What is an Executive Golf Course?

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Executive Golf Course

Virtually all golfers are aware they can play a regulation-length course with 18 holes and a 72 par to complete them or just play nine holes when time is short. Most golfers also have access to one or more par-3 courses that do away with the driver and lets you play a relatively quick nine or 18 holes with the irons and putter. The par-3 or Pitch and Putt course lets you get in 18 holes and really work on your short game with sometimes very creative holes for less than the cost of a full round of golf and much faster.

Another option that many do not consider and of which many are unaware is the executive golf course. An executive course requires a full bag of clubs to complete but is not as long as a regulation course and has fewer strokes to hit par. Instead of regulation-length par 72 course that might measure 7,000 yards, an executive course is shorter and reduces par by up to 10 strokes or so.  I actually grew up on an executive course in Fort Wayne, McMillen Park GC.  Spent the first 18 years of my golf career there!

Why is it called an Executive Golf Course

The executive golf course fulfills a niche that enables otherwise very busy people located in more urban centers to get in a full 18 holes, including at least one par 5, in about the same time it would take to have a long lunch. The two important elements of an executive course come into play: Time and space restrictions.

While most golf courses are located in relatively rural or formerly rural areas where vacant land is in abundance, an executive golf course usually is located in a more urban environment where the real estate values are high and so are the taxes and insurance costs to own property. An executive course can occupy a relatively smaller amount of land, like behind a resort hotel, and be readily accessible to local businesspeople who want to get in 18 holes in under two hours.

Many executives and other businesspeople are taught the importance and value of learning how to play golf at least competently well. That is because a round of golf is a great business networking opportunity and a chance to interact and possibly make a groundbreaking deal – while also sinking a great putt or two.

Golf also lets others know how well you handle the inevitable frustration of a bad shot or how well you handle the outcome. In that respect, a gracious loser can be a huge winner after a relatively frustrating round on an executive golf course when matched with the right group.

General Makeup of an Executive Golf Course

An executive golf course exchanges longer holes for shorter ones but still leaves some par 4s and usually a par 5. That ensures players will have to use their full range of golfing skills and bring a driver or other favorite long-hitting clubs for the par 4 and par 5 holes. The shorter course length and par scores the generally are in the low 60s make it a lot easier to complete relatively quickly.

While a regulation course uses several par 4s and two or three par 5s, the executive course switches to more par 3s and par 4s to provide the feel of a full round of golf. When using a cart you can get through the course much faster while still enjoying many challenging drives and needing to make some longer approach shots.

You still employ the full range of your golf skills and have water hazards, sand traps, tree lines and plenty of rough to challenge your golfing skills. That helps to deliver a full golfing experience in a more compact format that fits within a smaller footprint. The smaller footprint makes it possible to create an executive golf course in locations that otherwise could not support a full regulation course.

How Long to Play an Executive Golf Course?

An executive golf course typically is open to the general public but does not get the same pressure as a public course. Many people do not want to drag a bag of golf clubs onto a city bus or taxi to get to a golf course. But businesspeople, executives and others who are avid golfers and who enjoy playing a full round while networking and possibly getting some business done can take full advantage of an executive golf course and for less money than it would at a private club and many public courses.

Utilizing a golf watch for GPS distances can help speed up your play. 

The relatively light pressure on an executive course combined with the generally experienced nature of golfers who use them make it a lot easier and faster to play 18 holes. Most golfers are using carts, which likely are required at most executive golf courses. The course owners also generally provide greater oversight to keep play flowing and ensure golfers are playing at a pace that ensures everyone can get a satisfying round completed in about two hours or so.

Is Special Equipment Required?

Your regular golfing equipment should work fine on any executive golf course that you might play. Odds are you will use a cart, but it helps to have a handcart just in case walking the course is an option and one that you might prefer. Proper golf shoes certainly are a good idea and might be required at several executive golf courses. The scoring and all other aspects are the same as when playing nine or 18 holes on a regulation-length course, but you just have fewer strokes to get it done.

Making the Most of the Executive Golf Course

If you work near an executive golf course and are among those who like to use a round of golf as a way to network and pitch business ideas, then it pays to learn the local course as best as possible. If you consistently post low scores, you become a more desirable playing partner and might get more networking opportunities.

Like most other golf courses, a golf rangefinder or golf GPS can help you to learn the course layout and make the best club and swing choices to post the best scores. A rangefinder with an angle slope adjustment will work especially well by giving you more detailed information on the approach shots so that you can land the ball on the green more consistently.

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