I keep going back to what Nicklaus proposed several years back... turning a round of golf into 12 holes. Less time spent away from the family on the weekend, less money spent on a round of golf.
One in which recognizes 6-hole handicaps, 9-hole handicaps, 12-hole handicaps and 18-hole handicaps that can all be formulated accurately to help determine an official and accurate across-the-board handicap.
But it would take a revolutionary change, one in which would require a several-years timeline for the golf course industry to implement and adjust to, functionally speaking.
It would be (imo) the closest concept the industry could efficiently manage as it relates to pay-per-hole system.
I would be all-in on a 12-hole round of golf... less time spent away from the family, less money spent on daily greens fees. But with the option still available for those who prefer the traditional 18-hole round. If the golf course industry is genuinely interested in making golf more accessible... reducing greens fees, and the time invested on a weekend to complete a round of golf - this concept is indeed worth considering.
But the golf industry as a whole has historically been against change, up until about a year ago when the USGA decided it was long past due to update their rules to make them more player-friendly and understandable. But this would be perceived as a radical, last-resort type option. It would require a global change, and a radical change at that.
Which is why it most likely would never happen. But I think Nicklaus's idea would go a long way to get more people out to the golf course and increase participation.
I think we'd be shocked to find just how many people would suddenly find an incentive to play if they could simply shave a few bucks off of their greens fees, yet still maintain a handicap, and doing so without having to devote half of a Saturday or Sunday away from their families.
I'm sure I'm in the minority on the concept, but I think it's the best idea that has been offered regarding the time and expense factor.