Do 12-hole golf courses have a chance

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 18, 2010, 7:27 pm

In this edition of Travel Punch Shots, travel editor Erik Peterson and senior writer Brandon Tucker debate the concept of 12-hole golf courses. Does this trend have staying power in the world of golf?


In September 2008 I had the opportunity to attend the grand opening of The Cliffs at Keowee Springs, a private Tom Fazio-designed golf course about 30 miles west of Greenville, S.C. It’s typical Fazio – wide fairways, dramatic shaping and intriguing par-5s – but is unique in that instead of two nines, it has three sixes.

At first I didn’t get it. What’s the difference? Might as well be six threes or nine twos – it’s still 18 holes.

Then I understood the method to Fazio’s madness.

To align with The Cliffs’ emphasis on family, Fazio was asked to design the course to be as flexible as possible. While his assignment wasn’t unique, his approach to “flexible” certainly was. In addition to incorporating the usual elements of flexibility – six tees on each hole, with greens that allow a blend of easy and tough pin positions – Fazio also routed the sixth, 12th and 18th holes back to the clubhouse.

As a result, Keowee Springs can host a six-hole father/son tournament at the same time a 12-hole ladies’ event is taking place. The next day the men can have their usual 18-hole scratch game. Everybody’s happy!

Will we see any 12-hole courses built in the near future? I doubt it. But don’t be surprised to see golf course architects getting more creative with their 18-hole designs. Playing six holes may not make a lot of sense if you’re a purist. But remember, a lot of purists also read paperback books and pay their bills with envelopes and stamps. Welcome to Golf 2K10.


Last week my buddy met me at Crystal Mountain Resort in northern Michigan after work for a twilight round. We teed off around 6 p.m. and finished nine on the Mountain Ridge course with a little daylight to spare.

Driving back to the clubhouse, we passed the 16th tee of the other course, Betsie Valley, and decided to sneak in and play three more.

It was the perfect amount of post-dinner golf – even if we found the extra three holes by accident.

Sometimes nine just isn't enough, but we rarely have time for a full 18, unless we're on vacation – or the kids are at Grandma's house for the weekend.

That's where 12-hole golf courses come in. In metropolitan areas, it could take up far less acres than 18 where land is a premium – but serve more golfers than just nine holes.

With 12 holes and a routing that has greens circling back toward the clubhouse every three or four holes, golfers can pick how many holes they want to play for the day. A golf course could even change the direction a course plays on a given day - like how the Old Course in St. Andrews is played in reverse every spring for a few days.

Why hasn't a designer built a course like that since?

I don't think 12 holes are going to replace 18 holes as the norm anytime soon, but every city could greatly benefit its citizens with a course in a prime location with 12 exciting holes.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.