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Published 08 August 2012 01:25, Updated 08 August 2012 02:02
The trends that are shaping the future of golf are the same as those shaping the rest of the world: a shift towards Asia, the “increasing feminisation of the public world”, urbanisation, the spread of digital technology and resources and sustainability pressures, according to financial services firm HSBC.
Its report: Golf’s 2020 Vision, found that time pressures and shortage of space in cities mean that, internationally, golf will continue to move towards shorter formats that can be played faster.
Overseas courses are already being designed with options to play six holes rather than 18 and France’s winning Ryder Cup 2018 bid – with a commitment to build hundreds of short urban courses – indicates the magnitude of the change, HSBC says. France has an urban golf development plan that seeks to increase the number of registered French golfers from 400,000 to 700,000. Similarly improved simulator technology will be used more frequently, especially in busy Asian metropolitan centres where golf courses are inaccessible.
Scotland’s leading Troon course has developed a nine-hole version of its Monument course, with the challenge of a competition course combined with options for juniors and less experienced players. Elsewhere, designers are developing formats that lay out a full 18-hole course in such a way that players can return to the clubhouse after every six holes, giving them options of playing for six, 12 or 18 holes.
“It seems only a matter of time before a broadcaster creates a high-profile, short-form professional competition in the same way that cricket has developed the Twenty20 format,” the report finds.