SHORT-COURSE / ALTERNATIVE DESIGN
The short-course is making a resurgance based on unique playability offerings.
Historically, par 3 and executive courses are a frequently overlooked part of the traditional golf setting, often perceived merely as practice areas, or an extension of the driving range, and somehow not quite “real golf.”
Recent statistics from the NGF show that courses measuring 7,500 yards or more for 18 holes are played to that length by about one per cent of golfers. A full round of 18 holes is, and will no doubt continue to be, the norm, but increasing financial burdens and emerging social influences are ultimately reducing the amount of money and time that consumers are spending on leisure activities.
While most short courses can be properly called par 3 courses (designed so that no hole exceeds the 250 yards maximum established by the United States Golf Association for a par 3 hole), the executive course may contain par 4 holes and an occasional par 5, allowing participants to explore a full range of shot-making requirements, synonymous with their larger siblings.
Short course solutions offer a great psychological advantage over the traditional 18 hole, par 72 venues. Golfers (regardless of handicap) want to execute “that one shot” during their round, not be hacking their way out of tree-lined fairways and other insurmountable hazards. The ability to capture bragging rights among their playing companions is a key aspect of enjoying the game and will ultimately lead to discussions among their peers, and encourage them back to the game again and again.
There is no doubt that short-courses, alternative courses, and "executive-courses" are on the rise globally due to their ability to attract and provide enjoyment to a broad range of golf enthusiasts. With an increasing number of women, junior and new golf players entering the market, a shorter course option may be best suited to your player profiles.
Often these solutions provide greater attraction, together with increased player enjoyment and fulfillment, however, there are significant financial benefits available to the short-course developer that reach far beyond the initial design and construction costs. With short-courses using substantially less land, there are often long-term benefits to be considered in the reduction of maintenance costs associated with longer "Championship" courses, coupled with reduced water consumption