Last year, my regular Sunday morning golf group experimented with a plan to deal with the recent aeration of the greens at our course, Radrick Farms, in Ann Arbor, MI. We decided to play One and Done on the greens. Simply put, once a player’s ball was on the surface of the green, the player could make one attempt at holing the putt. If in, fine; if not, the player picks up the ball and is considered to have made the second putt.
Although a couple of the guys grumbled at the start, we soon realized that this was a better way for us to play golf, for several different reasons.
First of all, play speeds up. Having a 40-footer downhill, we were suddenly fearless. Either it goes in or not, but there will be no 3-putt to fear, hence less time reading (or guessing) the green, no marking the ball, no sweating over the 2nd putt…or the third.
Second, we became more serious in our thinking about how to score. On a long par-four dogleg, which none of us can count on reaching, we were more careful about where to lay up so the third shot would give a better chance of sinking the putt. If in a bunker, we just concentrated on getting the ball someplace on the green. Faced with a shot with the flag tucked behind a bunker but the green open on the other side, we were more intent on getting on from, say, 180 yards, by running it up, rather than laying up for a short pitch over the bunker. (Needless to say, the 180-yard shot over the bunker that would stop on the green is one none of us possesses – our youngest member is 64, oldest will be 79 this summer).
We didn’t turn our scores in for handicap purposes, and no one shot a ridiculous low round. But still…
Some further thoughts.
It would allow more play, because it’s definitely faster. (I have to say that I’ve always been one of the quicker players, but I don’t mind spending time at the golf course. Beats working, shopping, drin – OK, maybe I’m going too far with that…
The poohbahs of golf talk about growing the game. This would help. In fact, when my grandkids were small, we played this way. And they loved it. Also, it’s more fun for the occasional, not serious golfer (think wives who want to spend more time with husbands).
We would see players attempting longer shots, and carrying fewer wedges. For me, seven or eight clubs is enough to shoot in the mid-80s, and the putter can be an old blade, for $5, rather than a Scotty for $300.
If OAD became a popular, or even the preferred way for us to play the game (by us, I mean any amateurs with handicaps of 5 or higher), several options open up for how the course is set up.
Hole Locations: some hole locations are very nasty (steep sidehill, close to the edge, on mounds) some are easy. No need to avoid the nasty ones, or the collection-area.
Green maintenance. Why do all the greens have to run at the same speed? BORING.
Course set-up. Place a greater premium on hitting the fairway. Grow the rough longer. Let the grass on the fairway grow a bit also.
Did I mention that it’s faster?
Finally, I don’t know anyone who could honestly say that putting is more fun than hitting full shots with woods and irons. Or would say that if I didn’t have to worry about three-putting (or four-putting) I’d be less enthusiastic about golf. Golf, I am told, was only match-play in the beginning. Stroke play was initiated in the 19th Century at the British Open. OAD is more like match-play, in that your round is unlikely to be ruined by a few lip-outs.