The European Institute of Golf Course Architects have welcomed plans to recognise compact courses as part of the World Handicap System from next year
“It is important to move away from the traditional thought that golf can only be played over 18 holes and spread across 6,000 yards”.
That’s the view of leading golf course architects, who have backed changes to the World Handicap System coming in 2024.
The European Institute of Golf Course Architects (EIGCA) have welcomed moves to allow golfers to get and use their WHS Handicap Indexes on shorter-length courses.
Among the measures announced last week by the R&A and USGA were plans to halve the minimum length requirements to become eligible for a Course Rating.
Previously set at 3,000 yards for 18-holes, and 1,500 for 9-holes, they will now become 1,500 and 750 respectively from January 1 worldwide and from April in Great Britain and Ireland.
World Handicap System changes: ‘Vital in safeguarding the future of the game’
This will potentially expand WHS to thousands more courses, including Par-3 and academy layouts, and will also bring compact courses into the rating system.
Caspar Grauballe, EIGCA president, said: “As architects, we have advocated for compact courses for a number of years.
“They are an important route to growing the game of golf as they cater for a range of skills rather than simply focusing on distance.
“Compact courses widen the appeal of golf by not only providing a stepping stone for new golfers to get off the range and play on-course, but they bring a fun experience and also cater for those who do not have the time to play a traditional-length 18-hole course or find the distance challenging.
“It is important to move away from the traditional thought that golf can only be played over 18 holes spread across 6,000 yards.
“Par-3s or 9-hole courses require less land so can be sited nearer to populated areas, use fewer natural resources, and are potentially more profitable as they are cheaper to maintain.
“This recognition of the role compact courses have in the game of golf is vital in safeguarding the future of the game, and EIGCA hopes it encourages more developers and club owners to see the viability of compact courses.”
The EIGCA are now working with the R&A to develop a set of design guidelines explaining the type of playing facilities that can fit into smaller spaces and land of up to 25 hectares. These will be available next year.
Now have your say
What do you think? Will you put your handicap to the test on a Par-3 course, and is it important to give new and beginner players an early chance to get on the handicap ladder? Let me know by leaving a comment on X.
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