The benefits of shorter golf courses

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire February 18, 2020 08:21

Numerous golf clubs are now offering shorter versions of golf than the traditional 18-hole model – including nine-hole courses and venues with several par threes, in a bid to attract golfers who want to play a round in less than four hours. And some are even being recognised and rewarded for benefiting the game as a result.

Gullane Golf Club’s award-winning Course No. 3, which is less than 5,000 yards from the ladies’ tees and where almost one-in-three holes is a par three

This year started off with several stories about golf clubs offering six, nine and 12 holes of golf in order to attract time-conscious golfers.

Craigie Hill Golf Club near Perth has said it wants to convert from 18 to nine holes in the next five years to secure its future and Hilltop Golf Course in Birmingham is also reshaping from 18 holes to a nine-hole course, as well as building an 18-hole footgolf course, over the next few years, for similar reasons. Meanwhile, Sunningdale Heath Golf Club’s new co-owner, Kristian Baker, says the course’s 14 par threes and four par fours, originally built for ladies and wives of members of Sunningdale Golf Club, is today an asset when it comes to attracting golfers: “Because of the nature of our course, you can start a company golf day at 4pm, have a full event, and still be home by 10pm. You can still do a day’s work, and have a golf day too,” he said. “People are always against the clock these days, so our golf course means that Sunningdale Heath becomes more relevant as each year goes by.”

The new owners of Sunningdale Heath GC

Gullane Golf Club, one of Scotland’s most prestigious members’ clubs, has two world-famous golf courses, Course No. 1 (at 6,873 yards) and Course No. 2 (6,385 yards), but at the end of last year its much shorter Course No. 3 (5,259 yards and less than 5,000 yards from the ladies’ tees, featuring five par three holes), with a par of 68, won the category for ‘Best Golf Course from £31 – £60’ at the Scottish Golf Tourism Awards.

Designed by two-time Open champion Willie Park Jr, Gullane No. 3 celebrated its centenary in 2010 and has become a firm favourite among both club members and visiting golfers.

Gordon Simpson, secretary at Gullane, said: “The course is a terrific test of golf but, just as important, is great fun to play regardless of your age or ability. All the staff and members at Gullane take great pride in No. 3 and the condition that we present the course in 12 months a year. We look forward to continuing to improve.

Scottish Golf Tourism Week, Fairmont, St Andrews, 31/10/19.
Awards Gala Dinner.
© Malcolm Cochrane Photography
+44 (0)7971 835 065
mail@malcolmcochrane.co.uk

“Our Course No. 3 is of great benefit to the club, in addition to Course No. 1 and Course No. 2. It offers something different for both members and visitors alike and we were pleased to see it recognised at the Scottish Golf Tourism Awards.

“It is much enjoyed by members, often for a quick game given its yardage, and offers excellent value for money for visitors. Indeed, you could play both No. 3 and No. 2 in the same day. We have a free Children’s Course at Gullane – six holes is ideal for beginners and young children, and we then see those golfers continue their progress in golf by coming on to No. 3 to build confidence and short game skills; it is just perfect.

“Course No. 3 also offers some of the best views at Gullane while members and visitors regularly comment on the quality of the greens. In today’s world where time is precious, the course ticks so many boxes.

“Course No. 1 was shown worldwide in 2015 and 2018 for the Scottish Opens we held, attracting further visitors to come to Gullane and East Lothian. But we have so much more here at Gullane for visitors and No. 3 is not be missed.”

The Scottish Golf Tourism Awards are determined solely by a public vote. When voting closed at the end of September, a record 40,000 votes had been cast.

The ‘Best Pro Shop’ award also went to Gullane. “In a day and age where professional shops are up against huge competition from the high street and online retailers, this award shows that with the right people and correct attitude you can achieve great things,” added Simpson.

Scottish Golf Tourism Week, Fairmont, St Andrews, 31/10/19.
Awards Gala Dinner.
© Malcolm Cochrane Photography
+44 (0)7971 835 065
mail@malcolmcochrane.co.uk

Carnoustie Golf Links was also a winner on the night, claiming the top award as ‘Scotland’s Best Golf Experience’.

Scottish Golf Tourism Week, which attracted more than 100 leading tour operators from across the world, has become an integral part of the ambition to grow the value of the golf tourism industry in Scotland from £286m in 2016 to £300m by 2020.

Tom Lovering, the director of Scottish Golf Tourism Week, said: “The event is now firmly established as Scotland’s key golf tourism legacy event, showcasing the very best of the country’s golf product to a global audience and creating lasting benefits for the economy as a result.”

 

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire February 18, 2020 08:21
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1 Comment

  1. Pete USA February 20, 13:15

    Yes sir, shorter courses are in…thrifty in Time & Cost and Land-use! Now just add the new “Hybrid” golf ball developed for quick & enjoyable play and you have the perfect compliment for success! Provides the same big traditional golf format….in 1/2 the time!

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