After a brief experimental period using them on the putting and chipping greens, the 15-inch cups went live on the east course at Oaks North last week and have been well received, says Lloyd Porter, Head Professional at Oaks North.
“The feedback has been good, and actually really good,” he says.
The cups are part of an initiative sponsored by TaylorMade Golf to make the game more accessible for who amateurs who don’t play often or non-golfers who might be discouraged by the difficulty of scoring.
JC Golf has offered Oaks North and Encinitas Ranch to be among the 100 test courses TaylorMade sought to recruit for the concept, termed “Hack Golf” by TaylorMade CEO Mark King when it was announced at the January PGA Show.
At the launch event at Pauma Valley last spring, King explained he got the concept from a novelty hole he played in a charity tournament once.
Besides increased scoring, the holes are also meant to improve pace of play by drastically reducing the time spent on greens reading putts, etc. Porter says that goal has already been realized.
“It’s unbelievably faster,” he says. “It would be fantastic (for pace) if it would catch on.”
JC is making the experience affordable and memorable by offering nine holes on the 15-inch cups for $15 (cart not included). For reference, by the way, 15 inches is larger than a paint can, but smaller than a basketball hoop.
Porter says younger players have been especially receptive to the concept.
“One of our junior camps went out and a kid chipped in for a birdie and sank a long putt. He was so excited,” Porter says. “Those are probably the first two birdies in his life. So the kids can really relate to the scoring part of it.”
The east course features two holes – one regulation and one enlarged – on each green. The location of the larger hole is noted by a flag with a “15” on it.
Having both holes is providing exposure to the game to players who book 18-hole rounds, Porter says, whether they chose to play the larger holes or not. (Rules note: If a ball goes in the larger hole during a regulation round, simply take relief and consider it a hole made by a greens keeper. And vice versa.)
Porter says it’s too early to draw any conclusions about the impact of the holes on new players, but reports that so far the launch has been successful.
“It’s going to take time to catch on,” he says, “but so far the feedback has been very positive.”
To book your nine-hole round for $15 at Oaks North, go to www.jcgolf.com or call 858.487.3021.