This is the first part of a series in discussing pace-of-play
Have you ever asked a staff member at the course, “How’s the pace today?”
An answer to that question can set the tone for the round.
You typically see golf courses’ pace-of-play policy being 4 hours to 4 hours and 30 minutes. There are many factors that create pace-of-play issues, but I am here to debunk a few myths.
Pace of Play Discrimination
Slow play does not care if you are a man, woman, child, beginner or avid golfer. When you arrive at the course any golfer is capable of playing slow, and it is a golfer’s responsibility to play in the allotted time for the course’s pace-of-play.
The course provides ‘Player Assistants’ in helping groups know what their pace is and monitoring all group’s pace on the course. In this, working through the course’s responsibility to the pace-of-play.
Golf Should Be Played in 4 Hours
With modern design of golf courses, is this realistic? If newer courses increase the distance from green to tee, naturally it will take longer to play the round. This also comes into affect when the course takes you through residential areas and across streets.
As the USGA has a rating system for the course difficulty, each course has a separate pace-of-paly to match travel time around the golf course. Call it a ‘Pace Rating’. What does not factor in is if the group is riding or walking, all groups are to be playing at the correct pace.
One Player is Really Slow. That is Why We Are Behind
This may be true, but if the group is behind it is the group’s responsibility to try and pick up time on the course. How would you handle the slower player? Scream at them? Tell them they shouldn’t be on the course? Would you ask yourself, “How would I want someone to tell me I am playing slow?”
There are many tips for each player to utilize in picking up time on the course (in which I will discuss tips in the next post), but I would say throwing out the honors rule and playing ready golf, is the best tip.
This means first to arrive at the tee box hits first. If a player hits their shot over the green, from the bunker, and other players are on the green waiting to putt, putt while the player walks to their errant shot.
Pace-of-Play is the elephant in the room. Education is the most important factor in understanding pace and each golf course is working towards better pace and increased enjoyment of the round. Now if we could only work towards more birdies and less doubles!