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Is Michael Jordan's new course the future of course design?

 King_Slender ·  
King_SlenderKing_Slender Members  1527WRX Points: 312Posts: 1,527 Platinum Tees
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Forgot I read this in last month's Golf Digest, but it reminded me of an idea I had about the future of golf course design.

One of the criticisms of growing the game is that "it takes too long to play." Personally, I love that golf allows you to get away for 1/2 day, but the design of Jordan's course is unique. Courses could get a lot more casual play if they were designed in 3 or 6 hole loops so you could just get in a few holes if you wanted.

Jordan can obviously do with his land what he wants, but I think there is real opportunity to give people the chance to play real golf in 3/6/9/18 hole increments.

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  • farmerfarmer Members  8893WRX Points: 1,327Posts: 8,893 Titanium Tees
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    A really neat idea, well done , but it raises the question: Do really rich guys go out after work for a quick 3,6, 9 holes?

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  • Z1ggy16Z1ggy16 Members  9786WRX Points: 1,671Posts: 9,786 Titanium Tees
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    Agreed. I often find myself playing 9, and I'll go play 2-3x per week instead of being out for many many hours for 18.

    Also, I can usually shoot lower scores 9 holes at a time as opposed to playing 18 and comparing going out vs coming in to my 9 hole only.

    If there was a course really close to my house that offered 6 holes... I'd probably go every single day.

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  • MtlJeffMtlJeff MontrealMembers  29920WRX Points: 2,914Handicap: 0.0Posts: 29,920 Titanium Tees
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    I do think this is a good concept. It may be tough to figure out the logistics of managing this if you are a local course....but as someone who has played a ton after work, you don't always have time for 18, and when hole 12 is like 5 miles from the clubhouse....

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  • King_SlenderKing_Slender Members  1527WRX Points: 312Posts: 1,527 Platinum Tees
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    If you're a private club member, it's something you can do, but if you're not a club member, then really you're stuck playing 9 or 18 and the requisite time that comes with it. If, however, you could get out for 40 minutes and get 3 holes in, I think a lot of people would do it.


    I think the way to do it is that you loop 1-3 back to the clubhouse and then 4-9 back to the clubhouse and then a normal 9-hole back 9. This gives a course options to put people out for 3, 6, 9, or 18 holes, and there would be some logistics to it, but I think it could work. Imagine if greens fees were something like:

    3 - $10

    6 - $20

    9 - $25

    18 - $45

    If you had an hour, there are days you'd probably rather go play a few holes than hit a bucket of balls and it would be a good way to get kids into the game playing 3 or 6 holes at a time without the intimidation of having to go play 9 or 18 holes.

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  • Hawkeye77Hawkeye77 IowaClubWRX  21724WRX Points: 5,718Posts: 21,724 ClubWRX
    Joined:  edited May 4, 2020 9:57pm #6

    My guess is it works for him because of the unique situation.

    Trying to run a tee sheet would be a nightmare, but not a lot of 3 and 6 holers likely to make the room for them worth the loss of the 9 or 18 hole rounds you gave up letting them take up a tee time if you are busy and disappear shortly thereafter. You don't design a course with the intent being you aren't going to make money so some 3 hole or 6 hole rounds will fill in the gaps, or at least that would seem unreasonably risky.

    I guess as a "member" it would be convenient to go out and play a quick 3 or 6, but you already can anyway (and you are already a "member" so not a green fee generator - I think "members" are the folks most likely to take advantage) - seems like convenience for getting off the course for a very few vs. making any real money designing a course to accommodate that behavior - but I don't know anything about running one. ;-)

    I play a lot of 9 hole rounds after work, but when sun allows a lot of 18 hole ones as well, but I grew up until I was 15 playing a couple of 9 hole courses and it was great. Had no issues taking the kids out for just a few holes when they were young, didn't have to be 9, no big deal.

    I'd love to see a nice range facility with a nice little three hole course to play as part of that (if it was part of my dream ranch I might never play anywhere else!) - but I'm sure if that could make any real money they'd be everywhere.

    But again, I've never run a course.

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  • WoodersonWooderson Members  2119WRX Points: 235Handicap: 13Posts: 2,119 Platinum Tees
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    I've always thought if golf had been invented as a 9 hole or 12 hole round we would be in much better shape. Would take the pros moving to that to ever get any traction with average Joe's.

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  • jvincentjvincent Members  1718WRX Points: 981Posts: 1,718 Platinum Tees
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    It's not really rocket science to do this. It just needs to be planned out and has to fit the course routing.

    At my club after the 12th green you can turn left and you are right at the club house. Or you can play 13 and 14 and then turn right and you can finish your round by turning right when you leave the 14th green.

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  • az2auaz2au Scottsdale, AZ/New York, NYUnregistered  2302WRX Points: 463Handicap: 4.8Posts: 2,302 Platinum Tees
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    No. This isn't a thing and likely never will be. Too many logistical issues with trying to change the holes played by each player. At a very exclusive private club? Sure. Happens all of the time. In the rest of the world. No.

    Trying to fix golf is a waste of time. Golf is what it is. Let's all be glad for that.

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  • cardoustiecardoustie haha, we don't play for 5's Tasmania to CanadaMembers  14063WRX Points: 2,874Handicap: 3.1Posts: 14,063 Titanium Tees
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    Yup, my club you can leave after 3, 9, 11, 14 .. and of course 18

    My old club was similar, out after 7, 9, 12, 16, 18

    looping back routing is the way to go, they don’t need to be multiples of 3’s ... in my opinion ...ymmv

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  • az2auaz2au Scottsdale, AZ/New York, NYUnregistered  2302WRX Points: 463Handicap: 4.8Posts: 2,302 Platinum Tees
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    Let me tell you why I say that it isn't a thing. At one of the places I belong to there are two potential 5 holes loops, two 3 hole loops and a 6 hole loop. I've been a member there for 10+ years. I've never, not even once, heard of anyone playing it that way. I've heard many people discuss the possibilities of it but every time I've asked if they've actually done it the answer is always something like, "nah, if I'm out here I might as well play (9 or 18) holes." People just don't do it. 3 holes isn't worth the time to go, get your clubs out and play. That's a short range session.

    I'm sure someone here has done, probably several, at courses across the country / world but I've discussed this with several avid, very busy golfers in my life and I've never had a single one tell me that they've done it.

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  • DancinDancin Members  410WRX Points: 139Handicap: 8Posts: 410 Greens
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    There's a 3.5 hole loop at my course I've done multiple times, but it's always after playing 18 or more holes where I wanted to play more, but not a full 9.

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  • Nels55Nels55 Members  501WRX Points: 267Handicap: 6.8Posts: 501 Golden Tee
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    I have an annual at my course and I have played a 3 or 7 hole loop after work a number of times and I have noticed a few other golfers doing the same every now and then. It was a great way to practice different shots as the course was pretty empty late in the afternoons. I am retired now but I will most likely get in a few holes the same way on weather breaks during rainy days in the future.

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  • tideridertiderider Members  3182WRX Points: 2,201Handicap: 5ishPosts: 3,182 Titanium Tees
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    if you're rich, you can have/play any kind of golf course you want ...


    most golfers are not rich ...

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  • Hawkeye77Hawkeye77 IowaClubWRX  21724WRX Points: 5,718Posts: 21,724 ClubWRX
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    To echo another comment - our course isn't really set up with anything back to the clubhouse except 9 and 18.

    If I'm walking and the course isn't busy, my favorite "route" is 10, 11, 12, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 18 - a mixed 9 holes that is a quicker walk and includes my favorite holes.

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  • Jag80Jag80 Lefty Boomers  726WRX Points: 101Handicap: WTF?Posts: 726 Golden Tee
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    My local muni is routed where I can play 1,2,3,4 and skip to 14 with a short walk. Play 14-18 and be done. Never really played it that way as it get tons of play. Maybe one afternoon I'll try it and see how it goes.

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  • JunglelandJungleland Members  624WRX Points: 124Handicap: 9Posts: 624 Golden Tee
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    I used to belong to a club where 1-3 came back to the clubhouse. You played a 5, 4, & a 3. In the summer I’d play the “horseshoe” before dark a few nights a week.

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  • farmerfarmer Members  8893WRX Points: 1,327Posts: 8,893 Titanium Tees
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    We have a 4-5 hole loop that winds up at the clubhouse. In the summer, it is very possible to go out at 8:00, play this loop and finish before dark. I've done it a little, but I know a few who do it regularly.

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  • 596596 Lakeland, FLMembers  3895WRX Points: 390Posts: 3,895 Titanium Tees
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    My course has a few options of playing less then 9. Many turns of 2, 3 , 4 and 5. It's a 27 hole course so there are many options. I've played as few as 2 holes sometimes as I was recovering from hip replacement. It was awesome just being out there walking again, if only for 2 holes.

    I can see the shorter rounds working very well at a private club with limited play. But at our course it could be a disaster. We have many days of over 300 rounds and a yearly average of near 70,000.

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  • smashdnsmashdn Let's cut them trees down. Members  2635WRX Points: 1,041Posts: 2,635 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  edited May 6, 2020 11:54am #20

    "...designed in 3 or 6 hole loops..."


    It is hard from a space standpoint to get everything starting and ending up near the club house. With returning nines, you have to get four holes and a parking lot and potentially a practice green and a practice range in close proximity. Adding much more than that you will have some logistical issues. Ten pounds in a five pound sack so to speak.

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  • cardoustiecardoustie haha, we don't play for 5's Tasmania to CanadaMembers  14063WRX Points: 2,874Handicap: 3.1Posts: 14,063 Titanium Tees
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    At my club, it is VERY common to have 3 or 4 guys on the range later in the evening .. say 7:00 onwards .... and then we go play 3 holes for money … or more . .depends on the presses and daylight

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  • farmerfarmer Members  8893WRX Points: 1,327Posts: 8,893 Titanium Tees
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    This just doesn't seem like the kind of place where members go just to fool around a little. VERY exclusive, VERY expensive and really casual play are not usually in the same conversation. As a disclaimer, I am NOT rich and do not hang around with really rich people.

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  • 1puttTUT1puttTUT Lefty with occasional game Members  3759WRX Points: 354Handicap: 3.8Posts: 3,759 Titanium Tees
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    Most private club guys have time to play, otherwise they wouldn't waste their money on a membership.

    Ideally, on a public course you would have your normal 18, and then three separate holes where you could do 3/6/9 hole loops, but most existing courses don't have that option. Maybe it will be a thing in 50 years?

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  • flip flappyflip flappy Members  1027WRX Points: 198Posts: 1,027 Platinum Tees
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    Same here but usually after we have played 27 or gone off the back first, I like to hit the 3 hole loop of 16,17, & 18. Par 5, par 3 and par 5. There is a creek around 290 from the tee and a pond in front of the green on 18. Best hole on the course. Can't get enough of it. What does the 3.5 hole loop that you speak of consist of?

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  • J13J13 Dad golf MarylandMembers  16611WRX Points: 1,622Handicap: +1.6Posts: 16,611 Titanium Tees
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    Love this setup and I play a modified loop all the time during the week. Courses in the future will have to be more considerate of land and water usage so it all makes sense.

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  • az2auaz2au Scottsdale, AZ/New York, NYUnregistered  2302WRX Points: 463Handicap: 4.8Posts: 2,302 Platinum Tees
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    I don’t understand your comment. If you have 18 holes you have 18 holes. How is that more considerate of land and water usage? Are you saying 3 hole courses will exist? No chance of that.

    Show me even one successful 3 or 6 hole course and I’ll be glad to listen.

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  • BNGLBNGL Jupiter, FloridaMembers  1982WRX Points: 720Posts: 1,982 Platinum Tees
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    If you’ll indulge in this fun fact! Musselburgh Golf Links originally had only 7 holes in 1672 although it had been reported that Mary Queen of Scots played golf there as early as 1567. Musselburgh didn’t consist of 9 holes until 1870. (I believe I didn’t look this part up yet, It hosted 6 British Opens from 1860 to 1890). St. Andrews when it was first opened consisted of 22 holes! And I believe that 18 was adapted as “standard” for a round of golf once St. Andrews combined four holes and went to 18.

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  • BNGLBNGL Jupiter, FloridaMembers  1982WRX Points: 720Posts: 1,982 Platinum Tees
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    I’m 99 percent positive it’s more to settle gambling bets than casual play in this case. But I do agree with ya, there’s a place called Meadows in Fargo that is three 6 hole loops I thought it was interesting then and still do now. One of my favorite things at work was getting the crew together and going out to play on Friday mornings. We’d play 1,2,3,17,18 or 10,11,12,17,18, get out there after the crew goes by but before the members get up it was always a nice way to end the week

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  • EreimEreim In Hoc Signo Vinces Members  652WRX Points: 170Handicap: 7.7Posts: 652 Golden Tee
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    My course added a par 3 in 2013. I find myself going this rout if I'm short on time, rather than playing the big course...

    There are 9 holes ranging from 50 up to 130 yards in the normal routing of the course. In addition, the layout lends itself to “cross-country” play, with you picking any green you see and playing to it. There are unlimited options on different shots you can play.

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  • J13J13 Dad golf MarylandMembers  16611WRX Points: 1,622Handicap: +1.6Posts: 16,611 Titanium Tees
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    What i'm saying is instead of building 2 or 3 individual golf courses you can get creative with the land and routing and create 2 or 3 courses into 1. It's not the answer for every course but it's just a more efficient use of space sort of like what Japan already does with multiple greens for each hole.

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  • az2auaz2au Scottsdale, AZ/New York, NYUnregistered  2302WRX Points: 463Handicap: 4.8Posts: 2,302 Platinum Tees
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    OK that makes more sense. Thanks for the explanation.

    In Japan the reason for two greens is warm weather grass vs cold weather grass so I'd actually argue that it might be the opposite. Lots of courses around in Phoenix and Palm Springs could have the same rationale but instead oversees their greens every year (also bad in a lot of ways but definitely more efficient that maintaining two sets of greens).

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