Small is big, don’t we hear about it most of the time, especially in the last few years. This simply means that things are becoming smaller, shorter, compact and what not; from electrical goods to our daily usable items, something or the other is changing every day, new feel, new technology. Probably it’s a good sign, it shows that we are evolving for better times with a much faster pace. In a time when everything is changing, how can we forget Golf. Golf has a history of being associated with the term 18, a golf course has 18 holes to play, its more than 125 acres to build and it takes around 5 hours to play 18 holes. Sounds familiar, right? Now, Golf has something more to offer, something new, something fast, something trendy and something for all.
Let's understand how golf is evolving now.
Golf is moving from 18 holes to 9 holes Golf Courses, which does mean that 18 hole courses are loosing its lustre, not at all! Like in Cricket, Twenty/20 format is trending, it doesn’t mean that test cricket and other formats don’t shine. Everything has its own value and its own demand. So, 9 Holes are becoming very popular due to various factors like, less land requirement, less development cost, less maintenance cost, takes less time to play and one can play twice to complete a 18 hole game. Golf is further not restricted to 9 holes, we have 3 and 6 hole golf courses, so a golf course can now be customized based on the land availability.
Being a Golf Course Architect, I tend to work with a lot of Real Estate Developers who are planning golf centric real estate projects. I am currently working on various types of Golf Courses and driving Ranges (Practice Facilities). Most of the short courses can be properly called par-3 courses (where the hole lengths vary from 80 yards to 180 yards), there are other short courses that contain par 4 holes and an occasional par 5. These are called Executive courses. Since most of the golf courses have adjacent real estate, we try to keep the hole distances shorter so that the safety of the residents is not compromised by reducing the probability of the golf balls flying to the adjacent properties.
There are different types for Golf Course projects, based on land availability:
Less than 1 Acres – Mini Golf Courses or Putting Courses
2-3 Acres – 9 Hole Chip & Putt Golf Course
4-7 Acres: Driving Range (Practice Area) requires (50-100 m) Width X (200-300 m) Length with playing holes
8-10 Acres: Driving range with 3 playing holes
12-15 Acres: 6 or 9 Hole Executive Golf Course without Driving Range
20-25 Acres: 6 or 9 Hole Executive Golf Course with Driving Range
30-35 Acres: 9 Hole Golf Course without Driving Range
40-50 Acres: A standard 9 Hole Golf Course with Driving Range
65-75 Acres: An international standard 9 Hole Championship Golf Course and Driving Range
100 Acres and above: several formats of 18 Hole Golf Course with Driving Range
We have seen a combination of various formats of Golf Courses as well. An 18 Hole Golf Course also has a mini golf course, short or executive golf course which attract all levels of skill, plus both the junior and elderly players and not the least, women. (I personally feel women make a tremendous contribution to this wonderful game). Furthermore, there is a great psychological advantage of playing the Short / Executive golf course in the ego status which is attained. It's interesting to note how many players are shooting better scores in these friendly courses. The fun of playing night golf in these golf courses can not be ignored, so even if you get late from work, you still get a chance to play a quick round of golf with your friends.
Apart from the trend of new type of golf courses, there are various new playing formats being introduced to existing 18 hole courses to make them more interesting and fast to play. Like playing only 9 holes, two-pin / power play format, tee-it-forward (golfers play from the forward tees to have a quick and easy round), 3 clubs only format (putter, wedge and any iron of your choice) and you can invent your own format of play, as long you are having fun on the Golf Course.
So, plan your next round of golf with a new playing format or by playing on a new format golf course.