People who play golf are talking about an idea to make the sport more popular, especially with kids: Make the hole bigger.
Some people think golf is too hard. Many years ago it was described as “a game whose aim is to hit a very small ball into an even smaller hole, with weapons singularly ill-designed for the purpose.”
So some golf officials figure that if they make the hole 15 inches wide — about the size of an extra-large pizza (no mushrooms!) — players will score better, play faster and have more fun. Some folks even want to allow players to hit do-over shots (after bad ones) or throw the ball out of sand traps.
These changes are being suggested because there were about 30 million golfers in 2005, and by 2012, that number had dropped to about 25 million, according to the National Golf Foundation. And the game is not very popular among kids.
I have played golf since I was a child, and I think bigger holes would be great, especially for kids and beginning golfers. Think about it: We change the rules in lots of kids’ sports to make the games easier and more fun to play. Why should golf be any different?
Many soccer leagues start kids with four-against-four matches on smaller fields without goalies. This is great, because there is more scoring, and all the players get more touches.
A 10-foot basket and a regular basketball are too much for most 7- or 8-year-olds. They can hardly get the ball to the basket. So kids play on an eight-foot basket with a smaller ball.
Little League baseball is a smaller version of the big-league game, with shorter fences and 60-foot base paths instead of the regular 90 feet.
But after a few years of putting the ball into a pizza-size hole, I hope kids would try the adult version of golf. Sports should be about challenging yourself and trying to get better.
It’s hard to swim 100 meters or run a mile or learn to handle a puck while skating. But when you do it, you feel proud and ready to take on something even harder. Games that are too easy become boring.
In fact, golfers often work on their putting by placing a tee or a coin on the practice green. Then they try to hit the tee or coin.
After that, the 4.25-inch hole looks as big as an extra-large pizza.
Bowen writes the sports opinion column for KidsPost. He is the author of 18 sports books for kids that combine sports fiction and sports history. His latest book is “Perfect Game.”