When our little golf league arrived at the course Friday, we were greeted by terrifying heresy.
“We cut the holes a little bigger this week,” the starter/clerk said. “Got a tournament tomorrow.”
There’s been a lot of talk in the golf world recently about making the game faster and easier by enlarging the holes, so I was curious as to how it would work. As it turns out, Hilltop’s version was a larger cut, with a regulation cup inside. That left an edge of about an inch wide and an inch deep around the plastic. As we soon found, with such a configuration, it actually was possible to get the ball in the larger hole, only to have it nestle on the interior lip without falling to the bottom. We also saw quite a few balls dive into the larger hole, hit the edge of the plastic cup and pop right out.
The entire situation seemed … unnatural.
Our group soon began to distinguish between the holes. The bigger size was the kid’s cup; the smaller one, the adult cup. Scores were distinguished by which cup the last putt was judged to have hit. A putt that went right into the middle of the regulation cup was called an “adult four” or an “adult five.” One that took advantage of the bigger size was a “kiddie par” or a “kiddie bogey.”
Following the round, I gathered the scorecards and worked out the math. As it turns out, the larger holes made no difference in our scores. Indeed, they actually were a bit higher this week than last. Our round also was no faster than normal.
While one round by eight players isn’t a scientific conclusion, it does fit my thoughts about this whole big hole nonsense. What makes golf slow and scores high isn’t putting: it’s the fat shots, thin shots, slices, hooks, shanks and mishits of the full swing. It is the lost balls and the duffs that carry only twenty five yards. It is the chips that run from just off the green on one side to just off the green on the other. It’s missed fairways and missed greens in regulation. Putting is the least of the problems.
I’d be a single digit handicapper if I could eliminate the blown second shots.
Hopefully, the course’s mad experiment will be over next week.