There are far more benefits for your game playing these “shorties” than you think
Some time ago, I posed a question over Twitter to gauge how golfers felt about executive-length golf courses. As you can see, from the Tweet below, it was actually nearly a year ago. Up until recently, I left it pinned at the top of my Twitter profile. The question was simple really. Basically, it went something like this. Do you like executive-length golf courses or do you prefer something a little more, “beefy”?
As you can see below, based on a small sample size of respondents 77% thought that executive-length golf courses were kosher. With 22% feeling that maybe a golf course under 6,400 yards might be either bad for your game or for some, maybe there isn’t a real challenge playing a short golf course. If you feel the latter, I respect that but, I beg to differ.
There really isn’t a right or wrong opinion on this topic or any other for that matter. Wouldn’t the world be a dull place if we all agreed on everything? In my opinion, I think executive-length golf courses are great and maybe some of the 22% should reconsider their feelings. Especially, if you’re a golfer in the mid to high handicap range who were in the 22%..
Personally speaking, I like them and I actually developed more of a fondness of them late last-season. For all intents and purposes my 2020 golf season was a total joke and a total train wreck. It was the worst season that I had from a scoring standpoint. The reasons for it were for several all of them stemming from nagging health issues. More often than not, the pain was so bad that I couldn’t stand to be in my own skin. I was unable to make a turn resorting to picking up the golf club in what was a horrible compensatory move, just to play golf. Even my hips were all locked up, so, enter the sway and slide into impact. Ewwww!! Gross! Even my range sessions were lousy and thinking back, I don’t really remember having a good one until very late in the season.
Another cause of my poor play was the little issue of lots of practice into a net in the backyard that we had at the time (thanks COVID Lockdown numero uno) where I was reinforcing feels. I’m not a technical or mechanical player, and when I do focus on that sort of stuff my swing lacks fluidity or rhythm (I’m no Els or Couples by any means). But there I was, focusing on the strike and working on really delaying my release. By the time golf courses and ranges were allowed to re-open, I was in a heap of trouble.
In the Niagara Region, there’s no shortage of executive-length golf courses. Without trying too hard, there’s Brock Golf Course, Eagle Valley, Heritage Woods (11 Holes), Garden City Golf Course (literally down the street), Fort Erie Golf Club, Cardinal Lakes – Sparrow Course and Legends on the Niagara – Chippawa Course which is run by the Niagara Parks. For something a shade longer Waterpark Golf Club and Long Beach Country Club sit. Four of these golf courses are where I really played golf for the first time and made me realize that I really liked the game. Basically, the point being that, there’s no shortage of this genre of golf courses where I live.
The pros to playing these types of golf course generally outweigh the cons. No matter what golf course that you’re playing, it’s you versus the golf course architect first and foremost. Secondary to that are the other golfers in your group. So, whether it’s a Par 29, 34, or 36 you have to beat par. In a time and era where every minute counts in our hectic lives rounds on these golf courses don’t take as long a a round of golf on a regulation golf course. There are exceptions to the rule though as I played one golf course in Florida called Southport Springs where the pace of play was, lethargic. From a cost standpoint, these golf courses also may not hurt the wallet as much if you’re a golfer on a strained budget. Not to mention, you can get out for a round if you’re feeling a little, infirm.
But the benefits from a game-improvement point-of-view are a virtual cornucopia If you were to examine your game as you read along, think to yourself and assess your golf game. If you’re a player shooting in the 90’s or 100’s where are you losing most of your strokes? Could it be that your chipping, pitching, and putting are holding you back? For those that shoot in the 80’s this is likely you too. 70’s gang, maybe it’s course management more than anything. Believe it or not, your issues may not be the driver or full-swing related.. Typically, on a regulation length golf course you might pull a driver out of the bag how many times? 12 or 13? Now, how many strokes striking an iron show up on your scorecard? Now, factor in missed greens in regulation and having to scramble to save par or… “hack-hack” bogey. Executive-length golf courses are a terrific place to “iron” out your game. Putting on the other hand, that’s nothing that you can’t work at home or a practice green.
Other than a driving range, I strongly feel that executive-length golf courses are a terrific place to build your confidence. Sometimes these executive-length or Par 3 golf courses have smaller greens that cause you to focus just a little bit more. When you start hitting those greens, suddenly the larger green complexes at a Par 70-72 golf course look massive. Confidence goes a long way in this game. Oh, the oft-talked about mental side of the game cannot be ignored.
My game finally rounded into form in 2020 on the heels of a round of golf at Brock Golf Course. It was October. This particular facility is great for the entire family. It’s family-operated and features a driving range, short-game practice area, a mini-putt golf course, a dedicated Foot Golf course, and a golf course that measures a staggering total of just over 2,900 yards from “the tips”. Three holes are >250 yards in length. But, the greens are small and you have to hit golf shots to score, like anywhere else. Prior to playing on this day, I had a nice range session so I thought to myself, “You should go play here and see how it translates onto the golf course”. So I did. Right then and there I made my tee time from the driving range.
I’ll save you the recap of the entire round, but, my striking was the best that it had been all season, I was hitting accurate shots tight to the pin (I didn’t tee it up on all Par 3’s), and I scored fairly well. I managed to post four birdies onto my card and my scorecard was clean. I felt GREAT going home that night.
I ended up riding the momentum from that round throughout the remainder of the late fall golf season. From that point forward, I was scoring anywhere from E to -3 for the duration of the season. I was on my way back. Fast-forwarding the clock to 2021, it seems like the momentum has carried over into 2021 as well. I’m feeling great about the results that I’m seeing with my swing. My striking is on point and I’m hitting my spots. Ultimately, all because of a teeny-tiny golf course.
Are executive golf courses worth the money? In my opinion… without a doubt. Don’t discount the benefits of an executive-length golf course because of their diminutive nature. These golf courses could be the “whetstone” to sharpen your golf game.
Until The Next Tee!!
Alex, I completely agree. Executive courses can benefit our game on many levels. This topic is really overlooked and under valued in golf. Thanks for the reminder.