Whispering Pines

Letter | What if Myrtle Beach turned Whispering Pines into three six-hole courses?

June 10, 2014 

Whispering Pines Golf Course

The view on Whispering Pines Golf Course from the 17th hole green, a par-3 with the new airport terminal building directly behind it. The city-owned course has lost more than $120,000 per year in each of the last three fiscal years.

BY CHARLES SLATE — cslate@thesunnews.com Buy Photo

As the Whispering Pines debate continues, I thought I’d add what I think is an innovative idea. For full disclosure, I no longer play golf due to health issues and when I did play I stunk. With that said, I think this idea could help by attracting more players by cutting down on play time and introduce more people to the course and maybe to the game itself.

I can’t take credit for the plan since I think it’s been mentioned in the past, but why not consider converting the 18-hole, front and back nine courses into three, six-hole courses? The new “standard round” would consist of a par 48, 12-hole course. Each 6-hole round would include a par 5, par 3, and four par 4s. I’m talking full length, and regulation cup size golf. I keep reading about how long it takes to play 18 and how the game continues to lose new players since 4 1/2 hours is just too long.

While playing nine holes is a current option it just doesn’t seem like enough to make it worth it for some. Adding three more holes might just do the trick. As far as time goes, simple math says playing 12 instead of 18 will reduce the play time by 33 percent. The 4 to 4 1/2 hour round now becomes about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Wouldn’t this make the “gen X, Y, millennials” or whoever they are, happier so they can get back to tweeting or Facebooking or whatever?

Not to mention being able “to get a round in” before sundown or going to work, etc. Heck, maybe even an option for a “quick six” for someone who just needs a fix?

Fear not traditionalists. If you want to go for the old-school full 18 you can still do that by opting to play “all 3” for a total of 18 holes with a par 72. Someone smarter than me can determine if the six holes of a par 3, a par 5, and 4 par 4s makes sense and price it in a way that encourages players to choose 12 holes.

Myrtle Beach claims to be one of the country’s top golf destinations so wouldn’t this create a “buzz” as something new and another reason to visit? What’s the downside here? That extra hour or two just might free up enough time to visit the beach, hit a strip bar, or get a better spot in line at the all-you-can-eat.

The writer lives in Garden City Beach

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