Short courses

Short courses are gaining popularity with golfing families

AT Suncadia Resort in Elum, Washington, nearly 300 new homes have been built in the past two years.

Mike Jones, Suncadia’s director of golf, said he has seen the number of children on the Arnold Palmer-designed Prospector golf course, as well as the Jacobsen Hardy-designed Rope Rider short course, increase by 50%.

“I used to think of it as a second home for a lot of people, and the residents who lived here full time, the majority were retired,” Mr Jones said. “And since the pandemic all these young kids started moving here and what I started to notice was I was at Prospector and I saw three young kids on the green, and they didn’t know the other kids, and there just wasn’t a sense of community.

To cater to newcomers, Mr. Jones started a PGA Jr. League and also started a meet and greet program on the green, where members could get together to get to know each other and cocktails were served for adults.

Charles Nay, who bought a four-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot cabin in Tumble Creek, a private neighborhood in the Suncadia community, in September 2020 for his family, prefers to play Prospector. But he thinks the short course is perfect for his 13-year-old daughter.

“When she and her friends want to play golf, they get bored and don’t necessarily want to play 18 holes,” said Nay, who lives in Seattle.

In Big Sky, Montana, the Spanish Peaks Mountain Club community will introduce a new short course this spring in addition to its existing 18-hole course designed by Tom Weiskopf. It will be a 10-hole par-3 course, something Weiskopf said the community has been considering for years.

“Covid has really given golf a boost,” he said. “Spanish Peaks has so many members with big families with grandkids, and they want to do what grandpa and grandma are doing, or with their dad and mom. It’s a great way to get people started in the game.”