Nick Faldo Foresees 12-hole Resort Courses

Two of golf’s greatest stars, Sir Nick Faldo and Greg Norman, believe that to survive in this time-stressed era the game must embrace 12-hole resort layouts and other radical innovations.

Nick Faldo (Image: Faldo Design)

Sir Nick Faldo says resort courses need to be more playable for high-handicappers. (Image: Faldo Design)

Six-time Major winner Sir Nick Faldo has joined a growing chorus of current and former players and industry icons calling for a new approach to golf course design.

Speaking during the Laguna Golf Classic, an amateur tournament he hosted at Laguna Lang Co Golf Club in Vietnam, Sir Nick, who owns and operates Faldo Design from its London base, said new resort courses should embrace 12-hole layouts and other variations of the traditional 18-hole layout.

Greg Norman golf course architect (Image: Greg Norman Golf Course Design)

Greg Norman says designers must find a way to attract young golfers. (Image: Greg Norman Golf Course Design)

“We have to break down the mentality and design courses, especially around hotels, that enable people to get out for two or three hours. Obviously, full courses with length are necessary for tournament golf, but there has to be a change of thinking for people who want to go and have some fun.”

Sir Nick also said it’s essential for golf course designers to embrace environmentally-friendly, sustainable concepts in their plans.

He said he and his Faldo Design team were “looking at all these things” in their future planning. So far, Faldo Design has 24 courses in play and 10 under construction worldwide, including the acclaimed Laguna Lang Co layout that opened in Central Vietnam in 2013.

Among the courses he has designed is Bad Saarow at the Sporting Club Berlin, which is a candidate to host the 2022 Ryder Cup and, possibly, the 2024 Olympic Games golf tournament if Berlin is named host city.

One of Sir Nick’s greatest on-course rivals, Australia’s Greg Norman, who also has a global golf design business, United States-based Greg Norman Golf Course Design, last year said golf has to “get out of its box and develop different concepts.”

Also speaking in Vietnam, where he opened The Bluffs Ho Tram course he designed south-east of Ho Chi Minh City, Norman said golf has failed to attract young people and that six- and 12-hole formats of the game are needed.

He said the best tour pros, on average, hit 8-irons into the green on par-4 holes. He argues courses should be set up to give players similar approach shots. Instead of making courses longer, 6,000 to 6,400 yards courses are more realistic.

“You have people wanting to change the equipment, change the rules. Why? Why not just make it more playable?”

 

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