April 28th, 2014 by Patrick Hodgson
What would you do to make golf a more eye-catching sport? How about expand to a 15-inch hole? That’s the initiative that Adidas and TaylorMade are taking to reinvent the sport. The thought of taking the standardized measurement of 4.25 inches and inflating it to nearly four times its current size is likely to find no middle ground in the golf community. Purists of the sports will scowl at another golf gimmick. Others will scratch their chins and ponder if the idea is a potential golf savior.
The motivation for expanding to a 15-inch hole has much to do with the number of golfers that the sport continues to lose. According to the National Golf Foundation, the amount has tallied to five million lost golfers in the last decade. Another conclusion by the NGF in its survey of approximately 1,200 non-golfing American adults finds that 57 percent have negative sentiments about the game. Most associated golf with being boring, and we all know that golf can at times be a difficult or frustrating game, especially for those just starting out.
Sethea Heng, a frequent golfer at Westchester Golf Course, agreed with how complex the sport can be physically and mentally when stepping on the greens during the first few occasions. ” Golf is a challenging sport where you can’t just pick up a driver and hit the ball. You have to be mentally prepared for the learning process. It can be difficult at first, but a player can get better by dedicating their time and focus on the golf course.”
So how could the 15-inch hole reduce the complaints of golf being lackluster and too difficult? Advocates of the larger hole cite the prospects of scoring better and playing at a faster pace on the greens. It doesn’t hurt that the world’s eighth-ranked golfer, Sergio Garcia, and world’s 11th ranked-golfer, Justin Rose, are both open-minded to this modification of the game.
Both Garcia and Rose recently participated in a 15-inch hole event in Georgia and shared favorable thoughts about how the larger holes could develop golf. Garcia believes that the adjustment would be appealing to beginner golfers, because it would lead to better scores. Rose shared similar views and held that it might help get his five-year-old son interested in the sport.
Challengers of wider holes tend to favor the refocus on nine-hole golf as more feasible choice. Last year the PGA of America collaborated with the United States Golf Association and Golf Digest to drive a campaign called,“Time for Nine.” This movement is targeted at both novice golfers and those who want to get off courses sooner rather than later.
The 15-inch hole is a unique idea and may or may not be a golf savior. There should be some optimism that the individuals who have the utmost affection for golf are considering the change. Recall that other sports such as the NBA have faced similar issues in the past. The enactment of the three-point line in the NBA during the 1979-80 season was also widely seen as gimmick, and yet today, it’s helped elevate the game of basketball. Perhaps the larger hole will do the same for golf. What do you think? Is it a golf savior or golf gimmick? Let us know.