The Magic Number
What is the optimum range when it comes to the number of golf holes on a given course? First, we will go as far as eliminating the thought of a three or four hole golf course. It is simply not worth while to purchase and operate maintenance equipment, invest in overhead etc. for this number, since the capacity to run players through the facility - and therefore to generate enough income - is minimal.
A figure in the range of 12-15 holes can be ideal. It is very important that we detach ourselves from the fixed number. A course of 12 to 15 holes will have enough holes to keep the player interested for long enough, until he has achieved fulfillment and is ready to go home.
Fewest holes while avoiding a 1st tee restart
When thinking of running a golf course purely from a business perspective, the question may be: What is the lowest number of holes that you can get away with building and maintaining, without the golfer wanting to re-start on the 1st tee immediately or soon after having played the course once over? Achieving this magic number eliminates the discomfort and lost capacity of allowing for the odd group coming through the 1st tee for the 2nd time, interrupting your tee-time bookings. When has the golfer reached enough fulfillment to refrain from the 2nd round? Is it after twelve holes, fourteen? – Or is it after as few as eleven holes?
The importance of playing the whole course
Also, it is important for the player to play the whole course - not leaving out a part of the course before running out of time. This little detail may otherwise always leave the player feeling that he did not finish the game and that he did not really return a score.
Although the world has a great number of very interesting 9-hole courses, I think most of us would prefer a few more holes to play if possible, while still playing the whole course.
Breaking the Mold, by David Gould for Golf Business
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