The future of golf could be shorter than you think

This is exactly what occurred to Taylor Crozier again in March 2016 at Bluejack National in Texas, the group’s whoops and hollers making it really feel like one of the numerous nice Woods triumphs over time.

Playing in a three-ball with one other fortunate teen, Woods followed go well with along with his putter throughout the 81-yard opening gap, remarkably lipping out for eagle.

And similar to that, a imaginative and prescient of golf in years to come back was implanted in Woods’ thoughts.

“Tiger’s golf design business really started with him having kids. He said from the beginning that family-orientated clubs are really the future,” TGR Design President and long-time buddy Bryon Bell informed CNN Sport.

Woods grew to become a father to daughter Sam in 2007 and son Charlie in 2009 having grown up enjoying on a brief course in Long Beach, California within the 1970s and 1980s.

“His time as a kid, playing with his Dad on a short course when he was three or four and enjoying every minute of it, has made him realise how great an introduction to golf it was for him.”

Fast ahead from Woods’ first foray into quick course design with Bluejack to 2019, and the reigning Masters champion and his workforce have been approached to revamp the well-known Pebble Beach par-three format.

Bell stated they replied “right away” to specific their curiosity, and in spring 2021 the new-look quick course will be unveiled.

“When we first did this at Bluejack, we weren’t quite sure how it would be received,” stated Bell, who attended highschool with Woods and as soon as caddied for him in 2011.

“We loved the concept and Bluejack is a very family-orientated club, but we didn’t know if it would be empty and we were wondering: ‘Are we really building this for kids?’ and ‘Is anyone going to play it?’

“That entire expertise made us very snug with the quick course idea, to know it is a worthwhile enterprise and there’s a lot of curiosity there, plus it is a terrific device for golf programs to get extra folks concerned within the sport.”

A illustration of the Tiger Woods-designed short course at the Bluejack National in Texas, US.

Too long, too expensive

Those who criticize golf often say the sport is elitist and costs too much. Not to mention how long a round can take.

So with a short course, you get a better deal, right?

“There’s a component to this of serving to folks hone their ‘100-yard and in’ sport, however I do not think that is Tiger’s fundamental objective. His purpose is to get folks enjoying golf,” said Bell.

“The massive complaints about golf proper now are it takes too lengthy and prices an excessive amount of, which this quick sport idea helps to unravel.

“He definitely wants to create more playable and more fun golf courses. There’s always going to be a place for hard courses like at the US Open, but … how do we make golf more fun, more inviting and more playable for that player? That was his goal early on.

“If you’re having a event you can then pace up greens, agency up fairways and make the course more durable, nevertheless it’s very tough to make a tough course simpler. I do not think his objective is to alter the entire business — there’s a spot for the tougher course.”

Last month’s US Open venue — Winged Foot in New York — showed precisely that, but the US is also littered with shorter gems, from esteemed US Open venue Pinehurst’s Cradle Course (designed by Rio 2016 Olympics course creator Gil Hanse) to Augusta National’s par-three layout, which each year hosts the traditional pre-Masters nine-hole shootout.

Club membership is also often more expensive in the US as venues increasingly seek to combine golf courses with restaurants, swimming pools, gyms to make them more appealing to families.

An illustration of the Short Course at Pebble Beach, California.

Stuck market

The scenario is considerably completely different throughout the Atlantic.

“I think in Britain and Ireland, we’re a good distance from pumping cash into quick programs. Our market is caught in that conventional 18-hole area,” said James Edwards — a golf course architect whose company EDI-Golf “designs and renovates golf programs and golf academies.

Edwards grew up enjoying golf alongside the likes of former world No.1s Justin Rose and Luke Donald, in addition to Ryder Cup stars Paul Casey and Ross Fisher.

He’s used to lengthy hours at driving ranges pounding balls and his firm is at the moment working with world-renowned coach David Leadbetter, who has guided gamers to 26 main titles, seven golfers reaching world No. 1.

A general view of Cumberwell Park course.
Edwards makes a speciality of academies, quick programs and various {golfing} options having began out enjoying golf on a patch of grass exterior his household dwelling in Maidstone, Kent, with an space within the cul-de-sac he lived in of roughly 2,500 sq. meters in dimension — which instantly conjures a picture of creativity within the mould or twice Masters champion Bubba Watson, the self-taught leftie who grew up hitting a wiffle ball round his home.

“The club I’ve just come from, for example, has turned down a redesign option to include a short course and 300-yard range,” Edwards explains. “They chose a much safer option so they’re stuck with a range of about 200 yards and no short course.

“You’ve obtained to see the future. All of the perfect golf amenities on this planet have a brief course. The cause being is the designers on the time noticed that relevance for having a fast sport of golf in addition to the championship degree check.”

Edwards said he thinks the “{golfing} consciousness” isn’t there yet in the UK, having built a par-three course at the forward-thinking innovative Cumberwell Park complex in Wiltshire.

“The business would not make the quick course viable proper now … So you’re going to wish one thing of severely top quality to shift peoples’ coronary heart and minds.”

A general view of the Cumberwell Park course.

‘Dribbling’ it

A high-quality course could work. But as the PGA of America’s player of the year Justin Thomas said in August, no matter how far you hit it, the short game is still king.

“Length will not be the reply. It’s simply useful. Still obtained to get the ball within the gap,” said the 2017 PGA Championship winner.

Woods and fellow former world No.1 Donald are great examples of how, with an impeccable short game, you can reach the pinnacle of golf and stay there. Donald, despite never having the length of Woods, spent 40 straight weeks at the top in 2011-12.
An illustration of the full-length Bluejack National.

As Bell points out too, if, as Woods told him, you’re someone who finds golf hard, why suffer when you can enjoy the game in a different format?

“There’s positively a transfer in direction of: ‘How will we develop the sport’ and the quick course idea is a good, very unintimidating option to introduce folks to the sport.

“Nobody wants to be that person who’s dribbling it off the tee and holding everybody up on an 18-hole course.”

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