Will 12 Holes Of Golf Become The New 18?

In hip suburban Toronto, the Derrydale Golf Club just reopened as a 12-hole course. Have they gone bonkers in Canada, or are they ahead of the game?

Brandon Tucker, senior writer at the Golf Channel's WorldGolf.com, reports that Derrydale is thriving. He predicts 12-hole golf courses will catch on for several reasons, including the slow pace of play lately and the high cost of golf course maintenance:

The 18-hole standard may be one of the main reasons golf is in a state of decline. It's no secret the number of rounds played each year is declining. New golf course projects have slowed to less than two dozen worldwide. That's a startling figure.

Okay, but unless you're retired or work on Wall Street, who's got time for a five-hour round of golf? Brandon Tucker spoke with Hale Irwin Golf Design, a golf services firm that is aggressively promoting the benefits of shorter layouts:

Irwin said golf courses faced with the threat of closing aren't even thinking about the option of downsizing to 12 or 14 holes and then developing the remaining acres for commercial or residential development. It's a shame because downsizing is a good option, certainly a better option than bankruptcy. In 2007, Jack Nicklaus told Golf Digest that 12 holes makes sense in people's lives. That's even more true today.

Shiskine Golf and Tennis Club on Scotland's Isle of Arran already offers a beautiful 12-hole course. So does Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon.  But these courses are in the middle of nowhere...

I think the 12-hole concept would be most effective around larger cities, where land is at a premium and thousands of golfers want tee times. Compared to a 9-hole course, a 12-hole routing offers more creativity and flexibility.

Still not sold on the idea? Consider this: On a 12-hole course, some of you duffers out there might finally break 100.

You can read Brandon Tucker's full post here.