The 2 hole target started in Ohio. That was the center of the trap shooting universe back when the 2 hole target became popular. So many of the Ohio clubs were doing this it became the norm.
It spread out in all directions The ATA couldn't stop it so they put to a vote and the 2 hole became the standard.
The EC was very upset with the Ohio clubs for promoting the 2 hole target so a few years later the Grand was moved out of Ohio to Sparta. (There never was an Air Port expansion planned but this was a good excuse to leave Ohio)
Of course that was after they had stripped the life members of there almost super hero like powers.
I could tell you all about who bought up all the land around Sparta prior to the move but that would likely mean I would get me card pulled or my ticket punched
I believe that the two hole targets started for a "nearly innocent" reason. The most widely used trap target thrower across the nation was the Winchester 1524X. It has an angle adjusting, rotating plate with different holes drilled, threaded and marked 1,2,3,4,5. near them. A threaded stud is screwed into one of the holes to determine the target angles. The greater the number the wider the angles.
The #3 hole target was the norm and that hole produced a target's greatest angles as a straight-a-way from posts 1 and 5.
As years went by most of the #3 holes would "woller out" and wear out the threads in the rotating angle adjusting plate. Not wanting to throw the greater angles of a #4 hole setting, shoot managers went the easier way and put the stud in the #2 hole. Most of the time they'd never replace the rotating adjustable plate. Some even drilled and tapped another hole in between the #3 and #2 hole and threw 2 and 1/2 hole targets.
Unfortunately, I guess, and eventually, people liked shooting the easier targets and started voting with their pocketbooks. They preferred shooting at the clubs throwing the 2 hole targets and avoided the 3 hole clubs. Well, you can guess what happened ... the pressure to attract their shooters back, the clubs throwing the older, more difficult 3 hole targets succumbed to the pressure and put their machines in the two hole.
What started out as a "quick fix" to get through the shooting day turned into a trend and the shooters preferred it. Right or wrong, the easier 2 hole target became the new norm.
One year (maybe 1995) however, some of our EC members thought we should go back to the #3 hole target. There was some very vocal support to do that too. They made the change and even the Grand threw #3 hole and 50 yd. targets (regardless of the wind speed) but the negative grumbling was so intense amongst the general shooters that they were forced to take another look at target flight and angles. I think (editorially) it was sort of a "perfect storm" moment for the ATA and we were at the beginning of a downturn in shooting anyway, so the urgency to make the #2 hole target the rule was natural in an effort to hold on to as many shooters as we could.
So you see, that the target angle change that made the "2 hole" the most popular was more "evolutionary" at first. There was considerable and heated discussion as to which would be defined as the rule. The ATA made the change permanent by choosing to define the angles that had evolved from the target angles thrown by that old Winchester 1524X trap set in the it's #2 hole. The choice was made for economic reasons. There was fear that making the game harder had shown it was not in trapshooting's best interest. Simple as that.
Here on Trapshooters.com the debate about whether we should be throwing #2 or #3 hole targets boils on. Frankly, I see both sides. Isn't it just all relative, especially to our newest shooters? I think one of the most attractive things about trapshooting is that it is one of the most economical clay target sports. How hard the targets are thrown is just relative ... but that's just me.
Barry wrote: "One year (maybe 1995) however, some of our EC members thought we should go back to the #3 hole target."
I think the real reason was the fact that we had a Rule in black and white that was being ignored by the majority of clubs and the EC at the time wanted a showdown to either stick with the printed Rule book or change it.
I know Shawn and I know that his very funny post was written tongue in cheek.
As for the way our current rules are written, I don't know if the "old three hole rules" were ever clear enough to enforce properly. I seem to remember that there was a "plus/minus" variation in it that made it somewhat vague and a 2 hole target really wasn't "illegal".
When the "2 hole rule" was written it was more well defined and rigid, as it should be. Now if we want to go back to 3 hole type targets, then it would have to be equally defined. Frankly, I don't care, as long as it doesn't hurt the ATA membership.
What I don't hear is a universal outcry to go back to the "old days" by enough people .... only a few opinions here looking for something to blame the downturn in trapshooting on.
When I go to Ben Avery to shoot practice and talk to new shooters, they really aren't familiar enough with the past of the game to have any opinion. What they need is encouragement to continue shooting clay targets and become trapshooters ... and hopefully, competitive ATA trapshooters.
What we need now is more shooters and your encouragement is needed to help make the sport grow. Find a friend and take him/her to the club. Ask someone to join you at the trap club. Concentrate on growing the sport instead of finding fault.
If we do that it wont make a wits difference how wide the angles are, as long as they're uniform and the same for everybody.