During the 10-plus years when Tiger Woods routinely dominated the field of players on the PGA Tour, golf reached its zenith of popularity in the United States. Over the subsequent decade, however, the sport’s popularity with younger generations has receded. To compensate, a number of golf resorts recently have built (or are building) short courses of various size and length, believing that these less-imposing layouts will introduce the game to younger, prospective players and may help them to foster a love of the sport.
“Golf is at the crossroads,” Gary Player said a few months before his Mountain Top Course at Big Cedar Lodge opened this past summer. “No longer can we rely on the standard 18-hole course to attract players. Let’s build a course that is for families and those learning golf, but also can be challenging for experienced players. Let’s do something different.”
In particular, Player emphasized that these short courses will make the game more affordable and more fun, especially for novice players. He also believes that these courses will make for faster play, another factor that may encourage younger generations to take up or stick with the sport. “They are not only critical to golf in the USA, but all over the world,” Player says of these short layouts. “The future is now. Get people excited; give them something new to be enthusiastic about. Golf is thought of as a traditional sport, but times are changing. We must appeal to the younger generation, and this is the first step.”
The following short courses, which either recently opened or will open soon, represent the best of that new era of golf that Player passionately supports.