Whether it’s the world of business or Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, the concept of Evolve or Die is a constant reminder that we live in a changing world. The golf industry and their businesses are no stranger to this phenomenon as various factors have forced their facilities to re-evaluate what they can offer to their customers. The avid golfer is always going to golf, but it’s the “new golfer” that seems to be more difficult to lure to this game and various attempts have been made to solve this conundrum of attracting the new without offending or putting off the golf purists.
As an avid golfer myself I set out to see if the latest offering from Redwoods Golf Course in Langley was indeed up to par.
The concept seems bold when you first hear about it, 8 inch holes as opposed to the standard 4.25 inch holes traditionally used at Golf Courses. The marketing was bold as well as Redwoods Golf Course and their staff let everyone know what they were planning and they hit the airwaves and social media channels to share their excitement. As expected there was a mixed response and purists were concerned about the change while others were intrigued at the concept of larger cups to putt into. I know I was looking forward to an easier time on the greens!
Once I arrived it was very apparent that it was indeed “8 Inch Tuesday” as a large pin, appropriately adorned with a Canadian flag on the end of it, was cut in the putting green along with the regular pins. Right away this gave me an opportunity to putt into the larger cup and I admit it wasn’t easy at first as I still left a couple short and it wasn’t the slam dunk I thought it would be.
When I checked in at the golf shop and connected with the starter, it was very pleasing that all of the staff were very aware of the 8 inch Tuesday program and let us know what flags were the larger ones and which were regular….yes, and this is when I realized that this program was a winner. They cut 2 pins into every green and cut them well apart from each other. On average it seemed that the larger pin was closer to the front and the regular pins are in the more difficult area’s so that they were not in each other’s ways. All of the sudden, possibilities began to emerge in my head for future visits. Now I can bring a beginner with myself and not sacrifice my own experience if I am looking for a challenging day. In our case it was very fitting as usually when we sneak out to play on a Tuesday afternoon after work, we aren’t really too worried about our score and it’s more of an opportunity to play some golf and enjoy the surroundings. But having both pins available is a great way to keep the purists happy and encourage an environment welcoming to new and junior golfers. Plus, you can always say you’re playing the proper pins and once you’re out there, no one will really know… wink,wink.
The final thought involved the evening round of golf itself. I ended up arriving an hour early and we asked if the two of us could play sooner and were notified that the course was pretty busy and had been booked solid for the last hour or more. As an avid golfer, you always cringe when you hear that the course is booked solid and we were teeing off at 3:15pm so it’s fair to say that there were a lot of players out there and we feared it would be a long day. Again, whether it was the golf operations staff or the large holes, we managed to finish the round in just over 4 hours and that to me is another reason why this endeavor is a sustainable one.
During my time before my round began I went to the 18th green and spoke with players coming off of the course. It seemed a split down the middle between players that used the regular sized pins and the larger ones. Some regular golfers there stated that if the weather was bad or if they were in a hurry that the larger pins offer them a solution to making the course easier without having to play from the closer tees. A few of them also stated that after seeing the large pins that they could see their kids and non golf friends / spouses enjoying this as well. There was also a group of, shall we say, long in the tooth golfers that just loved the idea. The quote of the day went to one of these elder statesman who said to me “Son, when you’ve paid as much money as I have over the years playing golf, you deserve a good break now and then.” His good break came in the 5 birdies he made that day using the larger cups.
All in all, as an avid golfer and one who tends to have friends who aren’t as dedicated to the game but enjoy the ambiance, I feel that “8 Inch Tuesdays” is definitely worth checking out and I hope something that sticks around for a few seasons.