Date: Wed 26 Apr 2017

Iceland abandons 18-hole requirement for golf championships

Edwin Roald’s vision of flexible hole counts becomes a reality.

A handful of new holes are to be added to the existing nine holes at the stunning Brautarholt Golf Club in Reykjavik, masterplanned by Edwin Roald. Photo by Fridthjofur Helgason.

A handful of new holes are to be added to the existing nine holes at the stunning Brautarholt Golf Club in Reykjavik, masterplanned by Edwin Roald. Photo by Fridthjofur Helgason.

In a pioneering move to inspire responsible resource use and respond to changing lifestyles, The Golf Union of Iceland has struck all reference to hole counts from its championship criteria. Therefore, 18 holes are no longer a requirement for golf championships in Iceland, a country where around 10% of the population of 330 thousand are reported to play golf on almost seventy courses, most of which have nine holes.

Explaining this seemingly unprecedented move, GUI president Haukur Birgisson said: “People’s needs have changed and will continue to do so. This includes people who already play golf and those interested in taking up a healthy form of outdoor life.”

Recent media coverage and industry discussion have revealed growing concerns that an 18-hole round of golf may at risk of becoming irrelevant to growing numbers of existing and potential golfers. “People need more options. We should not stand in the way of innovation among our member golf clubs. Therefore we are introducing more flexibility. For us, this is appropriate on many levels, because the focused concept of golf’s return to flexible hole counts comes from Iceland,” Haukur added, referring to the why18holes.com concept developed and advocated by Edwin Roald, an Icelandic golf architect.

On his website, why18holes.com, Roald explains how re-introducing the flexible hole counts prevalent in golf for centuries, before a series of events led to a standard round in the late 1800s can make golf become more accessible and responsible.

Click here to read more about Edwin.

Golf Course Design
Sustainability