33 / 2100 yard 9 hole course is going to be really low. Figure that most of your Par 4's are going to be ~300 yards long. A scratch golfer (by definition) hits his tee shot 250 yards on average, so you've got an average approach shot of 50 yards. Basically pitch and putt; it wouldn't surprise me if the rating was sub 30.

    It's 30. It's a tight and protected course. Most days it's very windy, I think that makes the rating slightly off. I think that's why I'm rating it harder in my head, normal course conditions are 15-20 mph winds. The course is on elevated sloped land that dips from one side of the course to the other dramatically both north to south and east to west. It's on a slant. Interesting course for such a low yardage.

    Sure, but shortness mitigates a lot of that. Figure a scratch golfer could get around the Par 4's hitting 5 iron / pitching wedge. The course would have to be pretty tricked up for that to be challenging.

  • PepperturboPepperturbo Midwest and SouthwestMembers Posts: 15,924 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Not scratch but 2-3. Instead of range practice, once to twice a month play a couple of challenging 3500-4500 yard Executive courses, using irons ONLY. Typically shoot 1 under to 2 over par. Par 3 holes range from 100 yards to 190 yards and Par 4's are 310-350 yards. IMO these type courses are excellent for iron and wedge practice.

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  • Johnny BiarritzJohnny Biarritz Members Posts: 521 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @raynorfan1 said:

    @HonestPlayer said:

    @raynorfan1 said:
    Course rating on a Par 33 / 2100 yard 9 hole course is going to be really low. Figure that most of your Par 4's are going to be ~300 yards long. A scratch golfer (by definition) hits his tee shot 250 yards on average, so you've got an average approach shot of 50 yards. Basically pitch and putt; it wouldn't surprise me if the rating was sub 30.

    It's 30. It's a tight and protected course. Most days it's very windy, I think that makes the rating slightly off. I think that's why I'm rating it harder in my head, normal course conditions are 15-20 mph winds. The course is on elevated sloped land that dips from one side of the course to the other dramatically both north to south and east to west. It's on a slant. Interesting course for such a low yardage.

    Sure, but shortness mitigates a lot of that. Figure a scratch golfer could get around the Par 4's hitting 5 iron / pitching wedge. The course would have to be pretty tricked up for that to be challenging.

    Challenge and a course rating/slope being skewed a bit too easy are different things. I played a course the other day that's 5480 yards, par 68, rating 64.6, and slope 99. I have to shoot 68 to shoot my handicap. That's not all that easy. Compare that to the Black at Bethpage...I can shoot 83 and shoot my handicap. I've played the Black about 30 times, I'll say it's far easier for me to shoot 83 at the Black than 68 at the other place. So, hitting 5 iron-Wedge isn't "hard" but it's not exactly a guaranteed birdie either.

  • morganmonroemorganmonroe At my desk.Members Posts: 379 ✭✭✭✭

    Short course is a great way to start.

    The first golf hole I ever played was 35 years ago at a pitch-n-putt par 3 course. Hit a half swing 5 iron from 130 to the fringe. Chipped to 2' and made par. I thought, "What's so hard about this?"
    Little did I know. . .

  • raynorfan1raynorfan1 Members Posts: 3,685 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @morganmonroe said:
    Short course is a great way to start.

    The first golf hole I ever played was 35 years ago at a pitch-n-putt par 3 course. Hit a half swing 5 iron from 130 to the fringe. Chipped to 2' and made par. I thought, "What's so hard about this?"
    Little did I know. . .

    True. The evaporation of short, small, "executive" courses is one of the things that IMO is at the core of the game eroding. These little courses used to be the perfect place to learn the game or for duffers to go out and knock the ball around.

  • Zengolfer36Zengolfer36 Columbus, OHMembers Posts: 134 ✭✭✭

    Theres an executive course not far from my house that I like playing because its quick and cheap. Its a par 30 and is 1789 yards long from the white tees.
    I like it because it has lots of medium length par 3s (150ish yards) but has a coupe short par 4s (300-330 yards). Its a fun course, not overly challenging but it does demand precise approach shots and some measure of control with the driver or 3-wood. What I really like is that if you arent being held up by slow players, you can play it in less than 90 minutes and the greens fees are only $13. Its often a welcome change of pace from the $60ish greens fees I normally play and the 4+ hour rounds.

  • larrybudlarrybud Members Posts: 11,426 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @morganmonroe said:
    Short course is a great way to start.

    The first golf hole I ever played was 35 years ago at a pitch-n-putt par 3 course. Hit a half swing 5 iron from 130 to the fringe. Chipped to 2' and made par. I thought, "What's so hard about this?"
    Little did I know. . .

    A short course is a great way to keep sharp for experienced players too! Until 2-3 years ago, we had a short course a couple of miles from our house. My wife learned to play on this course. There were 3 holes between 200-250 yards, and the other 6 were < 115. With really small greens. I'm talking about 10 yards in diameter (most were a circle). I had to be really accurate with my wedges, and it paid off on the full course. Any time I'd get to a course with a 80-100 yard shot, I could "see" the small green around the hole, and my focus got really tight on those shots.

    Plus it was only 7 bucks to play, much more fun than the driving range!

    Unfortunately they bulldozed that course and it's full size cousin for housing.

  • BuzzkillBuzzkill Marshals Posts: 6,919 mod
    edited Aug 20, 2019 12:59am #17

    @Pepperturbo said:
    Not scratch but 2-3. Instead of range practice, once to twice a month play a couple of challenging 3500-4500 yard Executive courses, using irons ONLY. Typically shoot 1 under to 2 over par. Par 3 holes range from 100 yards to 190 yards and Par 4's are 310-350 yards. IMO these type courses are excellent for iron and wedge practice.

    I play a 1650 yarder, 9 hole course with 29/72 rating daily and typically shoot your posted scores. Agree and keeps my game sharp!

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  • MidwestGolfBumMidwestGolfBum Corporate Golfer Extraordinaire MSN/MKE/DSMMembers Posts: 1,418 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    A short course is a really good way to get out and play the game for a newer person to golf. It lets them hit more clubs in the bag while not having to feel intimidated by the length of some of the longer holes on a more traditional 18 hole layout. It's also a place that teaches you how to score as a better player. You can make the course as long or as short as you need or want to work on things.

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  • JJK947JJK947 Members Posts: 3,210 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @raynorfan1 said:

    @HonestPlayer said:

    @raynorfan1 said:
    Course rating on a Par 33 / 2100 yard 9 hole course is going to be really low. Figure that most of your Par 4's are going to be ~300 yards long. A scratch golfer (by definition) hits his tee shot 250 yards on average, so you've got an average approach shot of 50 yards. Basically pitch and putt; it wouldn't surprise me if the rating was sub 30.

    It's 30. It's a tight and protected course. Most days it's very windy, I think that makes the rating slightly off. I think that's why I'm rating it harder in my head, normal course conditions are 15-20 mph winds. The course is on elevated sloped land that dips from one side of the course to the other dramatically both north to south and east to west. It's on a slant. Interesting course for such a low yardage.

    Sure, but shortness mitigates a lot of that. Figure a scratch golfer could get around the Par 4's hitting 5 iron / pitching wedge. The course would have to be pretty tricked up for that to be challenging.

    Exactly. I would also contend that the scratch definition is a little outdated. 250 would be a mediocre to poor drive for almost every scratch I've played with. And, like you said, that course would have to be super tricked out to present any challenge where the average par 4 is 300. It may still present some challenges to higher handicaps or those who struggle with course management. But from a scratch perspective, I'm licking my chops every time I see a hole that short regardless of the conditions or layout.

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  • Mikey5eMikey5e Members Posts: 969 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I wouldn't worry about score as much as how consistently I am hitting the ball.

  • physasstphysasst Rochester, MNMembers Posts: 101 ✭✭✭

    I'm a 17 cap, and I play a par 3 Executive Course frequently during the week. Easier to get on, and I can usually walk and play 9 holes in under an hour. It's a par 29 with 2 par 4's, one of which is drivable (if you cut the corner over the trees) with a 3 wood. I think it is great practice for working on ballstriking, no fat or thin shots, and working on short game. One of the reasons that chipping around the green is probably my strongest area is due to this practice. I typically shoot 34-35 on this course...as with ANY golf course, sometimes worse, sometimes better. Best was a 30. I don't think of these courses as competitive golf, but rather practice. If you approach it with that mentality and focus more on shot making and ballstriking, you can get a LOT out of these short courses in a short amount of time. YMMV.

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  • HatsForBatsHatsForBats Members Posts: 1,794 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    There is a short course of par 65 fairly close to me and they do a pretty nice job of keeping the greens in great shape. I would have played there more often but full length courses in the same general area could be played for 5% to 15% more for the same time/day. Unless I was with someone very new to the game or that had monetary restrictions I never eneded up there.

  • HonestPlayerHonestPlayer Members Posts: 264 ✭✭✭✭
    edited Aug 20, 2019 7:30pm #23

    @morganmonroe said:

    Short course is a great way to start.

    The first golf hole I ever played was 35 years ago at a pitch-n-putt par 3 course. Hit a half swing 5 iron from 130 to the fringe. Chipped to 2' and made par. I thought, "What's so hard about this?"
    Little did I know. . .

    I’m more intermediate my cap is about 12 currently my ever best round on a 6000+ course is 74. I’m just not co dependant and enjoy golf, so I go out sometimes alone to practice and improve on short courses. Found short courses to be really fun - more pars and birdies even if the slope/rating is different, quieter, faster to play. I think they are great.

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  • Mikey5eMikey5e Members Posts: 969 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @physasst said:
    I'm a 17 cap, and I play a par 3 Executive Course frequently during the week. Easier to get on, and I can usually walk and play 9 holes in under an hour. It's a par 29 with 2 par 4's, one of which is drivable (if you cut the corner over the trees) with a 3 wood. I think it is great practice for working on ballstriking, no fat or thin shots, and working on short game. One of the reasons that chipping around the green is probably my strongest area is due to this practice. I typically shoot 34-35 on this course...as with ANY golf course, sometimes worse, sometimes better. Best was a 30. I don't think of these courses as competitive golf, but rather practice. If you approach it with that mentality and focus more on shot making and ballstriking, you can get a LOT out of these short courses in a short amount of time. YMMV.

    Absolutely, and when it is really slow you can play two or three balls on your approach shots. It may be a short course but the short game is where golfers lose so many strokes.

  • MontanagolfMontanagolf Members Posts: 95 ✭✭✭

    I played a short course a lot when I lived in Missoula. Fun course, not too tough & had a few par 4 holes. Best part for me was my wife enjoyed it, so we played together. That was BK though (before Kid)...

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