Rules changes for golf – is the game too hard?

Perusing the golf news and headlines this weekend, I ran into an interesting article here. In essence, Mr. Nicklaus is proposing making the game a bit easier and faster through a couple of changes.

  1. Making the hole 8 inches in diameter instead of 4 1/2 inches. This is intended to make putting easier and I would guess this would move the game along quicker as well. The golfing gal pals and I tend to spend time on making those putts.
  2. Reducing the number of holes played to 12 from 18. I can certainly agree to this. I love to play golf, but 18 holes can take the better part of an entire day. Many of us are busy folks with families. Nine holes often doesn’t seem like enough – maybe 12 would be the magic number
  3. Restricting the time for play to 2 1/2 hours and penalizing players one stroke for every five minutes over that 2 1/2 hour limit. Golf is one of the few sports that has no time restriction. For weekend play, this seems unlikely to be enforceable. Perhaps in tournaments a time limit is workable. I would think the networks would be in favor.

Mr. Nicklaus is holding tournaments at his Muirfield Village Club using these new rules to try to make the game more appealing to new golfers. I can see his point. I’ve known folks that quit playing because it takes too much time and is often just too hard to keep a level of competence if you don’t play at least once per week. Maybe some new variations on the game will bring out some new players.

How do you feel about these changes? What changes might be made in order to make the game a bit easier and maybe a bit quicker?