NEWS

Colorado course enlarges hole sizes

By Joe E. Cervi
Published on

PUEBLO, Colo. -- The singular goal in golf is to get the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible.

Elmwood Golf Course head professional Randal Bregar and his staff just made that a bit easier.

Beginning this weekend, on Saturdays and Sundays only, Elmwood will cut 8-inch golf holes on the greens of the Short Nine. That's nearly twice the size of the traditional 4-inch cup.

"The USGA and the PGA of America are trying different ways to make the game a little bit easier and a little bit more fun," Bregar said. "Golf rounds nationwide are down and the interest doesn't seem to be there like it has been in the past. Hopefully, some of these ideas that courses like ours are trying will spark some interest in golf.

"Golf's a hard game. But it's a really enjoyable game. By making it a little easier, people will have more fun and play more."

Bregar said that the Elmwood grounds crew already has cut the bigger cups for a trial run and the reviews have been positive.

"We've done it on the practice green with our junior golfers and they love it," Bregar said.

Elmwood's staff will replace the bigger cups with the regulation cups during the week to accommodate golf leagues, Bregar said.

As for the coveted ace, or hole in one, it will be easier than ever.

"But it won't really count as an official hole in one, when you get your name in the paper, because only those hit in the regular cups count for those," Bregar said.

Elmwood also experimented with 15-inch cups, but will only cut those in the fairways.

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"Our greens on the Short Nine are too small and it takes a good week-plus for greens to heal when you change pin placements," Bregar said. "If we moved 15-inch holes around every week we'd run out of green space real quick."

The 15-holes, Bregar said, will be part of a new game -- foot golf.

"You get a soccer ball or a kickball and you start at the tee box and kick it until you get it in the 15-hole, which will be in the fairway but near the greens," Bregar said. "We haven't started that program yet because there are some logistical things we have to take care of through the city. But the courses that allow foot golf now are getting rave reviews."

Bregar said rounds at Elmwood this season are roughly the same as a year ago.

"We started the year really strong and were up, but then the rains came in April and May and that cut down play," he said. "Our rounds in 2014 were down from 2013, which was a tough year.

"There aren't many juniors playing right now; we are definitely in a down cycle for junior golf. Maybe this will help."

Elmwood will participate in the USGA's Play9 campaign on July 29.

"We're partnering with the (Colorado Golf Association) and that will be a family day for us," Bregar said. "The USGA and PGA are both pushing for more nine-hole players and this is an effort to publicize playing nine holes at a time."

According to the USGA, 30 percent of public courses in the U.S., are nine holes and 90 percent of public courses offer nine-hole rates. The organizations are extolling the virtues of less time and money spent playing while being able to use nine-hole scores toward handicaps.

Bregar said posting scores using the 8-inch holes also is incorrect.

"The bigger holes are simply to make the game more fun," he said.

This article was written by Joe E. Cervi from The Pueblo Chieftain, Colo. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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