On Sunday I wrote a column talking about a proposal by Mark King, CEO of TaylorMade, to increase the size of the golf hole to 15 inches, more than three times the size of the current 4.25 inch cup. Perhaps predictably, readers of the column took to email, phone calls and social media to respond to the idea. And it was hardly all positive.
“Here’s a really radical idea,” said George in an e-mail. “Leave the ancient and sacred game of golf as it is now and always has been that’s the beauty of the game…and lower the prices.”
Price is one of the main points people talk about when quitting the game, George. So is the duration of a round, and so is the fact that the game just isn’t that much fun for some people who do not embrace its difficulty. George adds, “If I want to shoot at a Pizza-size hole I’ll play Basketball. If they change the size of the hole it won’t be the same game. God save the Golf!”
Sky says, “I am now 81 and a long time golfer. Enlarging the hole to 15 inches would be ridiculous. I think adding forwarded tees and/or combinations would help and as you know some courses have started to do this. However, not enough.”
Sky, the Tee It Forward program has been pushed for two years by people like Barney Adams and Jack Nicklaus and to an extent the USGA and PGA Tour. We all need to move forward one set of tees, though there is more to Tee It Forward than that.
Graham says the game is endangered by changing times, including kids raised on video games.
“These “kids” have no interest in golf whatsoever,” he said. “They were raised on video games and golf, with its one shot every few minutes pace, doesn’t stand a chance. Make the hole as large as you want, cut the fairways wider and the rough shorter, but I don’t see any way around these two things.”
Jack says he’d like to see courses put in two holes on each green, one regulation size and one maybe 8 inches.
“Each hole would have its own distinctive flag to identify it from the other. A player whose putting line is affected by the second cup could get relief as he would from any other obstacle but no closer to the hole to which he is putting. St. Andrews, for example, has two cups on the same green albeit two different holes, but I wonder if they have a local rule regarding relief if one of the cups is in the way of a player’s putting line.”
As Jack points out, golfers have a choice of tee boxes, why not a choice of cups.
Verne, who says he is a retired golf professional, says the problem isn’t the cup, it’s golfer just getting to the green.
“If you went skiing for the first time would you go right to the top of the mountain and start down? No, you would get some instruction. Welcome to golf. The COD Range has several talented teachers to help you get started with the mandatory fundamentals. They will make the game easier and more fun.”
Verne also points out you need to move up a set of tees if the game is too difficult.
So in general, the idea of a larger up was dismissed, at least by the folks who bothered to respond to the Sunday column. Moving up a set of tees (or two) was a better solution, the readers believed.