Jack Nicklaus Endorses 12-hole Rounds
By mustang6560 on 5/18/11
At a charity golf tournament in Tennessee, Jack Nicklaus once again pitched his idea of cutting a round of golf from 18 holes to 12. His idea stems from his concern about the future of golf.
“Since 2006, we’ve lost 20 percent of the women in the game and we’ve lost 20 percent of the juniors in the game,” Nicklaus said. “If you’re the CEO of a corporation and have those numbers, you say, ‘What do I do?’ The professional game is great. The showcase is great.
At first, I thought this was just another silly idea that would attract new golfers at the expense of current golfers. Then Jack made an interesting analogy that I totally agree with.
“The game is so difficult to start with. You take kids. They start basketball at a 6-foot hoop, 7-foot hoop, small ball, big ball.... All the sports work their selves up. In golf, you start with a set of clubs and a hard golf ball and it’s not easy.
I think public courses would benefit the most from a 12-hole golf course because rounds are notoriously slow at municipal courses. On a given Saturday at a given muni course, you can expect the round to take between five and six hours. Even Kevin Na plays faster than that!

The golf purists would argue against a 12-hole setup. I don't think 12-hole golf courses will start popping up anytime soon, but I am not opposed to the idea like I originally thought I would be. My only concern would be regarding a golfers handicap. Would you reduce it by a third because you're only playing two-thirds of a round of golf? How would this affect course handicap and rating and slope?

I think the best idea would be to keep the 18 hole setup up, but make a 12-hole scorecard like Jack did at Muirfield and the Bear's Club. The trick is the course designer would have to make it so the 12th hole would finish at or near the clubhouse. That way, the golfers can decide if they want to play all 18 holes or just 12.

According to Jack, "My seniors are loving [the 12 hole setup]".

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photo by Keith Allison

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