Norman’s solution: Create 12-hole courses
BANGKOK, Thailand – Greg Norman has led the call for a paradigm shift in the mindset of the golfing industry.
Echoing the sentiments of many of his fellow high-profile speakers and panelists at the fourth Asia Pacific Golf Summit (APGS), the Australian delivered a timely dose of reality, saying the game needs to broaden its horizons and become more inclusive.
A longtime advocate of junior golf, Norman said: “We have to get more players into the game and be increasingly creative in the ways to attract them. Golf has to become more accessible and affordable. It has to open up.”
One of the most active golf course architects in the region with ongoing projects in China and Vietnam, Norman said there is a need to “think outside the box” when it comes to golf facilities.
He cited a 12-hole course he has designed in South America as a potential model for Asia. “There’s nothing to say that a golf course has to be 18 holes. Why shouldn’t 12-hole courses be successful in Asia?” said Norman, adding that such facilities would encourage more people to participate and also would take less time to play.
Norman’s concerns about the lack of newcomers entering the game also were voiced by former LPGA star Annika Sorenstam, Troon Golf president and CEO Hud Hinton and Erik Larsen, president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects.
Hinton warned that golf is facing tough times.
“The game is too expensive to play, too difficult to play, too expensive to operate – and the pace of play is too slow,” said Hinton.
In these difficult economic times, Hinton also said it is essential for the golf industry to work together on the problems it is facing.