There are plenty of choices to make in the sport of golf.
What kind of ball to use, what club to pull out of the bag, whether to lay up or go for the green.
Now Whitehorse golfers can choose what size hole they wish to play.
Meadow Lakes Golf Resort has installed holes with an eight-inch diameter, almost twice the size of regulation cups.
Calm down, purists, they still have the standard 108-millimetre – or roughly 4.25-inch – cups as well.
“(Owner Jeff Luehmann) and I were talking last summer, it’s kind of taken off in the States a bit, so we discussed the possibility of incorporating them on our greens, as our greens are large enough to accommodate both cups,” said general manager Johnny Enns. “Jack Nicholas is a catalyst behind the eight-inch cup and endorses them. There are also the 15-inch cup out there, but we thought a basketball sized cup was maybe a little too big.”
More and more courses are offering larger cup sizes, but you won’t see Tiger Woods putting into one on the PGA Tour any time soon. The pros are doing just fine with the 108mm targets.
Eight- and 15-inch cups are meant for beginners and golfers who are pressed for time, who can’t spend six hours playing 18.
The bigger cups speed up the game as players should, theoretically, hit fewer three-putts and take less time lining up the short ones.
They help beginners get into the sport because they likely won’t feel so out of place, holding up the foursome behind them. And, frankly, it’s discouraging for newbies to post scores well into triple digits.
“It’s quite common for me to hear: golf takes a long time to play and is very difficult,” said Enns. “So we wanted to make golf easier and more fun, speed up play, and the aim is to bring more participants to the game – young, old, male and female.”
Meadow Lakes first experimented with two-hole greens late last summer for a charity tournament. All 18 holes were regulation size, so it simply added variety to the round.
The eight-inch holes (marked by white flags) are mostly off to the edges of the greens while the standard holes (marked by yellow flags) are wherever they usually might be.
So far golfers at the nine-hole executive course have given mixed reviews, but more positive than negative, said Enns.
“There are some people out there who might never play the eight-inch cup,” he said. “For the most part I’ve heard more positive comments on the eight-inch cup. To my surprise, I’ve had golfers come in who said they’re here for 18, so they did one nine on the eight-inch cup and they enjoyed it.”
“I’ve booked in the neighbourhood of 20 tournaments already this year and the majority of those tournaments are company tournaments and they have a lot of once-a-year golfers. I’ve put out the option for them to have the choice of if they want to use the standard sized cup or the eight-inch cup.”
Last year, following The Masters, some of the world’s best golfers took part in the big cup experiment during an event sponsored by big cup proponent group HackGolf. Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose headlined a field of pros who played a round of nine 15-inch holes at Reynolds Plantation, a swanky golf resort in Georgia.
Garcia penciled a 30 and Rose a 33 – not exactly world record numbers. The reasoning goes: the better the player, the less he or she will benefit from bigger holes. Ace players will hit closer approach shots and sink the follow-up putt in a big hole or small hole. Or they will two-putt no matter where they are on a green.
“So not only has the game changed in equipment, devices like GPS and range-finders – eventually it had to come down to the size of the hole changing,” said Enns.
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