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Establishing better rules for pace of play

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I’m saddened to report that Golf Czar has relinquished his title. It seems that when reading the fine print I didn’t understand that wearing the uniform was mandatory at all golf functions, including playing! Let me tell you, in the Texas summer heat it was just no fun. Fortunately, I was able to negotiate a 27-year severance with benefits!

Future columns will relate to posted comments and yes I have read all of them. The two main issues are pace of play and cost. This installment will cover pace of play.

I see no value in discussing pace of play at a private club. Before anyone joins there should be a question of what’s expected and how is it managed.  If you are told “It’s the Pro’s job,” I suggest you make haste slowly. The golf professional cannot regulate folks who essentially pay his salary. It’s a club function and they should have a system in place.

Since 90 percent of all golf is played on public courses, and there are several variations from local municipal to deluxe resorts, how can we come up with one standard that fits all of them? I made many calls to public courses and asked what their policy was on pace of play. Basically, they told me they “encouraged ” moving along and employed rangers to monitor. I say that is inadequate.

Think of it this way; playing any public course is a contract. You give them money for access, and in return you agree to play by their clearly expressed rules. Featured in those rules is speed of play, defined as the total time for a round monitored by intervals.

Say you are allotted 1 hour and 20 minutes for the first six holes and you are on a 1-hour and 40-minute pace. You will be given a chance to speed up or be escorted from the course. I can already hear the comments, “That will never work where I play.” Yes, I know some rangers are ineffective, as are some pro shop employees. We can all point to operations that aren’t well run, but this proposal is conceptual. If golfers respond positively, it will get refined and go a long way to solving the pace of play issue. It works for resorts; it works everywhere.

Let’s say the 6-hole time is 1:20 and your group is playing at a 1:10 pace and waiting. Slow down! The groups in front of you are living up to the contract and you cannot play through everyone.

One of my contacts for this article called this a phone app in the making. It may be inevitable, but I somewhat naively like to think of a round of golf time away from phones. Playing the game requires concentration and the 4 or so hours away from everything else is usually a good thing.

Let me give you an example of this concept working. In La Quinta, Calif., is a course called The Palms. It’s private, but very reasonable as private courses go (no social events, it’s a place to play golf). When you join you are informed that it’s a 3:45 course (and it’s no pushover). They are very strict about 3:45. You get monitored and failure to adhere is a warning with more penalties for repeat offenders. This applies to walkers and riders, all ages, genders and it makes a point. Much has been written about how to speed up play, and while some comments have merit, it’s the cart before the horse. Pace of play is a culture; establish the ground rules and golfers will adjust.

Imagine a future conversation along these lines.

“Let’s play Goat Hills,” Golfer 1 says.

“Remember we were there and it’s a 4:20 with all those forced carries and deep bunkers?” Golfer 2 says.

“How about that one course … Sloping Fairways? It’s a 3:50 and a lot more fun,” Golfer 1 says.

Guess who gets the business? Some readers live in densely populated areas that don’t have a “Sloping Fairways.” I understand, it will never be an equal playing field, but if we spotlight the pace issue and courses are identified as 3:40, 3:50, 4:00 or 5:00 courses, then the marketplace will dictate.

I know some of you will say cost is a relative factor and that analysis is coming; one issue at a time!

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Barney Adams is the founder of Adams Golf and the inventor of the iconic "Tight Lies" fairway wood. He served as Chairman of the Board for Adams until 2012, when the company was purchased by TaylorMade-Adidas. Adams is one of golf's most distinguished entrepreneurs, receiving honors such as Manufacturing Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young in 1999 and the 2010 Ernie Sabayrac Award for lifetime contribution to the golf industry by the PGA of America. His journey in the golf industry started as as a club fitter, however, and has the epoxy filled shirts as a testimony to his days as an assembler. Have an equipment question? Adams holds seven patents on club design and has conducted research on every club in the bag. He welcomes your equipment questions through email at barneyadams9@gmail.com Adams is now retired from the golf equipment industry, but his passion for the game endures through his writing. He is the author of "The WOW Factor," a book published in 2008 that offers an insider's view of the golf industry and business advice to entrepreneurs, and he continues to contribute articles to outlets like GolfWRX that offer his solutions to grow the game of golf.

177 Comments

177 Comments

  1. Andy W

    Dec 16, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    In an attempt to avoid too much analysis that causes paralysis, it is always one or two groups that delay the entire field for the day. It’s never the dew busters who always fly around the course…

    Quick & easy rules to eliminate slow play:

    1. Ready golf, period….
    2. If you shoot 70 to 80, get a routine and stick to it, and it matters not how long you take doing it.
    3. If you are 90+, do NOT take three full practice swings on each shot. You actually shoot 400 instead of 100, and that takes forever. Get better if want to take multiple practice swings.
    4. Rangers at my course actually get in the way. Yet Rangers know the slow group(s), so get in front of it to forecaddie and put a surveyor’s flag at the hidden balls’ resting spots. Then leave to forecaddie the next four shots.
    5. #1 cause of slow play is the LOST ball. Nobody cares about 5-minutes, but are passionate about finding that brand new $3 ball. The fix is #4 above.

  2. Jerry

    Oct 27, 2014 at 4:32 am

    I get really tired of these veteran semi scratch golfers who go to public courses on Sunday after 11am and complain about pace of play. These fellows need to join a private club where their preferences are part of the club rules. They want to play at the cheap rates on the public courses during the time of day when the rest of us also want the cheap rates. The author needs to play at 8am on Sunday morning on the public courses, when the rates are higher and the players are more like himself, faster, taking less swings per hole, and wanting a faster pace of play. His type of golfer could never support the muni course, the course would go broke appealing to this cheapskate, who wants his country club experience on a muni course at 1pm on Sat or Sun. I have no sympathy at all for this author and I wish that he would get off of the muni courses and go to the private clubs where he belongs. He wants the country club experience but does not want to pay the price. And he criticizes the rest of us for our pace of play. Meanwhile, we support those golf courses with our fees, not him. He should just shut up and enjoy the afternoon.

    • Lawrence

      Nov 29, 2014 at 2:34 am

      Pace of play, Pace of play, ….50 to 60% of golfers with a 10 or less handicapp (THEY THINK) are, I belive, the biggest problem on public courses today. If I had a nickle for every Public Golfer with a 10 handicap or less that thinks he is a pro and thinks every par 5 has to have the green clear before his 270 yrd 2nd shot (that goes 220 at best) and/or he has to read every putt from both sides (of course that reading starts when it is his turn to putt) I could afford to join a private club…..

  3. Mike

    Oct 9, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    To speed up the game;
    1) extra penalty for OB and no 5 min ball searching.
    2) Match play
    3) 11 hole rounds – @ 2 hrs

  4. AJ Jensen

    Sep 16, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Golf didn’t change, we did. The internet didn’t save us time, it just made everything due sooner, it made us expect immediate results and it required more of our attention away from daily life.

    I think what we’re seeing with this recent trend, the complaining about golf being too slow, isn’t so much related to the pace of the player ahead but the impatience of the player behind.

    There’s no easy fix for this problem. People don’t like being told to be patient or to slow down their lives. Golf is a patient man’s game… think of all the advances you’ve personally made in your own performance, and I’m betting they were all the result of hard work, dedication and the investment of time. The real reason behind golf’s decline in popularity is it fits poorly with our new now-now-now lifestyles.

    • Steve

      Sep 17, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      I recently read the Greatest Game Ever Played.

      In that book it was already discussing how people were taking too long to line up a shot. One of the Pros, not Vardon but the other Brit, said something along the lines of find your ball, pick your club, and hit it.

      Some peoples pre shot routines just take too long; which IMO shoes a weak mental game.

      I walk 90% of the time. On my local public course I can easily play 9 in an hour and a half. Less if I actually have decent shots and can find my ball.

  5. Bruce Hart

    Sep 13, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    i’ve done a bunch of rounds lately where we bailed after about 13 holes. more time than that and i start to hear it from the wife. maybe they should build some 13 hole courses.

    • Bruce Hart

      Sep 13, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      and build more forward tees and encourage the guys to use them. if you have to hit 3 wood into every par 4 i think it will be slower going than if you can use a 7 iron.

      • Bruce Hart

        Sep 13, 2014 at 1:49 pm

        and allow lift, clean and place within 2 club lengths (but maybe if you are in the rough you have to stay in the rough) so people aren’t trying to hit out of lies they can’t handle.

      • Jack

        Sep 17, 2014 at 5:08 am

        That just means the guys would just try to drive the green and make play even slower. I think what needs to be done is require players to be sufficient at the game before they can go play by themselves. Attend playing lessons. Have the Pro chart their score and time. This will help reduce the people on course, yet still maintain the players learning the game (unless they get deterred from it because they can’t go hacking around the course).

        • Jayson

          Sep 17, 2014 at 12:49 pm

          I think that’s a ridiculous idea. It’s already expensive and somewhat overwhelming to get into golf. Now you want to make more,costly requirements before people can even play the game? That would be the death of the sport.

          • Larry

            Oct 4, 2014 at 6:15 pm

            did you know you must have a registered hcp to play most of the courses in England and Scotland etc.?

  6. Bruce Hart

    Sep 13, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    i think the rules of golf should be changed (at least for amateurs) to speed things up. in particular the 5 minutes for a lost ball rule. and also simplify the rules for hazards, OB, provisional balls, etc. if your group can’t find your ball within the normal pace of play then just drop where you think it ended up with a one stroke penalty and keep going. and maybe say that after hitting twice par on a hole you are done. and max 3 putts. otherwise the time rules are going to be unfair to the lesser golfers. of course this would throw a wrench into the handicap system but how many people are playing tournaments using a handicap?

    there’s a course near us where the back 9 was done later. two of us walked the front in 2 hours but it took 2.5 hours to complete the back using carts. no one in front either nine. the design of the course has a lot to do with it. in this case the back is hilly and demanding.

    anyway, i think slow play discussion need to consider the rules and also the nature of the course. they need to send around an average foursome (walking) playing by the local rules to determine how fast is feasible.

  7. Kevin

    Sep 12, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    I think golf courses should designate themselves as fast paced or slow paced. If you want to or just do play slowly, you can only play where everyone else plays slowly. The fast paced courses are for people who play quickly and the pace rule is enforced. I play first thing in the morning and get around 18 in 2 hours. No one is in front of me to make me wait.

  8. JOE

    Sep 11, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    I want to know how golf courses determine pace of play. I can assure you that the pace of play for a foursome of 20+ handicap golfers will not be within the 3.5 to 4.0 hours for an round of 18 holes. Since the USGA allows each golfer 5 minutes to find a ball that might be lost or off the fairway, it’s likely that a least one golfer on each hole might have to look for their golf ball. If one golfer in the 20+ handicap group hits a ball off the fairway on each hole and takes 4 to 5 minutes to look for the golf ball that would easily add 1 to 1.5 hours to the round of golf.

    Now, I believe that a foursome of single-digit handicap golfers could easily play in 4.0 hours or less for 18 holes. They would be hitting most fairways or in the rough but probably never taking the 5 minutes to look for a wayward golf shot. Since most golfers are 20+ handicaps, the 4.0 hour round of golf for 18 holes is a lofty expectation. So tell the course rangers who are harassing a foursome for “slow” play that this is the actual time a round of golf will be played by the majority of golfers so “BACK OFF” and let us have some fun.

    • Kelly

      Sep 12, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      I agree to some point. That is, I don’t think that a group of 20 handicappers can keep up mainly because they have to hit the ball so many times. But I don’t think that the pace of play for a 20-handicapper should have anything to do with the 5 minutes it takes to find a ball.

      Anyone who is taking 5 minutes to look for a ball just because the rules say you can needs to buy cheaper balls (or learn to be a little less anal about things). When I play, I give about 1 minute (or less) — that’s for my ball and my playing partners. We walk in, take a quick look around, and, if I don’t find it, drop another ball. (I actually played with a guy who wanted to walk back and hit another ball off the tee! Yes, it’s in the rules, but it’s not in the rules of commonsense and pace of play.)

      While we are on the topic of “bush play” and lost balls, what I find annoying (and damaging to the pace of play) is the number of people I play with who have no idea where their ball goes on a wayward shot. I was brought up to play the game by a father who can tell you the leaf or twig that moved when the ball entered the bush (maybe that’s why I can usually find a ball within a minute). More people need to learn that lesson.

      I think you should have two chances to look for balls — both timed at about 2-3 minutes max — once on the front and once on the back. After that, it’s an automatic drop or re-tee as if it was out of bounds.

      • Lawrence

        Nov 29, 2014 at 2:38 am

        100% agree, but we have to give the 10 or lower handicap player a little longer to find his lost ball because it most be the courses falt because he never looses his ball.

    • European

      Sep 13, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      I don’t know your course, but my 27-hole course has one 9-hole course with few trees but thick rough and two 9-hole coureses with narrow fairways and forest. Hitting off fairway, it is easy to lose a ball on any of the 9-hole coureses.

      I can guarantee that regardless of handicap, balls are not lost on every hole. A fourball will have to really search for the ball maybe on 2-3 holes, not all of them. And even then, if there is at least one more experienced golfer (knows the course, not necessarily low hcp), the ball will be found reasonably soon. On the few occasions desperate occasions when nobody has any idea where to look, we have a quick look and then play with the provisional ball and move on. It’s not like you even want to find the ball too deep in the woods, it would often take more than the 1 penalty and distance…

      Most rounds are about 4 hours, sometimes more, often less. Average handicap among members is probably similar to any other course. Only limitation is that the maximum handicap for a group is 110. If two total beginners want to play together, they tend to avoid the busiest times.

      I play with 15 hcp myself and according to my experience some of the single digit handicappers play slower than many 30 handicappers . For some reason the 5 handicappers feel the urge to read every putts from four directions. Playing the fairways in two shot does not help if you decide to camp on the green…

  9. Lamp

    Sep 8, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    I have regularly had 5.5 to 6 hour rounds at the local muni. Issue there is poor management. If the average pace to play the hardest par 3 is 15 minutes, and you are making tee times every 8 minutes, booked solid, there will be a backup once you get to that hole. Period.

    Once you set the tee times properly, I think these three things could clearly fix the pace of play problem. First, I would totally not be opposed to the marshal issuing “tickets” or fines based on pace of play. Hole in front of you empty and you have a group behind you, ticket.

    Second, I am float the idea of a “punch card” system. You are required to “punch out” when you leave the course. If your “punch-in” is more than a certain period (say 4 hours) of your tee time, you get charged. That can incrementally increase based on the time over the expected time.

    Lastly, I think courses should reserve slots for particular handicaps. If you are not under a 25, or don’t have a handicap, you have play after 1 pm on the weekend.

    • Jack

      Sep 17, 2014 at 5:18 am

      The last one of handicap time slotting is pretty good. But it’s probably best employed on maybe alternate days. You do run into problems on weekdays where people can’t adjust their golf schedule to their life outside of golf and have to either improve, play on a clogged course, or just play some other day. Might still be a better situation than what happens now though.

  10. bradford

    Sep 8, 2014 at 11:42 am

    This has to happen from the Tour down. Amateurs watch Camillo and Jim take 3 minutes per putt and think that this will actually help them. Fact is even with a perfect line, the VAST majority couldn’t put the ball on it at the right speed anyway. This also pertains to the guy with the GPS on his phone trying to find out EXACTLY to the YARD how far away that bunker is (amateur club precision is about +/-15yards, despite the fact that you hit “probably hit your 7-iron about 165”–you don’t, you hit it within a wider range than you admit), what the wind is doing, temperature, ground moisture, grass length, then smash it into the woods again.

    Stop glorifying the conversations between caddies and the player. It’s nice to know what they think about, but it carries over to people who have no business worrying about 99.999% of it.

  11. Rascal

    Sep 4, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Simple concept…course charges for the time spent playing. 3.5 hour round costs less ($20) than 4 hour round ($35); 4 hour round costs less than 4.5 hour round ($45).

    • bradford

      Sep 8, 2014 at 11:25 am

      So what happens when I’m behind a group that’s slow and won’t let me through? Am I supposed to pay more because someone else was slow? Sorry, this won’t work

    • vincent

      Sep 9, 2014 at 1:30 pm

      I agree with the concept above but my only concern would be that you can only play as fast as the group in-front of you.

    • Lawrence

      Nov 29, 2014 at 2:44 am

      The only real answer is the golf course raise green fees $1.00 and putt a marshal on the front nine and back nine part one, Part two the golf course actully stands behind the marshals doing thier job to speed up play. Actully played a golf course in Las Vegas where the Marshal made a five some pick up their balls and move to the next tee box for being a hole behind, I bought that marshal a drink after the round.

  12. European

    Sep 3, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    First I thought the text was a bit harsh, but I can understand after reading comments about rounds of 6 hours or more. I obviously don’t know about golf in the US, but over here in northern Europe anything over 4 hours starts to feel slow. You have to be prepared for occasional 4½ hour rounds at busy times or behind newbies, but closer to 5 hours is not accepted by anyone, even newbies would realize this was a bad day.

    At my club the average is around 4 hours including a short break for coffee after 9 holes. How is this achieved?
    – Ten minute intervals. Mostly work out great, gives some flexibility for the occasional bad hole without slowing others down.
    – On practise/leisure rounds we typically play stableford. After you play two over your par, you pick up the ball, especially if the next group is close. If the next group is far behind, you may hole out.
    – Looking for lost balls is the biggest pace killer. Our club has put in a lot of effort to clean up areas outside fairways and our greenkeeper keeps the rough thick, but short enough for players to find balls easier.
    – Learn from the seniors and/or the better players. They have a talent to always find the ball immediately. They always pay attention to other players shots to see where the ball lands and of course it helps if you know the course inside out.
    – No carts slowing down play (with the exception of the oldest members, who really need them). Most use a trolley, but there are quite a few carrying as well. This means healthy/fit people walking at a normal pace.
    – We have a lot of seniors at our club and contrary to what you would expect, they play quick. Playing with them 60-70 year olds, there simply is no extra time. They find their ball, walk to it, hit and then they walk again. And they walk faster than many 20 year olds… A twosome with a senior (with noone in front) can easily be just a little over 3 hours. They never rush, but also never lose time on anything unnecessary. The routine is just like a machine, even on a bad day.
    – Another reason the seniors play quick is that they don’t take practise rounds like its the biggest tournament of the year. Instead they just enjoy the game. The don’t spend time reading every , the just do it and proceed to the next hole. Maybe its because they compete enough, with seniors competitions every tuseday.
    – We have a 27 hole course and a 3 hole par 3 practice course. This allows beginners to get skilled/confident enough first on the par 3 course and then on 9 hole rounds.
    – We also have tutor-programs where anyone more experienced can volunteer to partner a newbie on the big course. This is a golden opportunity to teach etiquette and correct behavior on the course, but also to make the first full rounds more relaxed and less stressful.

    I’ve had two sloooow rounds this year, but I realize that I must be really lucky. Hopefully some of our practises help you too.

  13. Mat

    Sep 3, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    This is such a simple fix. You see it at putt-putt centers. Their rule is after 5, pick-up and score 6.

    In real world golf, this is the same as a pick-up triple. I propose the pick-up double bogey. How? New scoring system.

    First, all hazards are lateral, including OB. A golfer should never have to go BACK to re-tee. No provisionals.

    Second, at any time, a player can end their hole with a double bogey, no questions. No one can score worse than that.

    Third, we need to go to a Stableford-type of scoring, but one that is positive numbers only.

    Fourth, you must be on the green in par, or it’s a double.

    This means that on any Par 4, you have 4 shots to get on the green, and one additional putt. This means that on an average, 15 minute hole, if someone is able to play in a cart where two people can make a shot every 90 seconds, you still have pace of play. That’s /worst case/.

    Enforce just this, and pace will FLY.

  14. Rodan

    Sep 3, 2014 at 8:51 am

    There is no solution…..to get more players involved in golf they have to play on the same courses that experienced players are on so the new players will slow play. Casual players (don’t follow rules to the letter, don’t read every putt etc.) want to play faster, methodical players want to be more precise (more time) and beginners want to get their money’s worth (hit each shot, not feel hurried…).

    All these types of players and many more are on the course at the same time on a course where the owners objective is to get as many players on the course as possible to make enough money to make a profit. It will never change…….

  15. Dave

    Aug 21, 2014 at 8:34 am

    One area I see that can be adjusted to save time are the rules. The OB rules need tweaked to improve speed of play. For example, at my course the 1st hole is a par 4 cart paths only with trees all along the left side. Right off the bat the course drags because it’s cart paths only and the left side trees. One thing I do with the small collection of guys that I have is I play the trees as Red Stake. It gets everybody off the tee. Constant coaching to not sit in carts and watch another golfer is big. I’ve even convinced several 13-16 handicaps to drop the practice swing before they hit and the classic plumb-bob from 19 handicappers. The list goes on.

  16. larrybud

    Aug 14, 2014 at 10:57 am

    The vast majority of slow play is directly attributable to course management: Tee times too close together, bad design (long grass in unseen landing areas), and poor pin placements.

    • Jayson

      Sep 17, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      I completely agree with this. I played a course last week that had tee times 9 minutes apart and the leaves are starting to fall, coupled with deep rough and lots of dog legs made for a long day. There was one hole where I saw where the ball landed, went to the area and still took a few minutes to find my ball. I found it just as I was about to take a drop where I thought it landed.

  17. Lawrence

    Aug 14, 2014 at 12:16 am

    Majority of golf is played as an individual sport, speed up play and play your game weather a foursome, threesome (or even the dam fivesome) in other words stop going out and worrying every hole what you dam playing partners are doing, go to YOUR ball and if safe to hit (yes even if it is not your turn) hit. Every round we watch guys and gals spending time on every hole watching each others shots (most hopeing it is worse then thiers). Putting is one area that can be sped up easy, when you reach the green PUTT. If your 30 plus feet away from the hole you do not need to wait while everyone is marking thier balls just put even if the stick is in..4 golfers should spend NO MORE then 5 minutes on any green period.

    • Søren Skadhede

      Sep 3, 2014 at 9:04 am

      I agree. Play ‘ready golf’, print the time allowed for 9 (or 6) holes as they do in st. Andrews in the middle of your scorecard. Get most of the waiting done on the first hole: don’t tee off as soon as you can no longer reach the group in front of you – wait at least until they are on the green.

  18. ASXA

    Aug 11, 2014 at 2:04 am

    Mr. Adams,

    I sure hope you’re reading this, because I represent one of the individuals you are trying so hard to get into the game. I’m an almost 30-something female, I started playing golf a little under a year ago. I’m totally crazed and in love with this sport. This however, was not always the case.

    I began taking lessons early on and spent endless amounts of time at the range. Until one day my instructor, came from behind as I set down my bucket and told me “You know the best way to get really good at golf?” Sure of my self, I replied; “By practicing”. He slid the the bucket toward himself, grinning, and said “No, you get really good at golf by PLAYING GOLF”. He peeled a $20 bill from his money clip, handed it to me and walked away with my balls. On his trek back to the desk he lobbed at me “Use that to go play a round”. And so I did. And it was the best of times……..it was the worst of times.

    That day I played 9 holes and learned that despite learning to swing, buying equipment, figuring out the rules and terms …I still had so much to learn. That day I played 9 holes, in 2.5 hours, with a cart… and I didn’t finish a single hole. That day was heaven. I didn’t finish any of those 9 challenges for a number of reasons. 1. Simply because I COULDN’T, I lacked both the skill and the confidence necessary to manage it. 2. I lacked appropriate equipment, I didn’t own a driver yet and was using a 6 hybrid off the tee. 3. Despite being a single, I was holding up the threesome behind me. THAT DAY WAS HEAVEN…until the 3-some behind me sped past me to the 10th saying “If you can’t play get off the course”. And then it was Hell. I didn’t even finish a hole.

    I stopped playing all together. I stopped lessons, I stopped watching, I stopped even thinking about golf.

    Days turned into weeks, weeks to months and my boyfriend drug me, begrudgingly, on to a local course. I trudged along, picking up my triple bogies long before I even made it to the green, sweating and speeding to try to keep pace. It quickly became apparent, that the pair behind us (who tee’d off a mere 6 minutes behind us) were scratching the course, and even if I had been a seasoned player, I would still be struggling with pace. My boyfriend set off his drive on the 12th hole when the pair behind us met us at the tee box. Boyfriend, franticly apologetic, absolutely insisted that they play through, allowing them to drive before we travelled up to my much lamented red-tees. The gentlemen made two superb drives, farther than I could even run without stopping, and I scrambled to gather my equipment and raced up to my tees. As I began to set myself up, I realized it….. Committing the ultimate and embarrassing sin….I forgot a tee. Boyfriend-sighing and growling waved the two scratchers through, when one hopped out of their cart, took my ball from me and teed it up on one of his own. He and his buddy stood behind while I lined up my swing…when one of them whispered “Drill it”. And so I did. My next shot required a hearty drilling with my 7-iron. And so I did. 100 yard 9 iron shot?. Did it. Chips? Putts? Did those too. With 8 shots and 2 scratch golfers that I was afraid of all day, demonstrating some patience… I finished my first hole. And it was heaven again.

    And I haven’t looked back.

    I’ve been playing all summer. Played today 4 pars, 5 triple bogies (eek) and I found myself lamenting the pace of the foursome in front of us. They were an odd mix, a 30 something lady clearly new to golf, her significant other who wasn’t much better and two business men, irritated by the pairing. Who am I to rush along the players in front of me, discourage the two beginners, force them to pick up, drive them away from the game. In an ideal world, I would have been playing WITH them, with tee-times staggered in a fashion that encourage players of different skill levels to play at their level and get better, not pick up every hole because the next customer is 6 minutes behind them.

    Is it so unreasonable to sell tee times of different lengths? “Hey I’d like a tee time at 3:15… for 4… and we’re beginners”. “2 for 9 am and we’re 5-6 handicappers”. We’re landing robots on mars but nobody can come up with a system so fast and slow players can play on the course at the same time and still have fun? Its really not that complicated.

    Many of the replies in the comment section make it no surprise to me that golf has problems keeping players.
    They help me sympathize with those who walk away, never having “This is heaven” moments, finishing a hole, slamming one in for par. Slow players aren’t the problem. Fast players aren’t the problem. Course management… by the courses… is the problem.

    The best way to improve the pace of play, to get slow players to be BETTER players…. is to find a way for them to be able to PLAY GOLF.

    • Dr. Alan Smith

      Aug 13, 2014 at 2:53 pm

      Concepts such as alternate shots need to be explored. The industry needs to hire a project management/industrial engineering firm to develop new rules and procedures that would make the “work flow” (ie golfers) more efficient. With all of the modeling software available to engineers, it should not be too difficult to model a more efficient yet enjoyable of golf.

      I will offer up a couple suggestion I have. On each green, have 2 flags. Each a different color. One flag is the traditional sized hole. The other hole is bigger, making putting much easier. A second suggestion is to rework the holes so there are different routes to get to the hole. A easy “bunny chair” route, and “intermediate route” and an “expert” route. Not sure why the golf industry hasn’t borrowed this idea from the snow skiing industry.

    • Jason

      Aug 14, 2014 at 11:46 am

      There have been a few threads on this about organizing tee times by the pace of play. The first tee times of the day are for faster golfers and then later in the day for slower golfers – basically the same concept as how you organize marathons where the faster runners go out first. MOST of the replies were negative towards this for many reasons. Check it out: http://www.golfwrx.com/forums/topic/1057181-the-solution-to-slow-play/

      The problem with this though is 2 fold. Only like 70% of players on a course on a given can’t break 100 which already puts that pace of play way behind. The reality is it doesn’t make a lot of business sense to cater to the minority. The players you played with that are near scratch, you will come to find are very rare – only like 5% of golfers on a given day can break 80 on a course.

      The other larger problem is golf takes a lot of time to become good at and only the really hardcore golfers ever get good. You can’t be a casual person and be good at golf like skiing or something. With skiing you can go about 2-3 seasons 5 times a year and be pretty good at it. With golf you need to put in at least 100 rounds before you have any resemblance of game.

      In general, yes, your idea makes perfect sense, but there are probably business issues as to why it hasn’t been implemented yet.

      • ASXA

        Aug 15, 2014 at 12:51 am

        Wait… so… If 70% of golfers can’t break a hundred… how is catering to them by allowing for slower play, catering to the minority?

        Thank you for the link, i’m on my way over to read!

    • Ken

      Sep 2, 2014 at 5:49 pm

      Have you looked into playing executive/Par 3 courses?

      My first year of golf I almost exclusively played executive/Par 3 courses in the 3000-4500 yard range.

      The first time I played a 6000 yard course, it was depressing. But it gave me a feel for where my swing needed to be at before it was worth trying to play a full size course again.

      Strongly suggest you look into this type of course, it’s way more fun than being at the driving range, but a lot less painful for both yourself and others. 🙂 I’m sure I would have quite if my only options starting out were full-size courses or driving range.

      Cheers!

    • Chalie

      Sep 5, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      Asxa is right on the mark. Golf is losing players in droves not because scratch players are getting frustrated on public courses but because beginners never play well enough to get around the course, and they feel frustrated and embarrassed. I read somewhere that 50% of golfer never break 100. So with that many golfers at risk and needing the most encouragement, why not have every player carry a “tour card” for each course. Your first round is from the 150 mark. No exceptions. When you turn in two rounds below 100 you advance to red tees and so on. This would encourage beginners to learn their short games and approach shots first, and would be only a matter of a few rounds for a scratch play to advance to to tips if he or she wished. It makes it easier for a beginner to learn.

      To enforce it each cart or trolley gets a flag/tag matching their tee box. no heroes, ego, or pressure is going to influence your box. Frankly I am saddened by the thoughts of a bigger hole; besides isn’t not putting that slows most play.

      Tour cards from another course will count at the resort course you are visiting only if the slope is similar. If it is harder you might have to drop back a tee.

      I know length of play is a problem, but I think discouragement is even greater. This idea fixes both, and Asxa would have gotten off to a surer start.

      • Kelly

        Sep 12, 2014 at 3:43 pm

        I agree wholeheartedly. There are far too many people playing from the wrong tees. (Actually, very many of us are even when we have the game to play a tougher set of tees. I’m about a 7-8 handicapper from the blue tees (second furthest back at our course), but I have just recently moved up to white tees (the “regular” tees). I’m actually enjoying the game more. I don’t feel like I have to hit every shot well/long, and I no longer leave the course feeling like I’ve been beaten up.)

        Too many people argue that they paid to play the whole course, so they should have the right to play from whatever tee they want. I think we really need to combat that mentality: “No, you didn’t pay to cover a certain amount of geography or a set terrain. You paid to take a certain number of swings at the ball and rented some time on our course.” (Hey, maybe that’s the idea: when you buy a green fee you buy 100 shots, use them however you wish, but once their gone, you’re off the course :)).

        Often I think that this is the course’s fault. I play with my wife all the time, who is a really short hitter and plays to about 120. When we go to courses, she wants to play a shorter set of tees. But on many (most?) courses, the short tees aren’t that much shorter. We played two courses on the weekend, both with five sets of tees, but on most holes I could have tossed a ball underhand from my tees to her tees (and on many holes, I could have got a ball to her tees with a light flick of the wrist). That’s not short enough! That doesn’t mean you have to go too far in the other direction. But both of these clubs had a 6th set of tees, but they were only 75-100 shots — my wife can would be on all those greens in 1 (the tees on some of the really interesting par 3s were almost on the fringe of the green); that’s no fun. The rule of thumb should be that on shorter tees, no par 4 should be over 250 yards and no par 5 over 400.

        Actually, as I have been writing this, I have struck on new idea (if my wife will go for it). We’re going to start ignoring the tee boxes for her. I’ll choose her teeing spot on all holes. This way I can gauge the course to the type of day she’s having. I guess she could choose her own spot, but for some reason I think it would be more fun to have this dictated to you (maybe I’m wrong). It would be better, however, if greens-keepers and club pros played more often with short-hitters so that they had a better idea of the types of challenges these players face, and can set the tees with this in mind.

    • Bethany

      Oct 2, 2014 at 6:05 pm

      Thank you, thank you, thank you! I just got my friend started on golf this year, she is 62. She spends too much time worrying if someone is coming up behind us, rather than concentrating on her short hitting, beginner game. And I am no scratch golfer myself. I have read a lot of good ideas to help beginners speed up play, but the bottom line is every golfer out on a course was a beginner once. It’s not a game anyone takes up and is instantly great at. Golf is hard, but it can really be a lot of fun.

    • Bethany

      Oct 2, 2014 at 6:07 pm

      Thank you, thank you, thank you! I just got my friend started on golf this year, she is 62. She spends too much time worrying if someone is coming up behind us, rather than concentrating on her short hitting, beginner game. And I am no scratch golfer myself. I have read a lot of good ideas to help beginners speed up play, but the bottom line is every golfer out on a course was a beginner once. It’s not a game anyone takes up and is instantly great at. Golf is hard, but it can really be a lot of fun.

      Read more at http://www.golfwrx.com/234955/adams-establishing-better-rules-for-pace-of-play/comment-page-1/#6PCYDpuAWzWWSyLL.99

  19. Hellstorm

    Aug 4, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    Slow play isn’t a problem that is going to go away. People need to be realistic. If you are playing a course in the busiest time of day on the busy days, I have a newsflash for you…..plan on being there for a while. Courses sell those tee times 8 minutes apart on weekends because they need to generate revenue because guess what….on the other 5 days they might be selling a third of the tee times.

    I like the ideas people had about max scores and course set up practices. There is nothing wrong with picking up after a triple or even double par and moving on. Its not like that guy that hit a ball in the woods and two in the lake is going to write anything higher than a 9 or 10 on his card anyway. Just like there is no need to tuck all the pins behind the bunker or on a slope when the course is going to be crowded.

    I think something that more oourses could do to speed things up is offer a forecaddie. It would give young kids a chance to earn some money on a weekend and speed up the rounds. The courses already charge higher rates for weekends but give you less value for your money by slowing the pace to a crawl. Charge your weekend rate but give people some help finding balls.

  20. Bill Walsh

    Aug 4, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    While I agree with your suggestion Barney, I worry that a lot of slow play is a function of ignorance. I feel it’s a little harsh to boot someone off the course when they get out of position unless they’ve been cited as a slow player in the past. Also tough to punish the group for what is often an issue with single player.

    We’ve all had our bad holes where a couple of wayward shots could take the group off pace. We’ve also played with groups that offer no help trying to locate the ball when someone hits a wayward shot. Common courtesy, etiquette and acceptance of responsibility for the pace of the entire group suggest the right course of action here even if you don’t know/like the person.

    The Raven in Phoenix used to have a marshal on ea nine. When a group got out of position the marshal would stay with the group until they were back in position or would have them skip a hole if it persisted after a warning. The marshal would act as a forecaddie, rake bunkers and coach the group on ready golf and etiquette. It worked really well in a couple of situations where my group was stuck behind the Turtle family outing.

    I also agree with the comments about the PGA Tour helping out here. Pace of play is a joke on Tour. The rules need to be enforced regardless of the player or the significance of the event. A round of golf in a two-some should take less than 4 hours no matter what.

    Thanks for taking this on Barney. Sorry to hear your title carried too high a burden. Would like to know what the guys who are throwing rocks at you are doing about growing the game – other than criticizing someone who is trying to make a difference. I guess you’ve gotta have a thick skin if you’re trying to affect change.

    Finally, in my opinion pace of play is an annoyance but not a real issue affecting participation rates. I don’t believe we’d see a significant resurgence in golf’s popularity if every course offered a 4:15 money back guarantee. Just my opinion.

    The real issue is making it easier to develop a good swing – which solves all the other issues including pace of play.

  21. Robeli

    Aug 4, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    One solution will speed up play. Allow to hit into the group in front of you if they are slow without repercussion as the club would support you. That will scare the @#$%& of everybody and will ensure you stay ahead of the guys behind you!!

  22. Locode

    Aug 4, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    I was a Course Marshal at 2 different public courses, 7 seasons in all. It definitely needs to start with the pro shop guys, and usually doesn’t. However, a good marshal will make it a habit to hang out a bit on the 1st tee with the first few groups of the day, just to remind them that they’re setting the pace and it should be a fast one.
    There were 3 munis in the place I worked, mine had a great mens club who took pop very seriously and penalized the members who didn’t. They typically finished in under 4 hours with early times, and 4:20 or so with later times. The 2 other munis mens clubs were lucky to get a round in under 5 hours.
    Another key to being a good marshal is if you’re going to talk to a slow group, tell all the members of the group. Too many marshals only tell one members of the group, and they are then expected to speed the whole group up. Doesn’t work that way.
    I would personally love to see the OB rule changed from stroke and distance to a 2 stroke penalty and drop the ball where it went OB. Going back to the tee is a useless waste of time for amateurs, as is trying to explain the concept of a provisional.

    The biggest slow down for a lot of groups is if they’re playing money games. Those groups will kill a day if they get an early tee time.

    Most will complain that ladies day is a slow day, and often it is. One problem is that they will often run the tee themselves, and because they hit it so short they’ll have groups teeing off every 5 minutes. The pro shop will see the tee clear earlier than it should be, and send off extra groups thinking they have extra space. Doesn’t work that way.

    In my time as a marshal I chucked groups off the course, told many a player that they were going to miss it anyways, so they may as well miss it quick, always carried a stop watch, locked the access doors from the 10th tee to the clubhouse, and yet only twice had harsh words or complaints from a group. It didn’t hurt that I’m 6’7, but I was always friendly, firm, polite, and usually could make a group laugh and feel good about being told to speed up.

  23. Steve

    Aug 4, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    There’s 2 parts to my comment on “SlowPlay”:

    First one: The Pro’s are the first Problem, Amature Golfs from Adult to Kids try to emulate their favourite Pro’ or Pro’s ( more to come on that in number 2 ). Anyway I read the other day that 5 hrs is totally unacceptable yet no one does anything about in Tournaments , why, because you would need an Official for every match ( example of slow play, Pro’s have, or are suppose to have 45 seconds to play a shot, yet some are taking up to 2 minutes, No Ref’ to time keep, so no warning or penalty ). Simple solution . Cut the Prize money by 10 -15% this money is then used to pay for Match officials , if “The Pro’s” are unhappy about having their Prize money cut, Tough, play quicker ( 4 hours ) then you’ll get your prize money back.

    Now what is wrong with that idea. Comments.

    Now to number 2:

    This a true story and only happened a few weeks ago at my Club.

    A Junior was out playing , ( he’s about 14 years of age & plays of about 5 ). Anyway he ( & a friend ) took 40 mins to play 2 holes, why, because he would have about 12 practise swings, change his club once or twice, well after around 12 holes the Pair behind had had enough ( Adults & one a visiting player with friend ), on the 13th ( Junior coming back up the 14th ), words were spoken with this young man ( ” you are taking the piss, either speed up or let us through please” ) AND here is the Juniors Reply, Pro’s out there if you do happen to read this Take note of the type of attitude and Your effect “Slow play” has on the youth today. His reply was ” Professionals take 5 hours to play a round of golf and I’m nearly a Professional “.

    What do you say about that then The Professional Golfing World, your Slow play is being emulated by budding so called ” I’m nearly a Professional” Golfer’s .

    Hang your head in shame guys, you are killing golf. Happy with that ……

    Steve ( UK )

    This is a true story.

    • leftright

      Aug 4, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      UK, I would have thrown him in the gorse. I’m surprise, I remember the pace of play being quite fast when I was over there.

    • chris franklin

      Sep 18, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      Good story Steve but it’s not just kids who do it,I stopped playing with one bloke because of all the fannying around that took place prior to each shot or putt,his antics took 2-3 minutes per hole,so nearly an hour over 18 holes,a real drainer.
      As for the Tours speeding up play……NO CHANCE!
      The longer they are out there,the longer the TV coverage which in turn means more ‘messages from our sponsors’ and more $$$$$ into the kitty and their pay packets,they have established a status quo which will never change.

  24. Michael M Thomas

    Aug 4, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Two main deterrents to proper pace of play are (1) failure to be ready to hit when one’s turn comes up and (2) endless time putting. Ironically, I would bet that most players who record GHIN scores for handicap purposes actually play match play when on the course. Nothing speeds match play like the gimme. So what if “inside the leather” distorts a player’s handicap by a fraction of a stroke?

  25. paul

    Aug 3, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    100+ comments on each of Barneys articles mostly about slow play still haven’t fixed anything. I play with a friend sometimes that drives me crazy. He plays a 50 yard slice on purpose, plays in 5.5 hours on purpose, and spends an hour every round in the bush. People like him are the problem. I quit playing with him because he didn’t want to listen and wanted to enjoy his afternoon out doors.

    • paul

      Aug 3, 2014 at 11:01 pm

      Attitude is the main problem. People don’t have any respect for other people or their time.

    • marcel

      Aug 4, 2014 at 12:24 am

      slow golfer dont read – they are busy for looking for lost balls… simple rule – you cant find a ball within 5min take a new one from the last point… please dont go back 200 meters to repeat the miserable shot

  26. Andy

    Aug 3, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    I played with a guy who had one of those hand held viewer pin seeker things. He took it out had a look. Only took ten seconds. Mishit the shot and duffed it approx ten metres. Got out the device again but got a bollocking from one of his mates and put it away. Common sense really.

  27. Sheridan

    Aug 3, 2014 at 1:17 am

    Get players over the stigma of what each set of tees represent, i.e. red women, gold senior, etc. I have worked at 4 courses and have often felt the need to put velvet rooes around the ” tips” to keep people away. When my members have seen me play from 6k tees, they laugh and ask why. I’ ve always responded that the game is supposed to be fun, and if its not, what’s the point. The ingrained macho attitude within the sport needs to change. Also, most rangers stink and just want free golf.

  28. Carl

    Aug 2, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    If they can’t put it on the scorecard, golf courses should at least print on paper the principles of ready golf and the basic fundamentals of golf etiquette. These should be always handed out at sign in or by the starter with the request “So that all golfers can enjoy their round, please observe these rules. The player assistants will be around to help as needed.” A few simple signs on the course such as “Please let faster groups play through” would reinforce this.

    The message of ready golf and good etiquette needs to be repeated over and over and enforced when needed. The mentality of golfers needs to be changed. It will take some time but persistence will win. The new normal will be ready to hit when it is your turn, keep up with the group ahead, accept your fate and spend less time looking for a lost ball.

    I have played with very slow people who sped up simply because I was playing ready golf and they felt compelled to do so as well. It can catch on if enough of us are willing to set an example.

    I have played behind groups that were several holes behind the group in front and I was convinced they were evil incarnate only to bump into them at the bar and discover they were very nice, just oblivious to the speed of play concept.

    • Barney adama

      Aug 3, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      About 3 stories back I advocated a 5 yr education program. Combined effort of The PGA of America and The Golf Channel. 5 years!!!!!

      • leftright

        Aug 4, 2014 at 1:27 pm

        My group would like to educate them Mr Adams. We play a 5some every Wednesday and Saturday at a private course in Florida. We play at 6600 yards, sloped around 131 at that length. We ride and play if not delayed in 3 hours and 15 minutes and usually around 3 hours and 30 minutes. We play “wolf” so we wait for people to hit instead of “ready” golf (we do play ready on hole tees except par 3’s, you have to hit in order)so we could actually play faster. We are all single digits 1-8 in handicap and older, 57-63. We know the course but I do think something is terribly wrong with the pace of play in America and it’s got to improve. We refuse to go to some courses because of a slow play reputation.

        • Shallowface

          Aug 7, 2014 at 7:47 pm

          Leftright, I’m not familiar with “wolf.” Are you guys putting everything out in that game?

  29. Adam

    Aug 2, 2014 at 9:19 am

    Pace of play is an education / training issue. People don’t know how to play faster, that’s it. Rather than devising unrealistic penalties (credit cards #’s for slow play???), or 2-somes; teach folks how to keep up with the group ahead of them. We’ve all seen POP time frames on score cards and GPS screens, but no-one tells the novice how to do it. We, as participants in golf blogs, and avid golfers owe it to the novice to educate.

    1: Advocate parking the cart in a safe middle, both pull and fire within seconds of each other. No more sitting in the cart while your cart partner gets yardage, selects a club, goes through pre-shot, fires, returns the club the bag/cart, drive to second golfer’s ball and repeat.

    2: pick-up the ball at triple bogey. ESC eliminates this as a concern for handicap purposes, so should the weekend warrior. Golf courses should state on the card and in the club house 3 over is the maximum amount of strokes per hole.

    3: Is the ego Vs reality dynamic. If your tee shot went 220 you don’t have to wait for the green to clear from 240; you don’t have to circumnavigate the radius of the ball to hole to read a putt; you don’t have to take 4 practice strokes.

    Of course these can be amended for club tournaments, city championships, because, in reality the city championship is my US Open, and I should be able to play it the way I see fit (within reason). For corporate/charity outings the responsibility is on the course operators to set up the course and the local rules to keep the pace moving, because at these functions the game itself is actually secondary to the reason the tournament is being held.

    • Pazinboise

      Aug 4, 2014 at 9:17 am

      I like your suggestions especially #2. That would help so much if it was actually practiced.

      • LongBall

        Aug 4, 2014 at 12:06 pm

        It would help but is it practical to ask a high handicapper to never hole out? Can they every improve if they don’t ever putt? Are you really playing “Golf” if you never finish the task? I have played with groups that picked up at DBL but they were experienced players that just had a bad hole (Like we all do from time – time).

        Sounds good…hard to enforce

        • Tom D

          Aug 4, 2014 at 1:52 pm

          The time for putting practice is on the practice tee, not during a round on the course. On the course, pick up after the third putt. Write down this most likely score you would have had, if you had putted-out. Reduce this to ESC for posting purposes. This is completely USGA approved. It can also be used if you want to play “gimme”s.

  30. Scott Moran, PGA

    Aug 2, 2014 at 5:36 am

    As a PGA professional that has served for 15+ years at different facilitates I put a lot of emphasis on POP issues with the USGA. If you play golf and learned by the rules, than to post a score you must play by the rules. Furthest away plays first, honors has the tee, hole all putts, etc.

    We need to take the play book from the AJGA. First player to hole out goes to the next tee and begins PLUS they play ready golf regardless or who’s away. In addition too many players use the sport (who mostly play on weekends) as a social event.

    All we can do as operators is promote pace of play and hold true to our word. Troon Golf gets it If we have a policy then we need to adhere to it. And to be honest, depending on your course layout and other factors… 4 hours is sometimes a difficult task. Make a POP that is realistic and enforce Reward those that prove they can adhere to the rules.

    • Keith Panco

      Aug 2, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      It is not illegal to post a score if you play ready golf. Holing all putts is simply the rule regardless. However, there are no penalties for ignoring furthest out, honors, etc. These only apply to match play, not stroke play.

  31. kloyd0306

    Aug 2, 2014 at 12:51 am

    Some good ideas listed above, but also some that are not based upon reality. The main reality is: Different golfers have different expectations regarding what their $$$$$$$$ buy.

    The Scandinavian method for controlling slow play is to restrict play to those who have proved that they can, in fact, play. To play, you need a license, which proves you can drive the ball off the tee, strike irons off the deck plus chip and putt.

    Such a system will never work in USA. Too many lawyers.

  32. Mark Davis

    Aug 1, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    Played at a very, very nice public course in NE Ohio yesterday (a Thursday). We were the 4th group out with a 7:30 tee time. 5 hour round.

    Now, it was cart path only and a fairly tough layout. That said, a 5 hour round at 7:30am? On a weekday?

    My playing partner, a visitor from Florida, played multiple rounds on his visit this week and was astonished by the lack of understanding of etiquette and “how to play fast” he saw. I must say, wherever I travel I see the same thing on public courses. And I’ve been around a bit.

    “I paid my money, I’ll play my golf.” I’ve walked off courses from time to time when it’s come to aggressive, “road rage” behavior by folks who think it’s OK to put two 12 packs in the cart and rock ‘n roll on a nice summer afternoon. Ask them to respect the fact that we’re all sharing the same acres, and you’d think you insulted their mother.

    Time limits work about as well as giving ball repair tools to every person who signs in (although I still advocate that). Marshals at public courses (most especially muni’s and state park courses) aren’t going to upset the applecart. It’s all about “the customer is always right.”

    As long as everybody keeps trying to “grow the game,” it’s just going to get worse. It was a relatively tiny little sport for a reason: not everybody can or will torture themselves to play it. Golf isn’t easy, golf isn’t cheap and golf isn’t for instant gratification. Golf isn’t an extreme sport. Golf isn’t for the masses, inasmuch as golf can’t accommodate masses on the acreage available. Won’t ever be. As Mr. Penick said, “…go find some other game.”

    I don’t have any problem playing behind a family with little kids learning the game on a late afternoon. Good on ’em. Nor behind a foursome of elder ladies (like my mom who taught me) toddling through their weekly round. That’s the soul of golf and deserves a good natured smile and a dodge ’round to the next tee.

    It’s simple respect for the game as it is, and the people you share the course with, that needs help. Not re-invention of golf. God save us from “hacking golf.”

    As to pace of play, pretty simple. Couple polite-but-firm marshals, starting right up there with the first group in the morning, and the understanding that a.) if you drag after one warning, you pick up and drop on the green, and b). the understanding that the reputation as the course you can play in 4.15 hours will bring you MORE business than the reputation as the course where you can expect a 5.15 hour round.

    My 2¢. Your mileage may vary.

    • dot dot

      Aug 3, 2014 at 10:34 am

      I want to believe your story but I just can’t imagine someone visiting Ohio for a week. What could the guy have done to deserve that.

  33. GW

    Aug 1, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    This is a great idea, but everything has to do with how the course is set up. I saw some golfers 6 put the other day at my local club because the super thought it would be a great idea to put the pins on slopes or 5 to 6 feet from a false front. For most golfers these are impossible to do a couple of things. #1 it is hard for the high handicapper to get the ball close to the hole. #2 to make difficult puts. The tee it forward program made a great effort but, pins have to be placed in friendly locations. #3 for the group in font of us that I watched have multiple 3 putts and many 4 putts walked off the greens shaking the greens it made the game or at least the round at our course really unenjoyable!!! so as golfers we can do to part to try and keep up or even pick up when your out of the hole but golf courses can set up the course a lot better as well. Making golfers rounds more faster and more enjoyable. Giving golfers a chance to shoot betters scores which in return will give them more confidence and give them a feeling of wanting to play the game more which will increase rounds and help stop the decline of golf.

    • Locode

      Aug 4, 2014 at 2:50 pm

      you’re dead right. easy pins go a long way towards making the round go faster, plus it’s more fun for the average player. tee set ups can make a difference as well, on weekends I always tried to get the crew to set up an easy course without any tee blocks being set up all the way back.

  34. marty

    Aug 1, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Slow play on the weekends and outings and leagues during the week. I am bout ready to hang up the clubs myself.

  35. Zee

    Aug 1, 2014 at 11:20 am

    As I understand it, over in Scotland, Ireland, England, those courses, especially the popular tourist courses, require you to show your USGA/ GHIN handicap card and based on that, the course starter dictates to the players what tees they should play. This way, the course ensures a strict pace of play and the players are not trying to play tees that are too far in yardage. Across the pond, they course staff is not afraid to let you know that you have fallen off pace and demand you keep up the pace.

    Why can’t we employ that type of system here as well? We can use a combination of incentives, Mr. Adams’ suggestions, and with Jack Nicklaus'”Tee It Forward” idea. The courses here can enforce players to provide a handicap and tell you what tees to play. And then “strongly” suggest the pace of play and the rules about not keeping up. I am a 1 handicap, but I find that I do not want to always play the back tees just to “experience the whole course”. As amateur players, we need to check our egos at the 1st tee and know that we all are not Tour players and we can not all hit 300 yard drives! Even in amateur tournament play, we take way too long b/c of what we see on TV. I enjoy courses from the tees that are ahead of the back tees and find that many players enjoy not having to hit long irons into greens and can play faster when not having to chip on to the green all the time.

    Ultimately, enforcement needs to be happening. From the PGA Tour down to the muni’s. Also, we need to make sure that the younger generations taking up the game should be taught to play faster as well. Even when new players are out on the course, it is up to his/ her buddies to police and keep everyone accountable. I do not hesitate to tell any one in my group that they are slowing us down and to pick up the ball and move on. I have, many times, contemplated writing a “Buddies Guide to Playing Golf” and handing out to players who want to enjoy the game, but at a faster pace. Here are some ideas to put in the book:
    1) If not playing a tournament or for money, everyone in the group gets par (unless they make birdie or better) on the first hole. That way, the first tee jitters are lessened and no one has to get frustrated that they just hit 2 out of bounds and taking a 8 on the first hole.

    2) I carry 5-6 extra balls (usually any ball other than a ProV1x) and I freely give them to my buddies if they have not found their ball in 2 minutes. I tell them that I have plenty to give and not to worry about the ball they lost. Tell them they don’t need to waste too much time looking.

    3) If you have a slower player, for example, help them speed up by raking the trap for them after they hit out. And volunteer to hit your shot while they are getting composed for their next shot.

    4) Get your golf bag ready ahead of time ( the night before)- Make sure you have tees/ balls/ gloves, etc. Nothing worse than arriving to the 1st tee not prepared. Makes all your buddies frustrated.

    I have many more suggestion, but I am sure everyone else has suggestions as well. If you play with a slow player, tell them they are slow (nicely) and suggest ways to speed up. Also, recognize when you are the slow player as well and find ways to speed up. I applaud Mr. Adams for taking on these issues and look forward to all his thoughts.

    • Barney adama

      Aug 1, 2014 at 11:35 pm

      Ahem ” tee It forward” did not come from Nicklaus.

      • Zee

        Aug 4, 2014 at 9:52 am

        Sorry Mr. Adams, you are correct, “Tee it Forward” did not come from Mr. Nicklaus. My apologies, got excited to respond to the article, and all I could think of was Jack Nicklaus promoting that we tee it forward.

  36. cliff

    Aug 1, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Send out 2some vs. 4somes. Benefits:

    1. 2 play faster than 4 – 3 guys aren’t waiting to hit.
    2. Ready golf would be a thing of the past – drop off your partner and
    proceed to your ball while he prepares to hit.
    3. Easier to get 1 other guy to play instead of 3.
    4. Courses would be more full – who wants to golf by themselves.
    5. Easier for a single to play thru, if needed.
    6. More people in the clubhouse after a round because they have time
    for a beer or 2.

    Outings could still be done as 4somes since they shut course down.

    • Tony

      Aug 1, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      I like this idea. My wife likes golf, but she’s not really much of an extrovert and feels uncomfortable when we are paired up with another two-some that she doesn’t know. If we were able to tee off just the two of us, she would likely play more often, which would in turn lead to more improvement and speed around the course.

    • Joseph

      Aug 1, 2014 at 3:36 pm

      Never going to happen. The 4 some is pretty ingrained in golf tradition. Now, playing ready golf….yes, I’m a huge proponent. Get to your ball and if its safe to play and you’re ready, fire away. There’s no reason to wait around for 2-3 minutes for the guy over in the rough looking for his ball.

    • Galen

      Aug 1, 2014 at 6:49 pm

      A golf course looses a lot of money switching to two-some pairings. A LOT.

      The golf course earning for the day are (player) x (cost per player)

      Let’s say a two-some plays in 3 hours, while a four-some plays in 4.5 hours.

      Assuming the course is booked solid four the day, they would lose 25% of revenue. And I bet there isn’t a course in the world that could take that hit, and maintain there quality of product, or stay open.

  37. Mike

    Aug 1, 2014 at 2:26 am

    Take up fishing it’s outdoors and peaceful! My 1 cent! Lol

  38. Peter Klemperer

    Aug 1, 2014 at 12:14 am

    Great article. Golfnow has a “18 hole pace of play” function but it’s been bogus for the courses I usually play. Maybe if that information were accurate and featured more prominently that would drive course managers to take control more often.

  39. MHendon

    Jul 31, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Here’s a suggestion each course determine what a reasonable time is for a foursome to play 18, be it 4 or 4 and a half hours. Really shouldn’t be any longer. Then install a GPS system on all the carts. Now make every player pay with a debit or credit card having them sign an agreement stating they know what the courses time allotment for 18 holes is. From here the rule will be simple, if you play in the allotted time your round will be charged the advertised rate. If its determined you played slower at no fault of any other groups you’re charged a penalty for every minute over the allotted time. If you play faster than the allotted time your round is credited back for each minute you play under the allotted time. Only the group responsible for the slow play is charged the penalty and this can be determined by using a GPS system to monitor play. I believe this is the best and fairest way to address the issue.

    • Justin

      Aug 1, 2014 at 1:55 am

      Uh, no. That’s a horrible idea. I’d never golf there on principle alone

    • JE

      Aug 1, 2014 at 9:14 am

      I agree. This is a great idea and one I’ve often thought of. However, I wouldn’t worry about crediting people back for being under. Just let them know for every ten minutes longer than the established time will be an extra five or ten bucks charged to their credit card. The only accountability people have these days is when it hits in the pocketbook.

      • MHendon

        Aug 1, 2014 at 12:31 pm

        That’s a pretty stiff penalty, that works out to between .50 cents to a dollar a hole for every minute over. I was thinking more along the line of being charged or credited the value of each one those minutes. For example you’re playing a 40 dollar course that’s a 4 hours course. Each minute is worth 16.6 cents, so for every minute over or under you’re charged or credited 16.6 cents. The value of those minute will be determined by the price of the course. A 100 dollar course works out to 41.6 cents a minute. The credit encourages fast play. Say you and your buddies want to splurge on a 100 dollar course and you’re quick players. If you play in three and a half you each get your splurge round for $87.50. Everyone wins you pay only for the time you’re on the course and if everyone speeds up the course can possibly fit more players.

        • cliff

          Aug 1, 2014 at 1:35 pm

          It wouldn’t work like that! It would just promote more frustration. Example

          Group “A” plays at the recommended pace of 4 hrs. and group “B” waits for group “A” on every hole. Group “B” loses its credit.

        • Jeremy

          Aug 1, 2014 at 2:03 pm

          Imagine this: you’re having a pretty good round, maybe even a shot at your best ever. Random dude you’ve been randomly paired with isn’t especially personable and is playing poorly. He’s clearly eager to just get the round over with, get in ahead of schedule, and get at least get a few bucks back. He gets visibly annoyed as you start to eye your puts from both sides of the hole coming down the stretch. Now there’s this awkward tension, and you hit your tee shot on 18 into the water because you’re thinking about somebody else thinking about saving a few dollars or even cents.

          I get the thinking here. I just think in practice it’d be a bad idea to introduce a choice between time spent playing or money saved by hurrying.

          • MHendon

            Aug 1, 2014 at 2:58 pm

            I actually agree with you and Cliff but everyone is bitching about pace of play and this was the best idea I could come up with. Only other idea I have is, don’t play golf unless you have the time to do it. Personally I’m not in a hurry and I’m out there to enjoy myself. But I’m a pretty good player and a comfortable pace for me is considered a reasonable amount of time by most.

    • Joseph

      Aug 1, 2014 at 10:19 am

      I think a lot of this idea and conversation supports what I posted earlier. I also don’t know about charging less than an advertised rate. I like incentives for future play or even a $5.00 credit at the snack bar. And if you have a horribly slow group that’s playing at a 5 1/2 hour pace, what do you do? It ruins the experience for the 5-6 groups behind them. You have to at some point speed the group or ask them to leave and issue a refund of some sort. The whole idea in my opinion is making sure the customer up front understands that slow play will not be tolerated. It also I think will add an interesting dynamic to the group. We all know the guys that look for lost balls on every other whole for 5-10 minutes. The guys who plum bob 2 footers for bogey. The guys who talk on their cell phones and slow the group up. It will be up to the 4 some to police themselves and make sure that they’re keeping a good and reasonable pace. If they have a guy that’s out of line and slowing things up, you address it right then and there.

  40. DCR

    Jul 31, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Here’s a novel idea… the longer you take to play over a courses stated expectation for pace of play, the more you pay! Play fast, pay less.

    • Jeremy

      Jul 31, 2014 at 8:12 pm

      I don’t want to feel like I’m rushing my round just to save a few bucks though. I don’t want that thought even entering my head, there’s enough flying around inside there on my backswing already.

  41. David

    Jul 31, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    If the PGA Tour had a policy in place that required a 4 1/2 hour pace, and they enforced it, it would have a carry over effect to all golf (public, private, resort etc.).

    • cliff

      Aug 1, 2014 at 8:19 am

      Yes! Shoot 6 under but finished in 4 hrs. and 35 minutes….DQ for the tournament or 2 stroke penalty.

  42. Joseph

    Jul 31, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    A round of golf is enjoyed by some in getting out and playing in 4 hours. Others may like a leisurely stroll to stop and smell the flowers and finish in 5 1/2 hours. You’re never going to please everyone. I think allowing (strongly suggesting) courses to dictate what a reasonable pace of play should be and then clearly sticking to that policy is the only way. Offer a free drink and a hot dog at the end of the round for those groups who finish under that pace. Offer a discount on future rounds. If you have a group that’s playing behind pace, they get a fair warning. If they if they cant pick up the pace, you escort them off the course and issue a refund for holes not played. With technology where it is today, there’s no reason why this would be difficult for the courses to manage pretty easily. It’s all about marketing your course to the types of customers you’re trying to attract. If you have a premium public course and charge $100.00 a round, you’re likely attracting serious golfers who understand the game and understand pace of play courtesy. Conversely, a serious golfer should know and understand that the $25.00 muni is going to attract a more diverse customer base and they should expect a 5 hour round sometimes.

  43. Tim

    Jul 31, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    In my neck of the woods, the pace of play issue is related to the quality of the golfers, not the course. There are too many bad golfers out on full size, difficult courses that shouldn’t be playing them. It’s pretty hard to play fast when you’re taking triple bogey on every hole. Nothing we can do about that, except join a private club.

  44. Dave S

    Jul 31, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    If I read one more article about “Pace of play” or how the golf industry is dying, I’m going to poke my eyes out. If golf dies, it dies… stop trying in vain to come up with ways to “save” it.

    • Tim

      Jul 31, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      I agree with Dave…if people quit because the game takes too long, there will be more room out there for us! Fine by me.

  45. ng

    Jul 31, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Courses don’t really care about the slow play as long as if players keep coming back Sat and Sun morning. Players can gripe, but if courses continue to fill their tee times even at 8 minutes apart, why would they change. Secondly, I play with a club group and whenever we go to a course that is known for slow play, the organizer warns us and those who participate expect it and don’t feel as bad that the round lasted between 5 and 6 hours. I’ve been to a course where the marshal graciously comes around and apologizes for the slow play “today.” This makes me feel a little better and accepting, but the problem is he does it every time I’m at that course.

  46. MHendon

    Jul 31, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Golf is slow, its always been slow, I’ve been playing for 20 years and even back when I started playing the accepted standard for a foursome was 4 hours. I agree it’s frustrating as hell watching a group of newbies hitting it twice as many times as they’re supposed to on every hole, not letting you through making your round last 5 plus hours. Best ways to avoid it, play during the week, reserve the first tee time, play expensive courses, or join a private club. Otherwise deal with it and quit bitching!!!!!

    • BHollen

      Jul 31, 2014 at 9:40 pm

      “I agree it’s frustrating as hell watching a group of newbies hitting it twice as many times as they’re supposed to on every hole, not letting you through making your round last 5 plus hours.”

      The issue with allowing faster players through is when it happens another group always comes up right behind, so now you are holding up another group.

      I see nothing wrong with a ranger telling a member or members of a slow group to pick up and drop on the green, put out and move on if they are really slow. There is really nothing else you can do when there is a foursome playing that struggles from tee to green and requires 7-9 strokes each hole to hasten their play. It would be nice if all golfers went to an easy course to brush up before playing the more difficult ones, but in our area, the easier courses are so poor compared to the regular muni courses that very few are playing them.

  47. RobG

    Jul 31, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    I’ve been advocating through this comment section about enforcing pace-of-play rules and regulations but as I went and got a cup of coffee, I had an epiphany.

    What if we have it all wrong?

    What if the solution to slow play is to simply adjust our expectations of how long a round of golf should take and just let it be?

    Go to the course and expect a 6-hour round and instead of fighting it just enjoy it.

    Embrace the 6-hour round. You are out for a walk away from desks, computers, and hopefully cell phones and emails too.

    Come up with silly games and/or challenges for between shots. Talk to your buddies or your wife or the random strangers you are paired with and get to know them. Use the time waiting to create connections with people and enjoy the sunshine and appreciate that you have the health and wealth to be able to be out there in the first place.

    Life has turned into such a mad dash – and golf shouldn’t be that way too. Slow down, take it all in, and just enjoy the ride.

    • ng

      Jul 31, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      I bring my guitar and have a sing-along. But I agree that expectations has a great deal to do with one’s unhappiness.

    • Dave S

      Jul 31, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      First time I’ve heard this argument and i couldn’t agree more. I’m not out playing golf to just run up to my ball and hit and pray I’m making good time… seem like a stresser similar to those I’m trying to escape on the golf course. Just accept that we’re all out here to have a good time and chill. If you pay $40 to go to a national park or something, you’re goal is not to see everything in the park in 3:40 or else your mad… you have fun and enjoy the nice weather and the time with friends and/or family.

      I’m sure some of you will say “well when you have a wife and kids and other things to do on the weekend, you can’t spend 6 hours playing golf. Well, then play only 9 holes and don’t ruin it for the rest of us.

      • LongBall

        Aug 1, 2014 at 2:02 pm

        If I’m out there 6 hours it better be to play 27 holes…not what you hack it around while slamming a 12 pack.

      • bill

        Aug 5, 2014 at 6:19 am

        6 hours??
        The problem is I forget how to play golf waiting for people like you to “enjoy” themselves….
        Go to the beach.

    • Jeremy

      Jul 31, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      Nah, that’s too long for me, sorry. And I’m a single guy with no responsibilities and no one waiting for me to come home. But I can’t stand 6 hour rounds. It’s not about the time problem at that point, it’s just no fun. I don’t play well and I don’t enjoy myself when I get to my ball and still have to wait 5 minutes to hit. I suspect I speak for most. I’m not trying to get back down to under 3 hours, but more than 5 is nuts.

      • RobG

        Jul 31, 2014 at 6:55 pm

        I agree that anything over 5 hours is pretty crazy, I grew up on a pretty empty course that me and a couple of buddies could make it around in 3:30 if we were playing well. I was in for a real adjustment when I moved to Calgary and found most golf courses packed.

        The unfortunate reality of golf is 6 hour rounds are now the norm and it took me a long time to accept that. If a person goes into the round expecting it to take 6 hours and a person plans for it to take 6 hours then anything less becomes a bonus. Like I said, it’s all about adjusting expectations. It works for some people it doesn’t work for others. The bottom line is we play golf because we enjoy it and we need to do whatever we need to do to make it enjoyable and if that means playing fast so be it.

        This next statement isn’t meant directly for you Jeremy, but the golfing public as a whole.

        But please don’t make a tee time on the busiest courses during the busiest times of the week then complain about slow play! If speed is the key to one’s golf happiness play at 7:00am on a weekday, not noon on a weekend.

        • Jeremy

          Jul 31, 2014 at 7:49 pm

          That last part, true enough. I’d just amend it to say don’t complain about it the second time.

          I think the point here is that, yes, while it’s always going to be a long and slow game, it doesn’t have to be as long and slow as it currently is. And it sounds like most folks here feel that the burden is on the courses to enforce simple, common sense ways to make the game quicker and more fun for everyone.

        • bill

          Aug 5, 2014 at 6:21 am

          I can’t believe people are talking about playing 18 holes in 6 hours?

    • tyler

      Aug 2, 2014 at 7:50 pm

      The issue that people get frustrated with isn’t that it takes X hours to play the course. Courses aren’t all the same and require varying amounts of time to play. It’s that you’re constantly waiting to hit your ball because of the group in front of you. That’s not relaxing. It’s akin to standing in line at the amusement park. Not relaxing.

  48. B-man

    Jul 31, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Hey all: Nice article,but I would add that courses want to maximize their revenue so they put tee times very close together which makes for waiting too. I also think that courses need to enforce the pace of play rules they set and not just put it on a few signs here and there hoping players will abide by them. While I think this is what needs to happen I think that most people are just out for a nice time with family and or friends and don’t want to be pestered and and or left with a bad taste in my mouth and not want to come back. So it’s a fine line as to keeping everyone happy and playing golf too. Thanks

  49. ca1879

    Jul 31, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Barney – you’ve cut to the heart of the pace of play question. It is the players that have to increase the pace, but it is the clubs and management that have to inform and regulate the players, and provide a golf environment that allows for quick play. Most players will not change without this help, despite many decades of advice and tips on how to play faster. Of course this seems a near impossible task, given the conflicting interests involved, but it is the only path that has a chance of succeeding. Hopefully you have some way to tie this into the cost solution.

  50. Richard

    Jul 31, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Many fine points here, and the truth – as some have already pointed out – is that the cause for slow play is all of the above: lack of enforcement, lack of knowledge, winded pre-shot routines, poor management (goes for the courses and the players). I like what some have said about informing players about pace of play rules before they pay, or using GPS (I thought I read something about a few courses in the US that actually do that), or using non-traditional tee markers, etc. Here’s another one… What if you showed up to a course for the first time an they made you sit in the pro-shop and watch a 3-5 minute video (maybe/probably less) that explained the specific rules for that course along with of few tips on etiquette and so forth? You only have to watch it the one time unless you violate the rules in which case you have to sit through it again the next time you play; and again, and again until it sticks. I only suggest this because I think education has a lot to do with it. Especially, when you’re dealing with weekend warriors and younger players who are more likely to dismiss the rules set forth by a bunch of “old people”. You can set up classes on rules and etiquette, but unless it’s mandated hardly anyone will sign up. It’s time for courses to firm up and stand by what they say. Another issue that was mentioned is the pre-shot routine. Pre-shot routines are great, but there are limits. For a non-tournament round, pre-shot routines should not take more than about 20-30 seconds and should be void of any practice swings. That’s how I play… and it works quite well. I can walk 18 holes in under 4 hours and I only play bogey ball. I was on a course one morning (w/ a cart this time) and played 18 in 2.5 hours! I even had a group of 3 play through me!!! Fact of the matter is there is just a whole heck of lot that is wrong with the golf industry right now, and probably a good 80% of it needs a complete overhaul.

    • Captain Obvious

      Aug 1, 2014 at 10:02 am

      A pre-shot routine of 30 seconds without a practice swing? What kind of routine is that?!! How many times can you check your GPS or throw grass clippings into the air?

      I’m glad your pre-shot is void of practice swings. However, nearly every single golfer at the highest levels incorporates practice swings in their routine, especially on short game shots. To expect most amateurs to make a decent pass at the ball without a swing or two to keep loose would be a disaster. It would probably take them more time as they look for more lost balls or have to hit even more shots per round (without practice swings, of course).

      • cliff

        Aug 1, 2014 at 2:20 pm

        Look at most amateurs, their practice swings looks nothing like their actual swing. Most of the time their practice swing looks much better. Speed golf players don’t take practice swings and they do pretty well. I’d bet most amateurs would play better if they stop thinking so much and just hit the ball.

  51. Jive

    Jul 31, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    I’ve posted it before under another conversation a few years back. But here is a great venue to post again. I agreed with Mr. Adams that all courses need a pace of play “contract”. I will use the 4 hour example because it is the easiest to show.
    1. On tee boxes,1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16 put a cheap Target store battery powered clock. The cost is cheap, so golfers won’t have to subsidize.
    2. On hole 4 set the clock backwards 40 minutes, on hole 7 set the clock backwards 80 minutes , on hole 10 set it back 120 minutes (2 hours) on hole 13 set the clock backwards 160 minutes, hole 16 set it backwards 200 minutes.
    3. Everyone remembers their tee time.
    4. If you are keeping with pace of play, when you get to the 4th tee box the clock will show your tee time. If you are keeping a 4 hour pace, every three holes should take you 40 minutes. So as you go around the course, you have a visual reminder.
    5. 4 hours is a generic example, and some 3 hole stretches take longer than others, well its your course use your 4th grade math skills and figure it out.
    6. We go off 1 and 10 in the AM, well buy two clocks for each hole, have one set, for teeing off on 1, and have one for teeing off on 10.
    7. I stole this idea from The Farmington in Charlottesville, VA. It works quite well up there.

    • cliff

      Jul 31, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      The groups checking the clocks aren’t the issue, it’s the groups that don’t that are the issue. Some groups just don’t care if they play slow. They schedule 6 hours to play golf and drink beer, so screw everyone else is what they think. It only takes one 4-some to slow the entire course down.

    • Jeremy

      Jul 31, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      Simple, cheap, and effective. I like it. It doesn’t stop people from giving the clocks the finger though, and that’s where enforcement has to come in.

  52. steve

    Jul 31, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Hasn’t this topic been beaten to death around here. Do you think daily fee courses are going throw anyone off for slow pay? Not many if any. Private courses are alittle different, they have the money already in their annual fee. So if you play one time or a hundred it doesn’t matter to them. Slow play is here and not leaving. You all sound like that grumpy old man complaining how the neighborhood is falling apart. How everything was better when he was a kid. You think they really want to deal with the potential of altercations everyday. Try throwing 4 buzzed guys off the course for slow play

    • Shecky

      Jul 31, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      Couldn’t agree with you more! Don’t mind playing a 5 hour round? Then go to the crowded muni. Want to play in peace and quiet? Then you can go join the expensive private course that has less than 1000 rounds a year on it. Otherwise shut the hell up. I love golf but it’s antiquated and dying a slow death. Complaining about pace of play is like complaining about someone calling a fouls at your local YMCA pick up game.

    • Jeff Daschel

      Jul 31, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      You have a great point. Even approaching 4 buzzed guys that paid their fees, telling them to hurry it up and get off the course for any reason. Altercations to say the least.

    • tyler

      Aug 2, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      No one on this forum, any GolfWRXer or anyone who actually watches the PGA tour or Golf channel voluntarily has a problem with pace of play because we see it everywhere and are aware of it. It’s the extremely casual golfers (I’m talking those who play maybe 3-5 times per year) with the problem and it only takes one to bring a course to it’s knees on a busy Saturday morning. Why? They’re not educated about it! I have never played a course with a starter at the first tee. It would be extremely simple and low tech to have someone at the first tee box to explain the course rules and give forewarning about pace of play infractions and then if they choose to break the rules they deserve to be escorted off the course. However, I think most casual golfers would follow the rules, but I think they honestly don’t know what the rules of the course are or what pace of play is.

    • bill

      Aug 5, 2014 at 6:29 am

      That’s because everything was better when I was a kid.
      Personal responsibility has vanished.
      Every course that I play don’t allow alcohol on the course and the cart people are there twice each 9 at the most, so if there are buzzed guys on the course they should be escorted off.

  53. Jim

    Jul 31, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Here’s another problem with certain public courses – they jam as many people out on the course as possible to ring up the cash register. I played a course recently that was pushing 4-somes out every 8 minutes regardless of the fact that the first hole is a short par 4 and the second hole is a par 3. You were waiting on every shot throughout the round and it ended up taking 5:45 to play 18 holes. There were literally people driving off the course after 14 or 15 holes exclaiming ‘I’ve had enough’. Playing at a reasonably fast pace isn’t always the players problem, sometimes it’s greedy owners. (Needless to say I informed the club staff that I wouldn’t be coming back anytime soon.)

  54. Jeff Daschel

    Jul 31, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Here’s a slow-play problem I have all the time. My brother in law- who is a pretty good player. He believes the only way to give himself a chance at a lower score than his average, is to as he says, “Take more time with my putts.” So every time he’s on the GIR, I have to wait for him to do that thing Tiger or Jack does over a 12 footer. (watch it for an hour trying to visualize it going in. Anyway, his slow-putting seems to follow a wait at the tee, with “I waited, they can wait” I can ply quick or slow, but it really seems like slower players are copying what they see from Tour Pros who really do need to grind over every putt.

  55. TT

    Jul 31, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    One of the most common things I hate seeing is a group of golfers spending 10 minutes looking for a ball on nearly every hole. Golfers should be familiar with the rules before they set out on their round. One of the courses I often play has a local rule of 2 minute maximum search.

    • Don Porter

      Jul 31, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      I like it. I started playing about 4 years ago and trust me I lost many balls the 1st couple of years. However, if there was someone behind me, I would never spend more than a minute or 2 looking for my ball. Its just being courteous.

      • Double Mocha Man

        Aug 2, 2014 at 1:14 am

        Courteous?! What’s that got to do with this discussion???

        Seriously, that is the real problem. Most people on the course have no “rear view mirror” and don’t even know they’re holding anyone up. They are the same ones you get behind on the road going 20 in a 35. No awareness. No sense of surroundings. Selfish. Blatantly oblivious.

    • Sprout

      Aug 1, 2014 at 3:23 am

      This relates to my biggest pet-peeve: Not being aware of what’s going on around you. I was raised to watch every ball that was hit in the group and I hate it when I say, “I lost it in the sun. Anybody see where it landed?” and all I get is, “wasn’t watching.”

      To speed play, play like a caddie. Watch every ball in the group (including your own). Help others look for their ball. Be ready to hit when it’s your turn. Play ready golf.

      I used to get around a 7000 yard course walking in 2 hours and 15 minutes (shooting in the mid-90s). With my mom (who shoots in the 110s-120s), it takes 3 hours and 30 minutes.

      You never feel rushed if you are efficient and cognizant of where all the balls are going.

      • MHendon

        Aug 2, 2014 at 12:38 am

        How could you possibly walk a 7000 yard course in 2 hours 15 minutes shooting in the mid-90s. I wouldn’t think that would be possible shooting even par.

  56. Miles

    Jul 31, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Another issue is when the course is jammed up, us newer golfers can’t “practice” ready golf. If there is three groups on a par 4 (one waiting to tee off, one waiting to approach, one putting, with the next hole same thing) what’s the point of running around with three clubs in hand? IMO it’s that “being rushed” feeling that breeds efficiency on the course. I notice when we are waiting, the phones come out, ball hunting etc. begins….

  57. KB33

    Jul 31, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Pace of play is very easy to enforce…GPS systems are extremely cheap now. Similar to when you go to a restaurant, you give each golfer a small device to put on their bag that monitors their location on the course.

    If a group falls behind you can then buzz/light up the device that informs them they are off pace. If they do not pick up pace you send out the ranger…if that doesn’t work you make them skip a hole…then if that doesn’t work…you escort them off the course.

    • RobG

      Jul 31, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      I’ve been saying this for years now. Have the starter give each group a GPS tracker so the course marshal can track groups around the course in real-time and actually throwing people off the course for failing to catch up after being warned would solve slow play very quickly.

      • KB33

        Jul 31, 2014 at 3:57 pm

        Honestly, this type of tech could be integrated into an app like GolfNow. I realize not everyone has a smartphone, in those instances you would utilize an independent device.

        I have zero interest in developing this, so hopefully someone smarter than I will do this for us.

      • MHendon

        Jul 31, 2014 at 5:36 pm

        They already have it. The course I play has GPS on the carts and if you’re taking to long it gives a message to please keep pace.

      • Tony

        Aug 1, 2014 at 12:59 pm

        My local course has GPS built into the carts – it’s pretty nice as it provides you an overhead image display of whatever hole you’re on, with distances to the pin, bunkers, etc… You can also order food and call up the marshall/ranger if needed.

        Although it keeps a running tally of your pace against the desired pace of play, it doesn’t really do much good because the course is always full, and the starters are pushing new foursomes to the 1st tee every ten minutes. The course owners are as much of a problem as the players themselves.

    • LongBall

      Aug 1, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      Its the way to go…Get behind the clock and you must skip holes till you catch up

  58. ryan

    Jul 31, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    some the disservice for me at least is the constant TV and internet clips about a routine is key, never break your pre-shot routine always let it be the same……if you are a 20+ handicapper who takes 9 shots to get to the hole, you don’t need a pre-shot routine that take 35 seconds with 4 practice swings.

    Same thing goes for the ladies who go Driver, 3-wood, 3-wood, 3-wood, 7-wood, 7-wood to get to the green when they are in a group of 4 all taking 4-5 practice swings it kills the game.

    if you shank the ball 20 feet do you really need to go thru an entire practice swing and pre shot routine again only to do the same thing over and over again. Nope chances are if you take 1 practice swing then hit it or step up and hit it you will make better contact.

    Also if you are going to shank a ball into the woods every hole stop playing pro-v1s where you have to have the entire group stop and search for 20 mins then drive back into the group hitting off the tee because maybe it did not go as far.

    My casual group we look for a couple minutes but if we all saw it get lost in the rough just on the edge of the fairway and someone may have picked it up or its gone now we give them a free drop, because a PGA spotter would have found the ball easily

  59. EF

    Jul 31, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Funny how again the focus is on the player. Here’s a mandate that the (ex) Czar could put into effect – mandatory 15 minute gapping on tee times at all public courses. All problems are solved, except golf courses make less money, which we all know is the only problem anybody is really talking about here anyway.

    • CM

      Jul 31, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      Agree 1000%. The only thing they ever talk about is how we are doing things wrong. Yes there are slow golfers but the 8 minute muni tee time here in CA, stacks the deck. No way to get thank many golfers through the course in under 4.

    • Don Porter

      Jul 31, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      Yep!

    • A Golfer

      Aug 4, 2014 at 10:59 am

      Exactly!! Local course I play regularly has 7 min spacing on tee times. Second hole is a 220 yard par 3.. 20 min wait every time.

  60. KB33

    Jul 31, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    I agree with this…a course that sets a fine example of this is Glen Club here in Glenview, IL. They make pace of play their number one priority…you can finish a round there in 3:30 – 3:45…perfection.

    Now if it wasn’t $150 a round that would be great.

    • Double Mocha Man

      Aug 2, 2014 at 1:20 am

      If time = money, then you’re not getting your money’s worth. 🙂

  61. Tyson

    Jul 31, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    My problem with pace of play conversations is “No single raindrop believes it is to blame for the flood.” In many cases people don’t even know they are the cause of slow play, and often pass blame to others.

    I wish it was the weekend warrior that was to blame for slow play in our area, but often its the people that don’t understand what ready golf is. I love it when courses have clocks at 7 and 13 with something like “if you teed off before this time you are behind”

  62. ng

    Jul 31, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    here’s the problem. most public (muni) golf courses book tee times 7-1/2 minutes apart. If assuming a 4-some can play each hole in 7-1/2 minutes, it should only take 2 hours and 15 minutes to play 18 holes. Even if tee times are booked 10 minutes apart, it would take a foursome to play 18 holes in 3 hours and not stop at the turn for food, etc. The course will get backed up no matter how fast you play. This is entirely the course’s fault.

    My personal solution has been to pay more money, usually $80 and up where I live, to get a decent pace of play because there are a lesser number of golfers who are willing to pay that to play. And these golfers tend to be the experienced types who know golf etiquette and proper pace of play.

    • RobG

      Jul 31, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      Muni’s book tee times 7.5 minute apart because they allow for two groups on each hole 7.5 minutes apart which sets the pace at 15 minutes per hole which is a 4:30 round. The problem with muni’s is there is usually next to none or zero enforcement of pace, its basically a free for all.

      Increasing the cost will do little. I live in Calgary where the cost of golf is ridiculous. If I want to go to a course where the price is going to drive away the weekend warriors I’m looking at a minimum $120 for a round. But it rarely helps because the members are just as slow or even slower than the weekend warriors because they don’t give a darn about courtesy or pace of play.

      • ng

        Jul 31, 2014 at 5:17 pm

        There’s no doubt there are slow players, but when the course is jammed pack, one can’t even blame the slow players. It’s hard to blame the group in front of you when you look further down (if you can) and see every hole in front of them is full of players. I’m talking about the weekend rounds, and if I didn’t have to work during the weekdays, that is the best time to play golf. When the course is not busy, courteous golfers will let you play through. Calgary has a shorter golf season (due to winter) and probably less choices so the nicer courses will charge a higher rate. But it’s a shame that any player would not respect pace of play.

  63. Mike

    Jul 31, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    I would pay extra if I could be guaranteed to finish my round in 3:45. Something for course operators to think about…

  64. a jackson holloway

    Jul 31, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    I keep hearing these different ideas but changing the size of hole is not nearly as beneficial as multiple tees. It makes no sense for a seven or ninety year old to be playing the same tees as 20 to 60 year old. 7 or 8 different tees would be very inexpensive. Nothing make me cringe more than someone being introduced to game playing a 440 yard par four.

    • RobG

      Jul 31, 2014 at 1:40 pm

      I’ve read that for a golf course to offer a fair test to a golfer it should play to a yardage that is roughly 25x the golfers average drive.

      Drive Course Length
      180 4500 yards
      220 5500 yards
      250 6250 yards
      280 7000 yards
      300 7500 yards

      The only problem with this is EGO. If a guy goes golfing with three of his buddies and they all play the middle tees, do you honestly think he is going to play the front tees just because he can’t hit it as far or as straight as his buddies do? I doubt it. And the other problem is tee colouring schemes. Most course go something like this:

      Gold – Championship
      Black – Challenging
      Blue – Slightly more difficult
      White – Standard Mens
      Red – Standard Ladies

      And over time a stigma has built up around the white and red tees. If golf courses mixed up their tee coloring to something non-traditional it would make it more inviting for golfers to pick a tee that is more suited their game.

      • allan

        Jul 31, 2014 at 7:21 pm

        golf courses give to many tee options on weekends there should be 1 set of tees for men and 1 ladies. and everybody plays from those tees or they don’t play. I have witnessed people playing from the championship tees that cant break 120

        • RobG

          Aug 1, 2014 at 1:03 pm

          Only having two sets of tees only makes the problems worse. What if the white tees are about 6200-6400 yards and you have three guys who can’t hit the ball 200 off the tee or more than 150 off the turf. It’s going to be a long round. I think a better solution to keep the 120 players form playing anything further back than the standard men’s whites would be for a golfer having to prove their handicap to the starter to play anything further back than whites.

  65. RobG

    Jul 31, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    I think the first major step to alleviating slow play is communication. Most golf courses just post a sign somewhere in or around the pro shop that reminds golfers that they are expected to take ‘X’ amount of time to complete a round of golf. Very rarely do golf shop attendants actually tell the patrons that they must maintain a certain pace of play. Inform golfers before they pay for their round “If you do not keep a certain pace, you will be escorted off of the course” and if they chose to play some where else than so be it.

    The second step is enforcement. I think, there are a couple of very reasonable options. Instead of having one roaming marshal to maintain play, place marshals on the 4th, 7th, 10th, 13th, and 16th tees to monitor pace OR give each group a small puck or disk with a GPS tracking device in it so the course marshal can monitor every group on the course in real time. If a group falls behind, they get one warning and have three holes to catch up. If a group is not caught up after three holes, they are ejected from the golf course immediately.

  66. adam

    Jul 31, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Hate to say it but the reason for slow play is because people go play tougher courses than they should. A slope of 145 shouldn’t be played by a 20+ handicapper. Also, the fact courses nowadays are cramming way too many groups on the course. I’ve played courses that have 5 minutes between tee offs. Needless to say the round took over 5 hours. At one point we had 4 groups on a par 4.

  67. w

    Jul 31, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Some many variables. I wouldn’t want the pressure of having to play a course like Pebble Beach or Whistling Straits in less than 4:30. I would like to take my time and enjoy the history and sights. Whereas, my local muni better push 4 hours or better. I think morning rounds should be treated differently than afternoon rounds. If you are a serious golfer, and want to play quickly, play in the morning. If you are a recreational golfer and want to drink with your buddies, play in the afternoon. Each course (excluding “tourist” golf) should set a time and offer a reward for finishing on time. the reward can be something like a free beer in the club house. Morning rounds could be 3:50 while afternoon rounds could be enforced at 4:20. Courses need to be upfront about their pace of play policy and make sure golfers understand they could be forced to skip a hole. Also, beverage carts could be posted at 2 check points and if the golfers are on time, $1 off drinks. Same applies to the halfway house.
    Golf should adopt local rules for casual golf. Out of bounds should be played like water. Lost balls should get a free drop in the area it was seen landing. double par should be the max score so if you are putting for a 6 on a par 3, just pick it up. Rangers should be posted at a trouble spot to help look for balls. Golf courses should have a summer program for high school kids to act as ball spotters. every hour they work gets them a free bucket or 9 holes (if there is no range). so much can be done.

    • RobG

      Jul 31, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      Those are all really great ideas!

    • brookter

      Aug 2, 2014 at 5:30 am

      “Golf should adopt local rules for casual golf.”

      That wouldn’t be a problem in the UK because our handicaps are only calculated in competitions, but for US handicaps aren’t you supposed to count every round you play? Having different rules for casual rounds would significantly alter the balance (and accuracy) of handicaps.

  68. IH8

    Jul 31, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    I don’t think you need a pace of play app. A series of wall clocks every couple of holes that are appropriately delayed according to the expected pace of play such that each time you see a clock you should see your tee-time does the trick. I’ve seen this employed at several public courses.

    But another, less-discussed, issue with respect to pace of play is tee time intervals. I can’t count the number of courses I’ve been to with 6-8 minute tee time intervals. That’s just too short. The course gets so crammed with people that you can’t help but play in 5 hours. Intervals should be at least 10 minutes. In fact, Pebble Beach did a study that showed they were cramming WAY too many people on the course so they changed their intervals to every 10 minutes on the tens. I know why intervals are so short (more people equals more green fees), but like Mr. Adams has been saying from the beginning: it’s about value.

  69. TG65

    Jul 31, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    All of the surveys I read in the golf publications indicate that most golfers think they play quickly and it’s other who are the problem. The solutions correctly include posting guidelines and enforcement, but to me the real issue is that many people don’t know that they are slow and, more importantly, don’t know how to play faster.

    Here are two small suggestions for educating people on how to play faster. At check-in, provide a small laminated card with suggestions for speeding up play (taking multiple clubs to a ball, ready golf and what that really means, picking up after a “max” score, etc.) When distributing the card, inform all players that the ranger will be actively monitoring pace of play. The second suggestion is to get the ranger to ride along with a slow group for a short while and suggest tips on speeding up (where to park carts, dropping off a player and proceeding immediately to one’s own ball, etc.). This way, these golfers will learn HOW to play faster and not just get prodded along.

    • Johnny

      Jul 31, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      One of the best common-sense suggestions regarding slow play that I have seen or read.

    • Don Porter

      Jul 31, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      Parking carts in the right spot is a biggie!

  70. Jason

    Jul 31, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Set the pace of play better! We’re in Denver and Troon corporations sets their pace of play at 4:35!!!! That is awful. I really enjoy around 3:30-#;45 and read putts from both sides.

  71. Eric

    Jul 31, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    The issue you are running into is that implimaneting a pase of play on a public course will shy away your “weekend wariors” from the game. These players make up a LARGE portion of the golf market share and lets not forget… We pay good $$ to go to a golf course and enjoy ourselves!! And if that takes 30 minutes longer than the norm that frankly I dont care!!! If pace of play is a concerning factor do not play a public course on a weekend. Golf course owners will pack players in heavy to maximize profit and now matter how many pace of play rules one impliments putting 300 players on a course for a weekend will result in a long day on the course!!

    • RobG

      Jul 31, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      Make the weekend warriors aware that they must play a round of golf in ‘X’ amount of time or risk being ejected from the golf course BEFORE they pay that good money for the round. If they know going in that slow play will cost them their hard earned money, isn’t that more incentive to play faster? It’s not like we are asking a lot here. A 4:15 or 4:30 round is easily achievable – even on packed golf courses. The number of people on the course is of no consequence if pace of play rules are strictly adhered too.

      • LongBall

        Aug 1, 2014 at 2:10 pm

        Tell the weekend warriors that the cart is set to stop running at the 3:45 mark and they will have to walk with clubs in tow if they are not back in time.

        Warriors suddenly learn to play faster…Done

        • Double Mocha Man

          Aug 2, 2014 at 1:33 am

          … and that the wheels on the rental pull cart will lock up at 3:45. And if you’re walking then snipers will start shooting at you from the trees if you’re on the course longer than 3:45.

  72. Dennis smeiska

    Jul 31, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    What level of golfer would decide what the pace of play will be at any given course? How would you keep track of the posted pace of play? I do like the idea. Enforcement isn’t going to be easy.

    • RobG

      Jul 31, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      The best way to set a time limit is to not take into account the level of play. A strict 15 minutes/hole rule (4:30 round) is easily achievable by 95% of golfers regardless of their skill. Two easy ways to enforce it. Place marshals on the 4th, 7th, 10th, 13th, and 16th tee boxes and track groups but I think the most cost effective way is to give each group a GPS tracking device so a marshal can monitor pace of play in real time.

      • keith

        Jul 31, 2014 at 6:39 pm

        How many golf courses can afford to have five marshals on a golf course? Private clubs maybe, your local muni, who is just pumping out rounds and paying people minimum wage. Love the idea, just has no chance of happening.

  73. cliff

    Jul 31, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Just about every course has pace of play noted. It’s the enforcement that is the issue!

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Opinion & Analysis

Squares2Circles: Course strategy refined by a Ph.D.

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What do you get when you combine Division I-level golf talent, a Ph.D. in Mathematics, a passion for understanding how people process analytical information, and a knowledge of the psychology behind it? In short, you get Kevin Moore, but the long version of the story is much more interesting.

Kevin Moore attended the University of Akron on a golf scholarship from 2001-2005. Upon completing his tenure with the team, he found himself burned out on the game and promptly hung up his sticks. For a decade.

After completing his BS and MS degrees at the University of Akron, Kevin then went to Arizona State to pursue his Ph.D. Ultimately what drew him to the desert was the opportunity to research the psychology behind how people process analytical information. In his own words:

“My research in mathematics education is actually in the realm of student cognition (how students think and learn). From that, I’ve gained a deep understanding of developmental psychology in the mathematical world and also a general understanding of psychology as a whole; how our brains work, how we make decisions, and how we respond to results.”

In 2015, Kevin started to miss the game he loved. Now a professor of mathematics education at the University of Georgia, he dusted off his clubs and set a goal to play in USGA events. That’s when it all started to come together.

“I wanted to play some interesting courses for my satellite qualifiers and I wasn’t able to play practice rounds to be able to check them out in advance. So I modified a math program to let me do all the strategic planning ahead of time. I worked my way around the golf course, plotting out exactly how I wanted to hit  shot, and minimizing my expected score for each hole. I bundled that up into a report that I could study to prepare for the rounds.

“I’m not long enough to overpower a golf course, so I needed to find a way to make sure I was putting myself in the best positions possible to minimize my score. There might be a pin position on a certain green where purposely hitting an 8-iron to 25 feet is the best strategy for me. I’ll let the rest of the field take on that pin and make a mistake even if they’re only hitting wedge. I know that playing intelligently aggressive to the right spot is going to allow me to pick up fractions of strokes here and there.”

His plan worked, too. Kevin made it to the USGA Mid-Amateur at Charlotte Country Club in September of 2018 using this preparation method for his events just three years after taking a decade off of golf. In case you missed the implied sentiment, that’s extremely impressive. When Kevin showed his reports to some friends that played on the Web.com Tour and the Mackenzie Tour, they were so impressed they asked him to think about generating them for other people. The first group he approached was the coaching staff at the University of Georgia, who promptly enlisted his services to assist their team with course strategy in the spring of 2019. That’s when Squares2Circles really started to get some traction.

At that point, UGA hadn’t had a team win in over two seasons. They also hadn’t had an individual winner in over one season and had missed out on Nationals the previous two seasons. In the spring of 2019, they had three team wins (including winning Regionals to advance to Nationals) and two individual wins (including Davis Thompson’s win at Regionals). Obviously, the credit ultimately belongs to the players on the team, but suffice it to say it appears as though Kevin’s involvement with the team was decidedly useful.

“One of the things we really focused in on was par 3 scoring. They finished 3rd, 2nd, 4th, and 3rd in the field as a team in their spring tournaments. Then at the SEC’s they struggled a bit and finished 6th in the field. At Regionals, they turned it around and finished 1st in the field with a score of +6 across 60 scores (186 total on 60 par 3’s, an average of 3.10).”

Sample Squares2Circles layout for the 18th hole at Muirfield Village. Advanced data redacted.

Kevin is available outside of his work with UGA and has been employed by other D-I teams (including his alma mater of Akron), Mackenzie Tour players, Web.com Tour players, and competitive juniors as well. Using his modified math program, he can generate generic course guides based on assumed shot dispersions, but having more specific Trackman data for the individual allows him to take things to a new level. This allows him to show the player exactly what their options are with their exact carry numbers and shot dispersions.

“Everything I do is ultimately based off of strokes gained data. I don’t reinvent the wheel there and I don’t use any real new statistics (at least not yet), but I see my role as interpreting that data. Let’s say a certain player is an average of -2.1 on strokes gained approach over the last 10 rounds. That says something about his game, but it doesn’t say if it’s strategy or execution. And it doesn’t help you come up with a practice plan either. I love to help players go deeper than just the raw data to help them understand why they’re seeing what they’re seeing. That’s where the good stuff is. Not just the data, but the story the data tells and the psychology behind it. How do we get ourselves in the right mindset to play golf and think through a round and commit to what we’re doing?”

“Even if you’re able to play practice rounds, this level of preparation turns those practice rounds into more of an experiment than a game plan session. You go into your practice round already knowing the golf course and already having a plan of attack. This allows you to use that practice round to test that game plan before the competition starts. You may decide to tweak a few things during your practice round based on course conditions or an elevation change here and there, but for the most part it’s like you’ve gained a free practice round. It allows you to be more comfortable and just let it fly a lot earlier.”

Kevin is in the process of building his website, but follow @squares2circles on Twitter for more information and insight.

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The Gear Dive: Mike Yagley and Chad DeHart of Cobra Golf

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In this episode of The Gear Dive, Johnny chats with Mike Yagley and Chad DeHart of Cobra Golf Innovation on Cobra Connect, new ways to evaluate good play, and the future of golf improvement.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

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Mondays Off: U.S. Open wrap-up | Steve plays against the new assistant pro

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Would Woodland have won the U.S. Open if he had to hit driver on the 18th hole? Knudson doesn’t think so. Steve loved the U.S. Open, but he didn’t really love the commentator crew. Also, Steve tees it up with the new second assistant pro at the club, how did he do?

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

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