Golden Bear Aims to Speed up the Game…

This Labor Day weekend, the Golden Bear (Jack Nicklaus) is experimenting with fun and innovative options in golf at one of the world’s most prestigious clubs, Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. Specifically, Muirfield Village will be hosting two separate 12-hole tournaments, during which golfers will be encouraged to play one tee up from where they normally play, the hole will be almost doubled in size (8-inch diameter versus the standard 4.25-inches), and participants will be penalized for slow play.

Imagine a Super-Sized hole

“I love the game of golf and believe we have a unique opportunity right now to grow our sport,” Nicklaus said. “But we all have to recognize that the game in our country has been stagnant for a number of years, and actually has lost a significant number of golfers—close to four million in the last five years, according to the National Golf Foundation. The numbers of female and junior golfers—two segments that once represented a large percentage of the new people coming into the game—have dropped 23 and 35 percent, respectively, over the last five years. Many say the game is too hard and others say the game takes too long.

“I think the game is a great game and in no way am I trying to change it. There are few bigger traditionalists than me, but I realize we need to start thinking out of the box. So I ask all the traditionalists to be tolerant while we try something new, something fun to hopefully help us grow the game. It’s too important for us not to try. With so many sports and activities fighting for the time and attention of families, we need to think of ways to make our game more attractive and thus more inviting, especially to children and young adults. Perhaps what Muirfield Village is trying over Labor Day can help open a few eyes and a few minds.”

The makeup of the 12-hole course comprises holes 1, 2, 5 through 13 and 14 on the familiar track.

For his Labor Day experiment, the Sunday round with be a 12-hole better-ball tournament and Monday will feature another 12-hole event, this time it will be stroke play. Both rounds will feature the 8-inch holes instead of the standard 4.25 inch that is the standard. In an effort to keep the pace as fast as possible, all groups must finish in two-and-a-half hours or they will be penalized a stroke for every five minutes over the 2:30.

The entry fee was not disclosed.

Source: Nicklaus Design Golf

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