02/27/2014

For the first time ever, the golf world will witness a PGA Tour sanctioned event played on a par-3 course when The Champions Tour goes to Top of the Rock Golf Course this June.

Bass Pro Shops will sponsor the tournament that will see two of the three tournament rounds, including the final round, played at Top of the Rock, which is a 1,500 yard Jack Nicklaus designed course that features holes from 70 yards all the way to 240 yards.

The decision to play an official Champions Tour event on a par-3 course comes as the latest attempt to grow the game of golf in the US, and one that I think might actually work. I have to admit, the idea of a professional golf tournament at any level being played at a par-3 seemed a bit hokey at first, but now I’m convinced the PGA Tour is on to something pretty cool here.

There is no doubt par-3 courses have a bit of a stigma in the golf world. The thought that they are made only for the use of hackers and that no serious golfer would ever be caught dead walking the fairways of the local par-3 is a mark which exists. While that stigma may never completely go away, the PGA Tour is trying to emphasize the major importance of these courses to growing the game of golf in our country.

golf-topoftherock

There are three main objectives as to why the game of golf isn’t growing in the US as much as people hope. Par-3 courses serve, at least in part, as viable ways to combat those objectives. The three:

1. Golf is too hard: We live in a quick fix nation. People want to get better fast, and when they don’t, they quit. Par-3 courses don’t fix anyone’s slice, but they do make golf a little less painful for people and hopefully a bit more enjoyable. Plus, they are a great place for beginners to go and not feel the pressure of a “normal” course.

2. Golf takes too long: The game of golf has tried many things to speed up play (Tee It Forward, “While We’re Young”, etc.), but a simple and quick solution is short golf courses. It doesn’t take a neurosurgeon to realize par-5s take longer to play than par-4s, and par 4s longer than par-3s; so playing a course that is all (or mainly all) par-3s means no more 5 or 6 hour rounds! (*collective sigh of relief*)

3. Golf is too expensive: The only thing people hate more than hacking around a golf ball for 5 hours is paying $50-$100 to do so. Par-3 courses are less expensive. Enough said.

Par-3s are certainly not the end all be all solution to growing the game, but they do help, and I think its a great move by the PGA to go with this tournament. It will be fun.

Because let’s be honest, golf is all about having fun anyways, right?

Levi Smith