Jack Nicklaus opens Golf Park at Red Ledges
August 5, 2016
Football games usually take three hours or less to play. Baseball games (except when the Red Sox and Yankees play) are generally three hours or less. Basketball, soccer and hockey games all take less than three hours from start to finish.
Golf, on the other hand, is a much more time-consuming endeavor. Rounds of 18 holes can take five or six hours to complete.
Jack Nicklaus, a legendary golfer whose 18 major victories are still the most all-time, wants to change that.
On Thursday afternoon, he was at Red Ledges for the grand opening of the Jack Nicklaus Signature 12-Hole Golf Park. The par-3 course was born after Nicklaus visited the Heber club to check on an original design for the space.
"We started out with sort of a nine-hole, executive-style golf course," he said. "That's what we did on paper. My first visit out to check out what we were doing, I started thinking about why in the world are we doing this this way? By putting two par-4s on it, you're asking people to take an entire set of golf clubs with them. We want people to only have to put three or four clubs in a bag."
In the interest of making golf more fun for people who find the traditional 18-hole rounds too long, Nicklaus said the Golf Park will be open for families and golfers to play however they'd like. There are two holes on each green — one at the traditional size and one a little bit larger.
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"People can come out here and do whatever they want," Nicklaus said. "If you want to come out here and play it with a soccer ball, if you want to play it with a ping-pong ball, you can play it with whatever you want."
Though Nicklaus earned his accolades and made his name playing traditional 18-hole golf, he said he recognizes the need to make golf more accessible to more people.
"Maybe it's because I was that [traditional golfer], I can look outside of the box," he said. "I've tried, especially in the last few years, to do things that will grow the game and bring people into the game."
With the new golf park, Nicklaus said he's trying to tackle some of the sport's biggest challenges.
"The three hardest things we have in the game of golf are the amount of time it takes to play it, the difficulty and the cost factor," he said. "You take those three things and this here is fairly inexpensive, it's very quick and it's not very difficult."
Above all else, though, Nicklaus wanted to make it clear that the space he designed as a 12-hole golf course is really for families and golfers to use as they please.
"It's a recreational park for a community," he said. "It just happens to have golf in it."
For more information on the new 12-hole golf park at Red Ledges, visit http://www.redledges.com.