18 Holes In Golf: Fact Vs. Myth

Why Is Golf 18 Holes
Photo from PGATour.com

Expect 18 Holes

The golf hole standard is changing. For so long, we have expected 18 holes in golf. Yes, some courses have stepped outside of the box. The Family Fore course in Vermont keeps it short and sweet with 4 holes. The Parkersburg Country Club in Vienna, West Virginia, has twenty-one holes. However, more often than not, most golf courses will be 18 holes. You may wonder how this came to be. A legend involves whiskey and an ancient Irish pub, but how true this story depends on your proclivity to imagine.

Was Whiskey Really Involved?

Here are the facts:

  • From 1764 till today, there is a clubhouse bar near the Old Course at St. Andrews called The 19th Hole.
  • In 1764 golfers gathered after the round to settle bets and drink whiskey with their playing partners.
  • Some bottles of whiskey contain 18 shots.
  • Whiskey has nothing to do with how 18 holes of golf came to be.
  • In 1764, at the Old Course at St. Andrews, there were twelve holes initially. Golfers would play ten of the twelve holes forward and then back, making 22 holes.
  • Subsequently, golfers combined four of the holes into two. This change marked the beginning of 18 holes in golf.
  • This change marked the beginning of 18 holes in golf and other courses soon followed suit
  • Although there were still golf courses with varying numbers of holes, 18 holes became the standard for golf courses in the early 1900s.

More Fun Facts About 18 Holes Of Golf

  • 18 holes of golf is a good workout. It is suggested that you play 3-4 times a week for a healthy heart.
  • It takes approximately 4 hours to play 18 holes of golf
  • If you push your golf cart you can burn 1,400 calories while playing.
  • The average distance walked while playing 18 holes is approximately 6 miles. This includes walking off course ( i.e., parking lot, clubhouse, restroom, etc.)

Photo from Scottish Golf History

We really do not have to make a case for 18 holes. Golfers around the globe seem content with playing them. And have many other options to choose from. Although the legend around 18 holes and the whiskey bottle is a fun tall tale, the more practical version about combining the four holes seems more likely. But you can only partially rule out whiskey.

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