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How Long a Course Should You Play?

by Chris Mile, President of Miles of Golf

I have wanted to tackle this question for sometime because it is a real big deal, and I have seen some half baked answers to this question. In my book, every golfer should have the opportunity to hit par threes in one shot, par fours in two, and par fives in three. If this is not possible, you are playing a course that is too long, and If you play a course that is too long or too short, you will not get the joy you should from the game.

Computing Your Ideal Course Distance. The answer to the question of how long a course should be is real simple. It is 28. Just multiply the length of your average drive by 28 and that, in my estimation, is the length of a course that will be challenging but enjoyable to play.

The logic behind the “Driver x 28″ is that an ideal course will have a combination of easy, moderately difficult, and difficult holes. Knowing the length of your drive, you can estimate how far you hit your other clubs. For example, most golfers will hit their 6 iron 64% of the distance of their driver. If a medium distance par 4 is a drive and #6 iron, you know the length of a good par four for you is 164% of the distance of your drive. Having this information plus definitions for short, medium, and long holes, you can compute the total distance for an ideal course for you based upon your driving distance.

If your average drive is 200, a moderate par five distance is 466 yards. (2.33 x 200 yards). Carry this same logic for each hole and you come up with a distance of (driver distance x 28) for an ideal course length.

Questions regarding “Driver x 28″:

1. What if there is not a set of tees that correspond with my ideal yardage? First of all, don’t expect that you will be able to match the yardage number exactly. If you are close, within 5%, that should work out fine. Also, there is nothing wrong with making up your own course. Your course me be comprised of holes using different tees. Your objective should be to play holes that always give you the possibility of hitting each green in regulation (1 for par three, 2 for par fours, and 3 for par fives). The only downside to making up your own course is that you will not have a course rating for handicapping.

2. What if everyone else in my group is playing from different tees than me? Hold your ground. Everyone will have more fun if you play the proper tees. Nobody likes to play with a frustrated playing partner. If you are wagering, the handicap system accommodates players using different tees, so if you are playing a shorter course, you will receive fewer shots.

3. Shouldn’t the length of the course be adjusted by your handicap? NO. There are tons of examples of high handicap golfers who can hit it a ton. Are they going to like playing a real short course? The same for a low handicap golfer who is a short hitter. Will he or she enjoy hitting fairway woods into most par fours?


One response

  1. Doc

    This guy Shane McClure PGA member is a genious!! Proud to be his gofer at Dick’s!! Not golfer-Gofer!!

    August 14, 2011 at 3:56 pm

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