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Start a revolution: Rounds of golf should be no more than 3 hours and 45 minutes

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The outcry from players and fans over the USGA’s handling of the Dustin Johnson ruling at the U.S. Open has all but disappeared — probably because he ended up winning, so it ultimately didn’t matter. I suspect, however, there’s still a internal dialogue at the USGA about the issue, and maybe even a consideration for a rule change. Like many, I have my opinion, but it’s just that: another opinion.

The U.S. Open in its coverage, or more precisely lack thereof, sparked an idea, however. With all the stories about Oakmont’s length, green and fairway speeds, I saw a great opportunity missed. I’m talking about hole No. 17, a 310-yard par-4 where eagle putts slipped by and “others” were recorded. Does it get any better as a golfer and fan? Here’s a hole that we the viewer could play — maybe not drive the green but certainly reach in regulation —  and with its short yardage have a reasonable shot at birdie

“Why,” I asked myself, didn’t the USGA take advantage of that hole. It could have made sure Fox featured it as a hole that provided challenge yet could be played by all. If the USGA is truly concerned about the speed of play, shouldn’t holes like No. 17 at Oakmont be highlighted as an example of design for all? Just look at the Open Championship, where the 120-yard, par-3 Postage Stamp hole got the most coverage of any hole all week. What a great example that sets for future and current course designs; the length of a hole isn’t the only thing that makes golf enjoyable and/or challenging. More shorter holes would do wonders to speeding up play for everyone, also.

You see, I read the comments on my stories, and the most common theme is frustration over slow play. Then the light goes on; the USGA is not going to be the answer, but we as golfers can be! Yes, I’m talking about GolfWRX readers who are passionate about the game. It wouldn’t be a National movement, but rather a progressive movement starting one course at a time.

Golfers must set a standard. Before age took its toll, my gang (4-6 of us who played, and gambled) played in 3 hours at the maximum. Wouldn’t that make a foursome playing in 3:30 slow?

So we need a set maximum for elapsed time of a round, one that makes the normal pace of play at a golf course not only bearable, but enjoyable.

I suggest 3 hours and 45 minutes.

I pick that number because I’ve seen it work. I don’t like 4 hours being the standard because 4:00 turns into 4:15, even 4:30, and folks that’s slow and slower.

This change will need to be a course-by-course movement. If you really want to improve speed of play, make your facility an example.

Start by getting together with golfers in the area, and initiate a movement at a public course that results in the facility being tagged as a course where people play fast. Golfers who make a tee time at that course will know what to expect, and will enjoy coming out because they know it won’t take 5+ hours to get in 18.

And what public course wouldn’t welcome the recognition? It’s a win-win for the golfers and the facility. They get more tee times and a good reputation, while golfers get to play the game they love without taking so much time that they don’t want to come back.

This has to be more than suggesting 3:45 rounds in the pro shop, then heading to the lunch room for a beer and a hot dog. You have to be willing to rally people behind you. If the course has marshals, get them on board. If it’s county-owned, then contact the county to see if the local newspaper will help get the word out. And I’m just tossing out thoughts; you folks at GolfWRX will certainly have more and better.

Come up with a name for the movement, and prepare to be criticized. You will need resolve to see this through, but it will be worth it. It starts with one course, then two, then five. Once the movement breeds a success story, there will be no reason that each course cannot adopt the same ideals.

I’m serious, but it’s YOU who has to initiate the change. Yes, you. And boy, wouldn’t it make one of the great golf stories of our times?

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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.

161 Comments

161 Comments

  1. Mad-Mex

    Aug 29, 2016 at 12:41 am

    GREAT IDEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Now lets see the PRO’s DO IT!!
    Because unless they can do it hitting mostly fairways and greens, playing threesomes at the most,,,,,,,, no way your average 18 hdcp golfer can come close.

  2. Mathis

    Aug 19, 2016 at 1:20 am

    I am stationed in Korea and the local course on base here has 7 minute tee times. During the weekends it takes 5+ hours to finish 18. I’ve waited 20+ minutes on the tee box before to hit. I understand the course wants to make money, but 7 minutes is a little ridiculous for a foursome.

    • Mad-Mex

      Aug 29, 2016 at 12:42 am

      Where? I was stationed at Kunsan and it did not get backed up until the first group finished their first 9 (only 9 hole course)

  3. Deke

    Aug 18, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    A local upper scale course tried to enforce speed in my area. Pretty soon there were multiple online reviews pointing out “Gestapo” rangers. Long story short – this did not last very long.

    • KK

      Aug 21, 2016 at 8:58 pm

      Bingo. We all pretend to want faster playing times until a ranger points a finger at us and says, “you’re slow, speed up.” I’ve never seen a pro enjoy a round after being put on the clock. Ams? No chance.

  4. birdy

    Aug 18, 2016 at 9:41 am

    simple….play ready golf. BE READY to hit when its your turn and hit when someone else is not ready. second, limit looking for balls to a minute. 1 minute! stop walking in circles in waist high grass looking for your ball. accept the bad shot, drop, and move on. these two things would speed play up a ton.

    • KK

      Aug 21, 2016 at 8:43 pm

      1 minute search limits is a great idea. Except when you are 1 foot off the fairway on a 275 yd drive of the day and the uncut rough could hide a volleyball.

  5. Golfy McGolferface

    Aug 17, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    How about blocked tee times reserved for faster players or players known to the golf club that are faster, know the game, etc… Something like “tee times 7-8 AM are reserved for faster players”. If those times don’t get filled by a certain day then release them to anybody who wants them. Same for blocks of time with less than foursomes; I know courses desire 4somes for the money, but sometimes that doesnt work for some people.

  6. Spencer

    Aug 5, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    I would like to preface this by saying that 3:45 is a bit unreasonable, especially for public courses, but 4 hours flat is a good number to be at. Me and my foursome are all 4 handicap or less and can comfortably play in 3 hours with no one in front, but a realistic expectation for most golfers is 4 hours.

    Here’s how you fix slow play:

    When you tee off, the starter marks down what time you teed off at. When you finish, your time is marked down as well. If it takes you less than 4 hours, you pay the normal green fee. If it takes you more than 4 hours, you have to pay a penalty, say $20/hour late. Groups that were behind a slow group as judged by the starter are exempt from the penalty. You have to hit people where it hurts, their wallet. Playing ready golf and having competent rangers are also necessities. I understand that courses won’t want to do this because it could anger customers, but this type of radical change is what we need to improve pace of play, which is driving people away from the game!

    • KK

      Aug 21, 2016 at 8:50 pm

      LOL, I’d like to see you try to collect on those penalty fees. You wouldn’t last half a day, the course wouldn’t last a month.

  7. Stretch

    Aug 3, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    For every increase or decrease of 15 minutes for a round is 50 seconds per hole. A 3 hour round is 10 minutes a hole. 3:45 is 12 and a half minutes a hole. 4:30 is 15 minutes a hole. The difference to play at 3:45 and 4:30 is 2′ 30″per hole. Longer than 4:30 should have a course worker check for a pulse. Playing golf is the aim when out on the links. Standing around talking or admiring the view when one can be hitting a shot is not playing golf, rather socializing. Marshalling at a muni T see too much socializing and not enough ready golf.

  8. Someone

    Aug 1, 2016 at 9:13 am

    If you play early, and by early I mean around 7-8am tee times, you’re usually fine. What needs to really occur is an adjustment to how individuals play the course. They ought to implement a double bogey max rule where you pick up and go to the next hole after double, regardless of whether or not you holed out/got on the green/still in the fairway. Honestly every course will be faster, hands down. Regardless of what time you play. Milestone drop zones are also a plausible idea. For example, if someone can hit the ball but it’s taking them 4 shots to get to the green because they don’t have the distance, they ought to take 2 shots, and then hit from the drop zone in the fairway (about 100yds out) and then finish the hole from there, again still with the double bogey max.
    The problem with limiting who can play and what not is that golf can’t make money to continue on without new players. Just like how 50 years ago alcohol and tobacco was the distraction of choice, today it’s cell phones and social media, we have to accept the definition of the ‘average’/’new’ golfer has changed. Now it’s family, kids, women, etc. Golf was once a closed sport reserved for members of a club, so time was a key factor. Today, golf is open to everyone and anyone and to accommodate that, we ought to be accepting of all players. Instead of chastising those who play 5 hours or even 4.5 hours, what we as experienced golfers ought to do is play WITH the inexperienced guy and walk them through a proper pace of play. Telling them to give up on a ball if they lost it in the woods and to just drop and move forward. Telling them to buy cheaper golf balls if they’re losing them, so they can move forward. Telling them to pick up after their double bogey stroke on a hole so that you can move forward. Telling them to play 9 until they get better so they don’t waste their time. This would be much more effective.
    The clubhouses need to have a better marshal out there to manage the course. A lot of times, you only see one marshal driving around, not really saying much. In reality, they ought to stick with the slow groups or have multiple marshals. Maybe a caddie system has to start back up to keep people up to pace.
    One guy I played with once said ‘I got a full 5 minutes to look for my ball’ but he was losing balls every other hole. There’s nothing in the rule books about how many times you can use 5 minutes to look for a ball. But there are experienced players who can educate and state the obvious.
    But honestly the golf community WANTS more people to play. We just need to find a better way to speed people up. No one wants to pay $60 to pick up after 2over on each hole, as pleasing as that would be for the majority of us. We have to remember that 4hrs a round is with the expectation that you are always in the fairway or never lose a ball. Lets be honest with ourselves, not all of us are at that point and we all had to start somewhere some time. It’s easy to look down from a position of experience, to tell the slow players they are holding everyone up. In doing so, we drive them away and lose potential growth for the game. If the game doesn’t grow, the number of courses we’ll have available to us ‘players’ is going to dwindle…
    Additionally, another way to help are the big companies who keep pumping out club after club each year or even as short as 6 months, flooding the market. Where they ought to invest their product is lessons. Lessons and more lessons with less equipment. If the lessons accompany the sales of equipment, then they will boost everything. They will boost player ability, longevity and value in equipment, and faster pace of play on course. This I believe to be the best solution. In the mean time, picking up after double bogey isn’t a bad idea for most.

    • B.S.

      Aug 2, 2016 at 2:49 am

      Won’t make a bit of difference.
      Played at 7am the other day on a muni in a 4some, 8 minute tee times.
      One guy in the group was a sprayer, looking for his ball on every hole. The other 3 including myself play fairly well. At first we were on pace. We all played by the rules, respectfully, in turn but ready to hit on time.
      Helping to look for that guy’s ball on every hole set us back almost 2 holes by the time we got to 13. Had to play catch up and finally the group started playing ready golf, skipped turns, moving forward, short-cutting, rushing. Never caught up. A normal 4-hour round took an extra 40 minutes.
      But we were respectful, friendly, cordial, helpful, fixing divots and ballmarks as we went and played golf as it should be played. 4:40 doesn’t seem so bad on a muni playing 6900 in such cases.
      But it might have slowed the day down behind us, which we all felt bad about. But the group behind us only waited on us on a couple holes, and on 18, when we finished, we didn’t see them behind us.

      • Someone

        Aug 4, 2016 at 8:20 am

        That’s good that you were helping the guy out. Lost balls are lost balls though. I don’t believe that it was much your fault than the courses tee time management. 8 minutes between tee times is a little tight. But ultimately, to keep pace with the courses scheduling, the guy really should have been picking up, or not playing the back tees. 6900 is long if you’re at sea level. Tee box selection is also a huge factor. Back tees are sometimes going over gorges, or going over 40yds of deep, thick brush starting at 100yds. For a sprayer, he should have been playing up and not the same tees as you guys. I guarantee you would have had a more enjoyable round. Tee box selection is key for players who can’t keep track of their ball. Usually the fairway opens up sooner to the closer tees and there is a better chance that the ball will stay in play/can be located. There are other factors, however, I am glad that you guys were good sports about it and helped the guy out. I probably would’ve started telling him it’s best to pick up, or to give up looking and just drop where one of you guys are, or to drop in a better lie than in the thick rough. The round would’ve been more enjoyable for everyone, he probably would’ve hit more nice shots had he not been focusing on the lost balls. Playing the long tees you guys probably had 3 holes that were 500yds or longer and this guy who sprays the ball playing the same hole. Tee it forward is what I would’ve told the guy so that everyone in the group would’ve had a better time. Also, ready golf would’ve been the way to go from the start. We’re not in any tournaments and when I play we agree at the beginning that we play ready golf or any other things such as playing different tees (I’ve played whites while the rest of the groupl played blues, i played better and they were struggling and I left the course happy while they were beating themselves up.) I haven’t run into anyone who objects to ready golf, ever. Only on the putting green have I ever really gone back to the furthest out goes first, but in the fairway, it’s almost always ready golf for the simple fact that no one likes to wait. That guy puts you in an awkward position as well, I mean you’re trying to be respectful to his disappointment in his bad shots probably, which is taking away from your ability to enjoy the round with the other guys or just talk or even just focus on your game. That’s his bad all his own, because he ought to know the type of player he is and what that imposes on a group in play. He ought to be playing a club that doesn’t spray as much, move up a tee, buy cheaper balls, and don’t try to take a full 5 minutes to look for a ball. With tee times 8 minutes apart, you’re talking 3 minutes left to play your second, approach/chip, and 2 putt. That’s completely unrealistic. And well, lets face it, a muni course, while some are good, are still muni courses. If they had more staff or even more money, they wouldn’t be trying to pump out tee times in 8min increments. They probably would’ve been closer to 10-12min, but those are the breaks.

  9. Leftienige

    Aug 1, 2016 at 3:31 am

    Hello Sizzle, I saw Shaun (Wisdom in Golf ) Clement using one of these , was that on your course ? Certainly might help fitness levels among older players as a side-effect .

  10. Dave

    Jul 31, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    How about looking at the cOarse set up . The super where I play must figure everyone playin his gem is a 0 to 2 hcp. Properly cut fairways would be nice no need for 10 yard wide fairways at the 230 yard area or 8 inches of rough wet from millions of gallons of water every night,has not rained for a month but water puddles you have to jump over so your feet don’t get wet. And pin placements who pissed this guy off get serious . Want slow play play where I play.

  11. Mark

    Jul 31, 2016 at 6:06 am

    I admire your enthusiasm but the modern player thinks sauntering rather than walking at a reasonable pace is how we play now. They all think 2-3 out of 10 is fast enough on their Powakaddy’s and need both a Bushnell and a Garmin to work out they are 280 from the green into a headwind and can’t reach. And Lord help you if you have the sheer temerity to remind them it is 5 minutes max to search for a lost ball, especially one wide enough to find the Elephant’s graveyard and DB Cooper…..The “quality” of our new members is dropping….more tattoos, more bad language etc and they have no idea of the tradition and lore of our wonderful game…

    • KK

      Jul 31, 2016 at 1:08 pm

      Tattoos are an indication of quality of player? Your quality of character is showing and clearly there is much to be desired.

    • joe

      Dec 26, 2016 at 10:04 am

      nice word salad, whatever it means

  12. Jerry Berry

    Jul 30, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    So what do you guys plan on doing with all this time you guys are saving? Go home sit on your butt and watch tv?

  13. KK

    Jul 30, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    I think playing any tees longer than the middle tees should require certification and proof when you tee off. Certification should be a mix of scoring ability and playing time over a certain number of rounds, similar to a handicap but with the time factor, granted by something like the USGA. Can’t hit the time and score, you simply don’t deserve to be playing back, plain and simple. If you have game and dedication, you get certified and get to carry around a spiffy “certified” flag in your bag the entire round and tee up wherever you please. This would weed out most of the posers and motive a lot of golfers to improve their game and speed up.

    • KK

      Jul 30, 2016 at 7:38 pm

      If you’re holding up the entire course for half the day, it doesn’t matter how flawless your etiquette is. You’re still ruining the round for everyone else.

      • KK

        Jul 31, 2016 at 1:05 pm

        I guess if every am, pro, commentator, industry exec and golf legend who dislikes slow play just handled the issue on the golf course, this would not be a problem, huh? You deserve a Nobel prize.

  14. Jim

    Jul 30, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    BRING BACK “EXECUTIVE GOLF COURSE”! Par 4 and Par 3 hole courses making a premium on accuracy over distance…

    • KK

      Jul 30, 2016 at 6:57 pm

      That would take billions of dollars and not be guaranteed to work.

  15. OH

    Jul 30, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Just a thought but you could require that during peak times all golfers play from one set of tees that shortens the course down to around 5800-6000 yards. The biggest waste of time I see at my club are guys who spray the ball all over the place and take forever searching for a ball. If you hit FW or Hybrid off the tee on Par 4/5’s then I think it’s more likely that golfers FIR % would increase and therefore speed up play.

  16. NatBallStriker

    Jul 30, 2016 at 5:36 am

    Glad I don’t have to deal with guys chasing me to play in under 4hrs as a foursome! I enjoy the walk, enjoy playing at a reasonable pace (4.5hrs) and when the course is fully packed out 4.5 keeps all groups within a swing of each other. When did the day come that an enjoyable Leisurely game of golf became a full on sprint to the finish! Note- you don’t get extra points for finishing fastest!

    • Bruce Gerhold

      Jul 30, 2016 at 2:16 pm

      100% agree.
      This is the better golfer wanting to prevent someone from improving.
      1. Most of the game is played on a 6″ course between your ears – Bobby Jones. Remove thinking time and you prevent the enjoyment of good scores.
      2. Nowhere in the “Rules of Golf” do they allow deduction of strokes for short playing time. The section on golf etiquette discusses pace of play, but no time. GOLF IS NOT A TIMED EVERNT.
      3. If pace of play were so important, then the PGA would use carts.
      I ride in a cart (orthopedic surgeon said ride or return for a knee replacement ) play in under 4 hours, but have no intention of eliminating thinking, hurrying shots simply because some self centered player thinks they own the course and set the rules. You can play through, no problem.
      What’s the problem? A golf course is generally a peaceful park like place – why the hurry to go home. Just what are you going to do after golf that is more enjoyable – sit and drink; fine then stay off the course,drink while you should be playing and the whole afternoon will be more enjoyable for you AND those playing.
      Take your speed golf elsewhere.

    • Scott

      Aug 1, 2016 at 12:49 pm

      4.5 hours is way too long. You should be considerate of the others on the course that don’t play the “hit and giggle” death marches that you are playing once a summer.

  17. Kaaaaaba

    Jul 29, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    Wot an eejit

    • Kb

      Jul 30, 2016 at 11:49 am

      You’d know, since you live there, that is your cave, where you hide, to make all these inane comments. Now we all know who you really are

  18. Kaaaaaba

    Jul 29, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    Barney barking up the wrong tree

    • KK

      Jul 30, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      Barney is a huge part of the problem. He has no clue about the ability of the average golfer and how to help improve playing time. “Let’s improve playing time by setting the golf of improving playing time!” As if most golfers are out here dragging their behinds intentionally. Get rid of two-player carts, mow rough, restrict access to longer tees and teach, teach, teach. That’s the real way to cut times.

      • KK

        Jul 30, 2016 at 7:57 pm

        I’m just going to say it: Playing time will not improve significantly until single-player carts are invented and implemented. Everything else may cut 10 or 20 minutes, solo carts will cut 30-60 minutes. That’s it. You don’t try to change human nature during golf, you use technology to increase efficiency and enhance human ability to play golf.

  19. Baaaaaka

    Jul 29, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    You’re so unintelligent and unfunny we’re glad you don’t understand golf or life at all

    • Loohooser

      Jul 29, 2016 at 7:39 pm

      Only slightly higher than a plankton you mean

      • Kaaaaaba

        Jul 29, 2016 at 9:44 pm

        That’s not possible. He’s already the highest.

  20. Kent F

    Jul 29, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    I say make courses a 3/6 course – a front 6, middle 6, and back 6. Not everyone wants to play 18 for various reasons. 6 Holes would be a fun round after work. This would definitely speed up the rounds, as you have different types of players dropping out of the course. Why make the guy that tires out at 12 play another 6, and probably an ugly 6 since he/she has lost interest. Other benefits beside speedier rounds would be the option of less expensive green fees, and as mentioned before, a round you can do after work before the sun goes down. Time to update this ole tradition game before it dies.

  21. talljohn777

    Jul 29, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    Almost nobody knows how to play ready golf. It drives me nuts.

  22. Gregory M Platupe

    Jul 29, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    What about courses stop sending groups off at 7 min interval. Go back to 10-15 mins, should help log jams caused by over packing course. Someone is gonna lose a ball and look for it. Once that happens , course will get backed up

    • James Bond

      Jul 29, 2016 at 2:29 pm

      That would help greatly at most courses, but they want more tee times for extra dollars. Problem is their repeat business goes down when it takes 5 hours to play their course! Also…TEE IT FORWARD should be a monitored practice off the front tees and by marshals.

  23. Archie Bunker

    Jul 29, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    How about paying greens fees by the hour? Pay after your round. That cheapskate in your foursome would move everybody along.

  24. birdy

    Jul 29, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Here’s an idea…

    Every golf cart equipped with a timer. A starter punches the clock after your tee shots on hole 1. the timer is set to 13 min 55 secs per hole. this is roughly just over 4 hour round. if you are on hole 2 and you fall behind your cart begins beeping. only way to shut it off is to skip ahead. if the group ahead of you is beeping your timer will recognize this and won’t beep. only the leading group who’s behind pace

    • Double Mocha Man

      Jul 29, 2016 at 2:16 pm

      As long as your damn beep doesn’t carry over the entore course.

  25. Scudder Graybeal

    Jul 29, 2016 at 11:32 am

    This only works at private clubs, and I tried to convince the club owner to implement it, but he wouldn’t because the culprits at the club, who played early and held up following groups, spent well in the pro shop and restaurant.

    The policy would be to set an appropriate time to finish a round. The FIRST group that didn’t finish in the allotted time could not get a tee time for a month before 2:00 PM. They would have to go to the back of the pack.

  26. Scudder Graybeal

    Jul 29, 2016 at 11:18 am

    Amen Barney. Here in The Villages the normal round takes about 4:15. IF people played ready golf they could play in 3:45. We’ve done it several times as long as we are the first group in the “wave”. Saving just two minutes a hole would get you there, but too many think they are entitled to take as long as they wish. Their reasoning is that they paid the greens fee and they are retired so why rush.

    Slow play is one of the many factors contributing to the decline of golfers which is ongoing.

  27. birdy

    Jul 29, 2016 at 11:06 am

    amateurs trying to play the postage stamp would take forever. time around the game chipping and putting is a killer when it comes to pace of play.

    want to speed up play, limit looking to lost balls during recreational handicapped rounds to 2 minutes, encourage ready golf on all shots even on the green putting, and get golfers to pick up when they’ve hit triple bogey.

  28. Mr. Wedge

    Jul 29, 2016 at 10:37 am

    If you can’t commit the time it takes to play a standard round of golf, then stay home or go do something else. Stop rushing the people who want to go out and enjoy themselves.

    • birdy

      Jul 29, 2016 at 11:10 am

      sorry, but playing in 4 hours isnt rushing anyone. stop ruining everyone else’s day by playing a 5 hour round because you want to ‘enjoy’ yourself. just because i ‘enjoy’ to ride a bike slowly in the middle of the road doesn’t mean every person in a car behind me should simply be forced to follow slowly. have some awareness of others around you.

      • Mr. Wedge

        Jul 29, 2016 at 11:16 am

        I don’t ever play a 5 hour round. Ever. I’m actually a pretty quick golfer and have played rounds in 4 hrs flat, and at the same time getting hit up on and screamed at by groups behind me. Probably people like yourself. Sorry but if you are looking to play 18 holes in 3 hours, try a simulator. Stop ruining my round that I paid for because you are impatient.

        • Scott

          Aug 1, 2016 at 12:55 pm

          4 hours flat is not quick. Hence, the issue.

  29. michael johnson

    Jul 29, 2016 at 6:34 am

    a 300 yard par 4 slows play down, because decent amateurs will have to wait for the green to be cleared, before hitting their tee shots. i routinely eagle holes like that.

    • John

      Aug 3, 2016 at 12:41 pm

      The bigger issue is the garbage am who sprays everywhere and only hits 10% FIR but always pulls driver remembering that one time he hit past the barber pole on a 450 (with the wind when the tees were moved up). He waits, sprays, seaches for (always more than) 5 minutes, drops, and chunks 2 shots before he ever gets to the green and everyone else’s day is now ruined.

  30. dapadre

    Jul 29, 2016 at 5:08 am

    First of the game was meant to be played 18 holes and this will take time, SIMPLE. But there are things that should be implemented to make it more appealing.

    Make honest courses that amateurs CAN play. Keep the lengths reasonable ( no need for 400 yd par 4s, 200 yd Par 3 over 500 par 5s)

    Enforce the playing tees ( ie only from HCP 10 and below at back tees).

    Stroke max, once you are over 5 strokes, pick up your ball.

    Regards

    • Brian

      Jul 29, 2016 at 10:24 am

      I’m over a 10 HDCP, but drive the ball 280-300…my pitching and chipping are a mess. I would be miserable playing from the white tees.

      • birdy

        Jul 29, 2016 at 11:13 am

        actually you wouldn’t because you might actually get more practice with your wedges. its laughable to find any 10 handicap that hits it 300 yds and thinks he needs to play back tees. if you hit it that far and are at a 10…move up and work on your short game.

      • Doug

        Jul 29, 2016 at 6:17 pm

        I carry a 9.5 index. I play from whatever tees are between 6000 and 6400. I get a kick out of those 18 hdcps who play from the back tees just because they can drive it 275 yards. (And then there are those who barely get it out there 200 yds, yet still insist on playing the back tees.) That is, unless I am stuck behind them. It seems they spend more time looking for lost balls than they do playing golf. What fun is that? And they never let you through, even when they clog up the course. If there is no ranger, you’re screwed and on your way to a 5-hour round.

        If you are a single digit handicap, drive it towards 300 yds and can keep the ball in play off the tee, then fine, absolutely, feel free to play the tips.

        I have a decent game overall, but I don’t have the distance to play the long tees. Why would I want to hit FW and hybrid approach shots, when instead, I can play from the proper tees, and hit more greens by using shorter clubs of which give me a better chance to hit my targets.

        And you big hot shots who think you should be playing from longer tees (but really shouldn’t), when you top that ball with your driver and it travels up over the white tees to the ladies tee box, your big, tough, manly credibility sinks much lower than if you did the same from the middle tees. And we all know, you WILL top one sooner or later.

    • birdy

      Jul 29, 2016 at 11:11 am

      there are different sets of tees for a reason. if you can’t handle 400 yd par 4’s move up a set of tees.

  31. John

    Jul 29, 2016 at 1:34 am

    I too have played in the UK, mostly Scotland, and one of the things they do is effective tee placement. Most of the courses that we played had no “back” tee. I mean, there was one, but the tee markers weren’t in place. So everyone played the white tees. I asked the pro at one course about this and he told me the back tees were reserved for competition play, i.e. tournaments. This creates, in effect, a mandated, tee it forward. Your basic American egomaniacal male golfer would never put up with this since he hits all of his drives 300 yards and the white tees would “restrict” his game, but it works. The pace of play over there is definitely faster. They also play a lot of match play, which also speeds things up. Beginners and casual players would really enjoy match play, and get people away from obsessing over their score.

  32. Big Mike

    Jul 28, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    Agree completely with the article. My group plays in 3 hours every Saturday. However, we are first off. On the other hand there is another course in the area where the norm is 5 hours. It’s a city owned course managed by Kemper Golf. The marshals are volunteers who work for free golf. They never hurry things along. Will early play that course unless we are first or second out.

  33. Mat

    Jul 28, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    Barney, you have to fight this battle differently. I know you’re going to say this is too radical, but there is one way to do this.

    Competitive golf must adopt the triple-bogey pickup.

    Why competitive golf? Here’s why…

    First, seeing a pro with a triple is basically a tourney killer. It just is, and it’s probably not going to change the outcome. When is the last time you saw someone with a quad-bogey win a tournament? It just won’t matter. It’s like the 88 rule… doesn’t apply often.

    Second, adopting the rule will allow it to be adopted by casual players. This means if a player doesn’t hole out by double, they pick up. That means no one is taking a sixth or seventh shot on a par-3. Thank goodness.

    Third, that adoption will speed play. Players will find it *acceptable* to pick up, and have a reference to how to score it.

    This will speed play. It has to. Ultimately, it’s large numbers that cause play to slow down, along with ball searches and excessive travel time of two-person carts. Instead of Arnold Palmer bitching about “While we’re young”, you could have him say “Pick it up.” And we’ll all be better for it.

    • AGF

      Jul 29, 2016 at 10:51 am

      GREAT idea: pick up after a triple bogey by RULE. The USGA should put this forth for comment and consideration — it makes sense for both competition and casual…

    • AB

      Jul 29, 2016 at 12:37 pm

      Actually Adam Scott won the Honda this year with a quad in the third round.

      • Mat

        Aug 10, 2016 at 12:46 am

        I said that, and I knew it had happened but couldn’t remember it. I still don’t think it would have a negative effect on tournament golf.

    • JJVas

      Jul 29, 2016 at 6:15 pm

      This is the best thing I’ve read on here in weeks. Golf was meant to be played MATCH play, not medal. Medal play is for TV. I think BY RULE that holes should be max double… basically like how I have to do my handicap. Secondly, there only needs to be one kind of “lost ball”. Every stake should be a stroke, plus a point-of-entry drop. All tours should do this… all USGA tourneys should do this as well. That way, all of the GolfWrx guys who are +7s and carry the ball 362 yards with an exotic 375cc driver would play that way as well. Way more fun… and much quicker. The highest score possible would be 108 on a Par 72 course.

      • John

        Aug 3, 2016 at 12:57 pm

        This very site has chastised people who pick up once they hit your HCP stroke limit and I’ve never understood it. If you carry a handicap, you should absolutely pick up, and if you don’t the course should be advising you to pick up your triple bogey. There is ZERO point carrying on with your 8th and 9th stroke.

        However, asking for this in USGA tournament play is fairly ridiculous. Scores matter for every single paycheck cut. In club tournaments, though, sure, since they only pay the top 3 or so. I’ve played in a league with 8-stroke caps and we never had an issue because nobody cared who finished 18th vs 19th. That matters on tour.

      • Mat

        Aug 10, 2016 at 12:58 am

        I’m ok with Max Double. I think Triple would be easier to remember and more effective. Think 8 or 10 on a Par 5… anyhow, I agree with you entirely on the lost ball; I’d even be OK if you had red stakes for 1 stroke and white stakes for instant max score if the boundary is an important one… (I’m thinking roads, residences, etc.)

        Needless to say, we are both of the opinion that the rulebook needs extensive simplification!

    • KK

      Jul 30, 2016 at 8:40 am

      The difference between 2nd and 5th is hundreds of thousands of dollars. How seriously would you take a 5% raise or a 10% bonus? Let’s not take the livelihood of others so lightly.

      • Mat

        Aug 10, 2016 at 12:53 am

        I’m not sure I understand. Yes, that stuff matters, but the fact that a triple pickup would be in play would be equal for all. I’m not sure what your statement about “2nd and 5th” means. Whatever “negative” outcome you’re concerned about here on the PGA would be vastly smaller than what a rule change would do positively to the Game.

        Most of the world casually plays Stableford or some sort of match game. It’s particularly in the US where stroke is so heavily played on weekends. While I don’t think we can get the PGA to play points, it’s clear the masses play how they see on TV. And on TV, that’s medal play. If we adjust that, we improve the game with little impact on the pro game.

  34. Nick

    Jul 28, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    I don’t believe that people need carts to speed play. I’m in my early 30s and certainly not an Adonis, but I can walk 9 in an hour and twenty minutes without rushing any shot. If other people in my group were playing ready golf, there is no reason why that should be extended by more than another 10-20 minutes. And if you hit a tee shot that is marginal, just hit a provisional at the tee rather than spending ten minutes looking for a ball.

    Golf takes too long because players take too long to make decisions. Standing over a putt for more than a few seconds isn’t going to give the casual player a significantly better idea of how it breaks. There is no need to constantly plumb-bob and step off like Jim Furyk, and you don’t need to take five practice swings before each real one.

    Courses should always encourage fast play, because it is in their best interest to move players through at an orderly pace, as they can get more rounds in.

    I would also prefer the Tour employ a 30 second shot clock that players can violate one time per round without penalty, thereafter penalized by one shot for every infraction.

  35. Jesse

    Jul 28, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    How many people have ever witnessed a course take action against slow play? I play at a local muni, a very nice one, that has hosted some big USGA events, and most the time and the Marshalls do nothing to enforce standards. I actually had one come up to me and said sory for the slow play and then did nothing to the group that was 2 holes behind! Until courses are willing to kick people off the course, hold them back and let groups through, or out right ban them from the course for being a jack hole, what difference does it make.

    The courses are business to make money, I know the game is not as big as it once was, but I still don’t see a decrease in participation around me. I truely feel most courses don’t care about pace of play, because if they did they would actually do something about it. But a full tee sheet pays more then an enjoyable round.

  36. FlyPhish

    Jul 28, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    I will do my part for the movement. There is ZERO reason for a round to take over 4 hours. Most rounds I play with a foursome walking are right at 3:00.

    I don’t want to hear about your “layout”. Speed up, snails.

    • KK

      Jul 28, 2016 at 9:26 pm

      You guys are full of it. I do 18 in 2:15 – 2:30 as a single with a cart shooting 80s and averaging 240-260 off the tee. Most golfers shoot 100 and average 215 off the tee. No way you can expect them to play any faster than 4 hrs as a foursome. You are the reason golf is dying: you lie about trying to help the game just to stroke your pathetic egos.

    • birdy

      Jul 29, 2016 at 11:16 am

      a foursome walking isn’t going to play in 3 hours unless you’re giving very generous gimmes and are playing scratch. sorry i’m all for increased pace fo play, but you’re ridiculous

      • Stretch

        Aug 3, 2016 at 12:59 pm

        I know of a club that has 15 and higher handicaps playing in 3 hours with out giving putts. They play instead of yakking and are always playing ready golf.

  37. KK

    Jul 28, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    I disagree. Even when my friends and I play at our own efficient pace, it still takes 4ish hours to finish a round. Just trying to play faster doesn’t add to the game. The main bottleneck, IMO, is the 2 player golf cart. Put every golfer on an individual motorized device and you automatically cut play times by 30 to 60 minutes and improve scores. Another problem is the restricted tee options. Most women and children don’t have a tee where they can shoot 90s. Last issue IMO is rough that’s too tall. It’s insane to hit a ball 2 ft off the fairway and then have to search for 5 minutes because the rough is half a foot tall.

    • Mat

      Jul 28, 2016 at 10:26 pm

      Nailing it. It’s like telling someone “you have to get through the check out line at the grocery in 4 minutes, and don’t bitch about the line having 3 people including that one lady with the checkbook.”

      Golf isn’t a race, but slow play is based around the fallacy that carts are faster. They’re not. Individual transport is the only way you can truly speed up the game. Enforcing easy tee boxes, and enforcing a system of double-bogey pickup is the only way play can speed up.

      Golf as a sport is hurt *MOST* by the idea that every stroke counts.

    • ffs

      Jul 29, 2016 at 2:50 am

      Yup. 4somes every 8 minutes per hour cannot be done in less than 4 hours if all tee slots are filled on a moderate, normal golf course at 6800 or more, even if the players are decent enough to not play all the way back all the time. What happens when there is a group of 4 that has 1 play from the back, 1 from the middle tee, 1 from the next one and another from a ladies? I see it all the time at munis all across the country. Nobody is going to tell them to split up, and they won’t listen, especially when the rules don’t say they can’t play as a family or friends who booked their tee times this way.

      • Joshuaplaysgolf

        Jul 29, 2016 at 4:50 pm

        How is playing from different tees slowing down play? I play from the tips (I’m a +2.9) and play with people who play from the forward tees all the time. Usually they go up and hit when it’s clear for them, I tee off when it’s clear for me. Anyone playing from the tips should be able to tee off with people in front of them, off to the side, without any danger of hitting them. If they are in play for you, you’re playing from the wrong tees.

        • ffs

          Jul 30, 2016 at 3:00 am

          Because, if the 4 comes are in carts and the tees are lined up so as stray shots could potentially hit the person in front, the white tee and red tee player have to wait till the back tee players are done, and THEN finally they can move the carts, get out and get ready for their own shots. Try repeating that all day. Not everybody are savvy nor good enough in preparation to be ready to hit nor agile enough to get and move around quickly, they may be elderly too. And when you have even a few groups like the spread out in an hour and then throughout the day, what do you think’s going to happen? Especially when letting the group from behind you won’t do anything as there is no where to go because it’s jammed up ahead anyways.

          • Joshuaplaysgolf

            Jul 30, 2016 at 11:02 am

            I won’t argue with you that most people are too lazy to get out of their dang carts, and, God forbid, walk 20 yards to their tee. Just park the cart by the middle/front tee and have the player playing from the back walk, yes WALK, to their box. (Clearly, you’ll rarely find me in a golf cart). Again, if you are playing from the tips and someone 30 yards off to the right 30-50 yards in front of your box is in play, you’re playing from the wrong tees. The errant players who are hitting from the whites tee off, the women’s them go up and tee off, then the player from the tips. I practice it all the time, it works fine and is quicker than everyone waiting for the back player to be able to hit, then pulling up for the rest of the group to tee off. Plus it keeps a rhythm for the other players.

  38. Rwj

    Jul 28, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    Perhaps to speed up play we help the average golfer get better. O, the only way the tv tells players to get better is seeing their local pro. Then the teacher charges $60-$100 per hour. They want to help grow the game so much they charge surgeon prices. It’s all a business

    • KK

      Jul 28, 2016 at 7:46 pm

      You complain but offer no alternative. You, sir, are part of mankind’s blight.

    • Roddy

      Jul 29, 2016 at 1:35 am

      I disagree. You DO NOT have to be a good golfer to play quickly. I see it all the time. A lot of the poorer players I know are quicker than most. I played last night and watched a course ranger tell a group they were to slow and to catch up to the game in front. One of the guys in the group then proceeded to slowly wander down the fairway even though he had just been asked to speed up.
      I know some people take the view that they’ve paid their money so they’re going to take their time and enjoy it, but you have to remember there is a whole golf course of people behind you who have also paid money and would like to enjoy it without being held up the whole way round.

    • birdy

      Jul 29, 2016 at 11:28 am

      why don’t you become really good at golf, then as your profession teach others to play. then book 4 or 5 one hour lessons per day and charge 20 bucks an hour.

      the great thing about the free market and owning a buisness is you can charge whatever the heck you want and if people pay it that means its worth it.

      i should’ve just said the price should be set at whatever people are willing to pay…as with anything

  39. john

    Jul 28, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    sprinting inbetween shots because you can’t manage your time well enough to set aside 4 hrs 15 minutes to play a round of golf does NOT sound like fun, in fact it sounds less fun. You guys just don’t get it, the millenials don’t have a problem with golf taking 4 hours or 5 hours or 6 hours, they have a problem with it taking more than 2 hours. The half hour you bang on about makes zero difference to golf participation.

  40. Kevin Bostwick

    Jul 28, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    Part of the problem is that a lot of the local courses around me, Southern California, dont have marshals or anyone out there attempting to speed up play. They only come out when someone calls the clubhouse. Not to mention, trying to stack too many tee times to bring in the dough. I have seen courses try and only do 2 to 3 minute gaps and that never works. My other gripe is having a par 3 as your second or hole. There is always a backup when a course is setup like that. Do a short par 4 and then a par 5 or something. Let the course open up a little bit before having two or three par 3s within 3 holes.

  41. aY

    Jul 28, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    At least they’re somewhat more intelligent than the amoeba that youse are

    • ffs

      Jul 29, 2016 at 2:52 am

      At least the man doesn’t have an angry inch like you Smizz

      • Kb

        Jul 30, 2016 at 11:50 am

        I think you measured that wrong, you mean 8.5mm.

  42. Shallowface

    Jul 28, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    If we all played in twosomes instead of foursomes, we’d all get finished sooner.
    The biggest waste of time in the game is having to watch three other people play.

    • Ckilmer

      Jul 28, 2016 at 7:09 pm

      Twosomes actually slow the play down. All twosomes should be made to pair up. That will lead to faster play.

      • Shallowface

        Jul 30, 2016 at 3:29 am

        Twosomes take three hours to play. Foursomes take four hours plus. How is three hours slower than four? You probably work in the golf business.
        Speaking of the golf business, it needs to accept that the days of full tee sheets solidly booked with foursomes from daylight to dark ain’t comin’ back never no how, unless the technology is developed that enables golf courses to be air conditioned.

  43. Joshuaplaysgolf

    Jul 28, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Shortening the course is a novel idea, but people grossly over-estimate how far they hit the ball. If there are a bunch of 300ish yard par 4’s, there will be so many people who mad their drives out at 200 yards waiting for the green to clear…’just in case’. I watch people wait for the group ahead of them to get 350-400 yards out before teeing off, only to barely get it past the tee markers. Of course, you NEVER hit up on a group, but you have to put your ego away and know your limits. I see this idea having an opposite effect. My home course has been really focused on pace of play, most rounds are about 4 hours…until the starter no shows and the round takes 5 1/2+ hours and the regulars (myself included) walk off the course in frustration. I REALLY struggle to play well when I’m waiting around a lot, I think we all do. The idea of getting the locals together to commit to shorter rounds is a good idea, but I’m pessimistic on shortening courses being a solution, unless you can check people’s egos simultaneously.

    • DD

      Jul 28, 2016 at 6:46 pm

      I dont think waiting for a hole to clear actually slows down play, because on the next shot, the hole is clear – there would be no waiting. Slow play in my opinion comes from players doting on other players, and not being ready to hit their own ball when it’s their own turn. Things like what you’ve described tend to even themselves out.

      • Joshuaplaysgolf

        Jul 29, 2016 at 12:58 pm

        Well, let’s do the math. Assume it takes 15 minutes from teeing off to putting out. Assuming you get on the tee shortly after the group in front of you tees off, which is pretty typical, your standing there for at least 10 minutes, then playing a 15 minute hole. That’s 25 minutes a hole. Every short par 4 Ive ever played has a back-log on the tee. This is why you see players on tour waving the group on the tee to tee off while the group in front is still on the green on short par 4s, in an effort to keep things moving.

  44. JThunder

    Jul 28, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Another option: all golf requires a Caddy. I was recently at Whistling Straits, and the caddies are charged with keeping pace. I believe they are penalized in some way for not doing so – it is certainly kept track of.

    I wonder how much it would cost to add one forecaddie per group, to do usual forecaddie duties plus push pace. You’re in luck: Millennials are grossly under-employed (waiting for the trickle-down… waiting… waiting…), so here’s a new career for them! Cost divided between a foursome, just might work.

  45. JThunder

    Jul 28, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    If you REALLY want to speed up play:
    1. courses that are designed and maintained to encourage and assist it (distance between holes, “lost ball” areas mowed or turned OB or hazard, smart “ball drops”, etc)
    2. ALL golf courses to add *the same* pace of play guidelines to their scorecards, golf carts, and tee boxes. Fair but strict policies on failure to keep up.
    3. Well-trained and courteous Starters on the 1st hole ALL THE TIME, who will without exception explain pace of play to every group, the expectations and penalties (“if you don’t keep up, we will ask you to move ahead”) ((by the way, might see a drop in “premium” ball sales if searches are strictly limited))
    4. Well-trained and courteous Rangers – at least one per 9 holes – who constantly and consistently monitors pace of play AND is sure to find the actual culprits of slow instead of hounding the victims (which undermines the whole problem).
    5. Well-trained and courteous Cart-workers and halfway-house folks who are apprised of and intent on keeping and promoting pace of play – knowing when and where to offer drinks, having food ready to go, etc. ((By the way, faster rounds probably mean less beverage and food sales…))
    6. Where possible, use of GPS to monitor pace carefully, and if possible, communication systems on carts – or use of texting?

    Improving pace of play in a smart and inclusive way IS possible, in the long-run, BUT it absolutely WILL REQUIRE a continued investment from golf courses to have larger and better-trained staff to do so.

    IN OTHER WORDS – the underlying issue here is the same as it is everywhere else: the people making the big money need to suck it up and hire more people below them to run the business properly. This probably means courses will pay Big Shot Architects like Nicklaus a LOT LESS for designing their courses. Suck it up. And probably equipment prices have to come down by 25-50%, as the price of rounds likely goes up to pay for the extra service element.

    • danmcco

      Jul 29, 2016 at 1:44 pm

      Great ideas — texting warnings to group holding up the process (and to the marshall) will make it easier for the marshall to take action.

  46. JThunder

    Jul 28, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    The obsession with slow play – like the obsession with “rolling back the golf ball” – is overplayed and badly misguided.

    First, if like the almighty demi-god Nicklaus, you’re concerned with “participation” (ie, more money for architects, etc), then realize slow play is hardly the issue. When people say “I don’t have the time” or “it takes too long”, they DON’T MEAN it would be fine if it were 3:45, but absolutely not 5:00. If you’re under that impression, get a grip. What they mean is, they can’t find time in their overworked schedules (40 hour work weeks are more like 50-60 for most middle class now) to get 4 people together, agree on a time and place, and make it happen. And maybe they won’t as readily admit, CASH IS TIGHT as well. (Still waiting on the “trickle-down”, hahaha.)

    Second, the concern for a super-fast round is limited to the more avid, serious and low-handicap golfers (the obsessives on Golfwrx, myself included, for example). Golfers who need a “rhythm” and “lose their momentum”… The “average” golfer (the other 90%, especially the weekender) is less concerned with this – waits on the tee box allow time to refill the beer cooler, tell stories, text, make calls, etc. This golfer might actually *prefer* longer rounds, since this is the only chance in a week he gets away from the wife, kids, boss, etc. Also, the more average the player – one assumes – the more shots being hit, the more balls being searched for, probably LOTS of extra short game time.

    I think perfect pace is under or around 4 hours, and think most – though likely not all – courses can be played in this amount of time, GIVEN some very specific ideas on keeping it moving (OB, hazards, lost balls, ready golf, cart etiquette, etc, etc). AND some very specific ideas on tee time gapping, starters and rangers having a clue… These ideas would take years to disseminate and implement well.

    But for the information of those pushing pace of play to increase golf “participation” and revenue (Barney, Jack, etc): PLEASE BEWARE: YOU WILL *NOT* INCREASE PARTICIPATION OR REVENUE BY HERDING PLAYERS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE THROUGH YOUR GOLF COURSES, FORCING THEM TO SKIP HOLES, PUTTING THEM ON A CLOCK AND HAVING RANGERS AND SPOTTERS HARASS THEM. I **absolutely** guarantee you, you will drive “average” players and weekenders AWAY FROM THE GAME IN DROVES.

    Now if that’s the goal, to thin the herd, make golf “elite” again, and keep courses less crowded and faster for the avid player – then pushing fast play might be a great idea. You could outlaw mulligans too! If the starter sees a “breakfast ball” – banishment! Given the agendas behind the USGA and corporate golf world – I assume this ISN’T the idea. I imagine it would make golf a lot more expensive, and hurt most of the companies it purports to assist.

    • Jay

      Jul 28, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      Think you have to ask the question – what % of revenue comes from the average/weekender vs the avid. Is it worth herding the average/weekender if they only account for 20% of the revenue to keep the avid (and 80% of the revenue) happy, and perhaps playing more?? Likewise, if the Avid only accounts for 40% of the revenue, then maybe they should accommodate the 60%??

    • KK

      Jul 28, 2016 at 7:58 pm

      The obsession with one’s own ramblings– definitely misguided.

    • David

      Jul 29, 2016 at 10:51 am

      Your comments aren’t without merit but the problem is still a problem. You don’t need to harass the weekend warriors you need to have constant education. Having marshals out talking to groups that are slowing everyone down is important to everyone. Playing golf isn’t just about yourself, consideration for others is lacking in all aspects of our lives but maybe something can be done on your local course.

      Our group had a very discouraging round weeks ago where the group in front of us, two dads with two young sons, were clueless about golf etiquette. They were clearly out of position by two holes and this was on the 5th hole. They refused to acknowledge us or let us through. Finally the marshal told them to and when we went through their attitude was obnoxious and downright mean. Here was the perfect opportunity to teach their sons the proper way to play but instead they went over to the dark side.

      I play with a lot of strangers and I see a ton of zero education on common sense etiquette. I’m always telling our group we keep up with the group in front of us not in front of the group behind us.

  47. Mitch Young

    Jul 28, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Let’s get a few thing out of the way.

    1 – Poor golfers are not slow golfers, my buddies are 40+ hdcp and we play 6800 yard courses, under 4 hours easily. We play ready golf and use common sense, we help each other look for balls, give each other yardages. carry an extra ball and tee in our pocket. plus we are putting out 95% or our putts and we still catch up to every group in front of us. oh and we take mulligans as well.

    2 – the only way to make people pick up their pace is creating a Wall of Shame. Every player that plays a round has to register with the course, take a picture, and agree that if they play golf in 4.5 hours their picture gets put on the internet.

  48. Mark Walgren

    Jul 28, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    I don’t even play on a weekend anymore. We only play first thing in the morning on a week day. We get a round done in 2 hours and 45 mins or 3 hours… I won’t step foot on a golf course on a weekend. The starters are horrible, the courses are packed… it’s not fun playing golf in 5 hours

    • Brian

      Jul 29, 2016 at 1:46 am

      I don’t know why I bother with your comments any more, but every response from you is a slight at someone’s socioeconomic status, and it’s painful to see go unchecked.

      What if the OP is like me, a freelancer, who has time during the week when they’re not working? Or someone who works the second/third shift? What system are we milking? The one where we’re gainfully employed but don’t work a traditional 9-5?

  49. EagleM.

    Jul 28, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    I hope busy courses will provide/enforce time-limit for each holes. Say if hole #5 is to be played in 15 mins – just pick up the balls after 15 mins. I’m not saying there should be a ranger enforcing at every holes, but it will be great to have a guideline and enforce such time to time.

  50. George

    Jul 28, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    one issue is people think they are better than they really are. Many people dont count shots from the tee that go OB. They will hit 3 drives and take about 3 shots to get to the green and somehow get a double bogey. So people are writing down lower scores and think they are better resulting in a ego boost. I have a couple playing partners I cant stand playing with but still do cause they are good friends. And wow they just keep lying about their scores. They slow down play. Also courses need to not make the rough as thick. It will help with finding the ball. I mean hitting into the rough is normal there is no way around it. If I hit 3-5 feet into the rough and cant find my ball it ruins the entire hole for me. Some of these roughs are never mowed and you have to be on top of your ball to even find it

  51. Jsabatke

    Jul 28, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    A coupe, years ago I was at a birthday party that happened To be across the street from a tee on a local course. Now I play fast, maybe too fast, but what I saw was the thing that made me give up golf for years. I watched while a guy took 20-30 practice swings. Then he hit the ball, about 5 feet. Then another 20-30 practice swings … another couple of feet. Another 20-30 swings, then duffed it again. This continued for as long as I could stand to watch. I felt the old anxiety and frustration of 7 hour rounds returning. I’ve had it with marshals screaming at everyone to play faster, while ignoring these guys. I got sick of marshals screaming to hurry up,and tee off when the group in from was 180 yards ahead on a driver hole. As long as people feel they’ve rented the course for all day hacking, and marshals have no clue about who is slowing play, golf will continue to be a painful grind.

    • KK

      Jul 28, 2016 at 8:03 pm

      I’ve never gotten hurried and not deserved it. I’m sure the marshals who’ve told you to hurry up had just cause. If you choose to disregard it, you’re worse than the 30 swing duffers you despise.

  52. Tom

    Jul 28, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    But with Taylormade’s new M2 irons, can’t everyone hit every green in one shot?

    On a serious note, you wanna play fast, make an early tee time. I like playing fast, so I make sure I’m on the sheet before 8-8:30 in the morning. If courses wanna make that a mandatory thing, as in sub 3.5 hr rounds before a certain time, I think that’s a fine idea. Honestly, it’s kind of a selfish attitude to have to think to yourself “I know it will take about 4 hours to play this course, but I want it to be faster, so people better change everything they’re doing so I can get out of here 30 min sooner today”.

    People also need to be able to learn the game. Make it a point in teaching new golfers that they need to let people play through. But, it’s not any fun to learn to play when you have a marshal yapping at you. Not a great way to welcome new members into the game we love, is it?

    Design courses to be played faster. There’s a course near me that has at least a 1/4 mile distance between 3-4 tee boxes on the course, even holes that are closer together seldom have tee box within 50 yards of a green.

    No more white stakes. Play every OB as red, that way people aren’t hitting three tee shots.

    No more mixed drinks on the beverage cart. Alcohol slows things down as it is, and making a mixed drink takes more time. Also, because this game clearly isn’t about getting out enjoying the day on the golf course any more, why be able to have a nice drink out there?

    By the way, if you play 18 holes in 3 hrs, it doesn’t add an inch to anything..

    Consideration needs to be used by both sides. 4.5-5 hrs is unacceptable to me as well, but forcing people to play faster, just because others want to, isn’t right either. You know what times of day will be busy just like I know I won’t be able to go 80 mph on my way home from work every day. Make it known that if you tee off before 9, you better play fast.

    • Stretch

      Aug 3, 2016 at 1:35 pm

      At the course I marshal at there are often early bird players who cannot play under 4 hours because they hit the ball so short that the start of the fairways are not reachable. 4 1/2 hours for the third or fourth group off mean constant complaints from other groups the rest of the day. Courses need to have a teacher for the poorer golfers who can teach a simple swing for the cost of a large bucket of balls. Part of the instruction would be to show them how to play ready golf and not to overthink the shot at hand.

  53. Rev G

    Jul 28, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Totally agree with many of the above comments. To me the problems with slow play are caused by many different factors – inconsiderate people is a big one – but lets face it, these people will never change – these are the same people THAT DRIVE SLOW IN THE LEFT LANE. but, making courses easier and more accessible is something that could easily be fixed.

    In MI, we have a lot of 80 year or older (former private courses or traditional public) that are easily walked in less than four hours, by anyone, because: they’re 6400 to 5800 yards from the main tees, distances from greens to tees are short, there isn’t numerous water hazards or forced carries – just fun, straight-forward, quick golf. And the sad thing (not for me, but for course owners) no one is playing them.

    Instead everyone goes and plays the newer, over-priced courses where you can’t walk because there’s 1000 yard hikes between holes. Theses courses are too hard, have too many hazards and huge boring greeens. And they take 5 hours to play, because of all these factors. I actually played a course the other day with CURBS ON THE CART PATHS where you couldn’t get within 40 YARDS OF THE TEES OR 80 YARDS OF THE GREENS WITH THE CART THAT YOU HAVE TO USE.

    Give me Donald Ross not Arthur Hills

  54. ooffa

    Jul 28, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Barney, leave it alone already. Find another topic to harp on. Your a broken record.

  55. Mike

    Jul 28, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Golf has always been on the honor systems. It’s one of the rare sports that you see the p[layer call a penalty on himself. With that said I believe the golfer’s egos get in the way of pace of play. They are not honest with themselves, their playing partners or the course they are playing. In recent weeks I was behind a group playing from the back tees that on a couple of the holes couldn’t hit their drive long enough to clear the forced carry to the fairway. They were guest at the club and it goes without saying that it is the responsibility of the member to make sure the guest are playing from a tee box representative of the guest’s skill level. Do the guest and everyone else a favor move them up make the round more enjoyable and finish in a reasonable amount of time. Five hour rounds are no fun for anyone.

  56. acemandrake

    Jul 28, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    9-holes walking.

    Easy to schedule, can be played leisurely and you get the health benefit of walking 2-3 miles.

    Don’t let tradition cause frustration.

  57. DD

    Jul 28, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    I do. We’ll be at 50 comments in no time!

    • Wang

      Jul 28, 2016 at 5:29 pm

      I can break 80 for 9 every time – that’s minutes plus strokes < 80

  58. Kirk

    Jul 28, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    I get it, but I don’t think this is necessarily the best place to start. Courses need the players who take longer to play to feel welcomed to come out and play. I didn’t read all comments, but the poster here who suggested closing the back two tees is definitely correct. Also, I do enjoy the challenge of playing a course when they have the rough grown out substantially, but a couple of local courses I hit every once in a while on weekday evenings cut the rough down so it is little more than slightly unpredictable how the ball will come out (flyer, a little dead, but certainly not a huge penalty). I enjoy that bit of friendliness when I am just trying to get some holes in before the sun goes down.

    And to Rob above, I couldn’t agree more with the push cart idea. Unfortunately, especially in the midwest, we have some seriously fat f*****s who break a sweat and turn purple even thinking about walking a round of golf. Even some of my friends who are younger and relatively fit scoff at me when I suggest we walk a round. It is a shame.

  59. Haber

    Jul 28, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    This is why I get the earliest tee time possible. 3 hour rounds with no hold ups. Hate watching as someone tees off from the golds and proceeds to hosel shank his $800 M1.

  60. M-Herd4

    Jul 28, 2016 at 11:47 am

    I completely disagree with this logic. People are becoming so obsessed with pace of play and playing speed rounds of golf that it’s ruining the enjoyment of the game for others. I’m certainly not saying that I’m in favor of slow play by any means, but my wife and I are members at a fairly difficult golf course that hosts a Champions Tour event every year and some members have taken fast play to the extreme where you feel like you can’t even take a little time to find a ball that ends up hidden in the rough. Why do so many people who enjoy playing the game and spend quite a bit of money doing it want to fly around the golf course in some predetermined time they have set in their head?

    • john

      Jul 28, 2016 at 11:58 am

      A great way to word it, fantastic point.

    • Scandinavian hacker

      Jul 28, 2016 at 12:44 pm

      I personally like to drive 10 mph on single file roads. I have an expensive car, and I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to spend as much time in the traffic as possible.

      On a more serious note, I’ve played three-hour rounds walking with 130-shooters. It’s about being ready to hit the ball when the the opportunity arises.

      • EagleM.

        Jul 28, 2016 at 3:00 pm

        Exactly! When I first played golf, I was shooting 120-130. Still, I most of the time finished the round under 4 to 4.5 hours when there was no traffic because I just dropped the ball and hit it when it was my turn. Also, knowing when to give a hole helps.

      • M-Herd4

        Jul 28, 2016 at 3:32 pm

        Aaah, a sarcastic comparison between playing what’s supposed to be a fun “relaxing” game to driving a car and spending time in traffic. Very witty…

    • Mike

      Jul 28, 2016 at 4:52 pm

      Man I hope I never run into you and your wife. You sound like you’re slowing EVERYONE down and not even realizing that you’re the problem.

      • M-Herd4

        Jul 28, 2016 at 5:04 pm

        Can’t just comment or give your opinion on the article, have to take personal shots at a complete stranger. Well done.

  61. BigDoc

    Jul 28, 2016 at 11:43 am

    Did the author just get back from Scotland? I did, and 3:45 is the exact number they desire for a four ball over there. It’s even printed on most scorecards in big letters. “”A fourball should take no more than 3:45.” And that is walking.

    It helps that the courses are shorter and most holes are designed with the next tee in close proximity to the green. Here in the US, we spread out in our carts with coolers and cigars and generally take longer to play. In Scotland, you just move along. I found it refreshing.

  62. BSGolf

    Jul 28, 2016 at 11:32 am

    3 hours and 45 minutes or 4 1/2 hours who cares at that point…you’re outside playing golf…who cares

  63. D

    Jul 28, 2016 at 11:25 am

    Oh geez Barney, not this again.
    Would you like to repeal the ball?
    Would you like to make the courses shorter? Say, 6500 MAX?
    3:45? You’re dreaming!

    • david

      Jul 28, 2016 at 3:31 pm

      Out here
      in the desert there is a nice club and all rounds take under the 3:45 mark. its a nice pace and very enjoyable.

      • aY

        Jul 28, 2016 at 6:20 pm

        Desert? Oh yeah? Try walking in that 110 heat without an umbrella.
        The whole discussion needs to be whether any player can WALK the course in 3:45, not be a lazy lard and ride

  64. Jamie

    Jul 28, 2016 at 11:23 am

    Great idea, but some people are just slow at everything they do – eating, working, getting ready, golf etc. it drives me nuts but they know no other way.

  65. Rob

    Jul 28, 2016 at 11:20 am

    There are two major culprits that slow down pace of play. #1 – Power carts. Most courses have a cart path only rule or a 90° rule and almost 100% of the time the two guys that share a cart are spraying it off to different sides of the course resulting in a lot of “east/west” travel time. At least an hour per round could be saved by replacing power carts with push/pull carts. #2 – Play around the greens. Play ready golf regardless of “who is away.” When its your turn to go be ready, go through the pre-shot routine while somebody else is hitting, and be ready to hit your shot right away.

    Other minor culprits: looking for lost balls – don’t even look – just drop one and keep moving. If you hit to a semi-blind area and aren’t sure, hit a provisional. Roving beer carts – nothing worse than a cart girl pulling up as a group is right in the middle of the hole or right as they approach a green. Put drink/snack stations on holes 4/9/13 with cash or account purchases only. Play-through etiquette – if you or your group are playing slowly, let groups play through and allow groups to “hit-up” on par threes. Novice golfers – know your maximum hole score based on your course handicap and pick up your ball once that score is reached.

  66. JustTrying2BAwesome

    Jul 28, 2016 at 11:07 am

    I certainly agree in theory, but simply suggesting a time (that will seem arbitrary to some and meaningless to others) and a movement to encourage the time doesn’t change anything. How many of us have stood there and watched as a slow foursome stands on the tee box with an open fairway just talking and laughing?? Or a guy walking around in the weeds for 5 minutes looking for his Top Flite?? Putting a sign up saying 3:45 will be meaningless to those people.

    What needs to happen is addressing the causes of slow play.

    Always be ready to hit; don’t take a million practice swings then stand over the ball for 15 seconds; 30 seconds MAXIMUM looking for a lost ball – walk or ride along your line and if you don’t see it by the time you get to around the distance it went out, take a drop and move on; don’t take 30 seconds to line up a putt and read every side – 30 seconds maximum from the time the other player’s ball drops in the hole to you hitting your putt.

    • satch_boogie

      Jul 28, 2016 at 12:20 pm

      I like those ideas. Instead of a ‘3:45’ initiative, a ‘ready golf’ initiative might be better framing and easier to police.

  67. DaveyD

    Jul 28, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Great idea, but it’s going to take a long time to get it going. Those golfers that spend 15 minutes looking for a shanked ball need to get on board.

  68. EagleM.

    Jul 28, 2016 at 10:58 am

    I like 3:45 idea a LOT!!

  69. larrybud

    Jul 28, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Just nonsense of having an absolute time without regard to the course layout, difficulty, or spacing between holes. Amazing that someone like Adams would even push for such a thing.

    You want to speed up play? Follow Bill Yate’s pace of play guidelines

    https://www.ngcoa1.org/images/ngcoa/Pace_of_Play.pdf

  70. Wildcatward

    Jul 28, 2016 at 10:29 am

    To make it around in 3h 45m would need the courses help to expand the tee times to 12-15 min gaps rather than the standard 8 min here in South Jersey…and the courses would never do that bc they would lose too much money.

  71. leon

    Jul 28, 2016 at 10:21 am

    The course management can just move the “Blue Tee” (marked as 6500 yards on the card) forward to an actual “White Tee” locations (playing length 6000 yards) and leave the pride of golfers untouched. Therefore, it will be easier to play and still make the guys feel man up

  72. Nolanski

    Jul 28, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Absolutely. I was playing 9 holes twilight at municipal course the other night and me and another buddy were flying though. On pace for 75 minutes until we ran into a logjam last 3 holes. Took 1 hour to play 2 holes and we just left while waiting on the 9th hole tee box…

  73. gwillis7

    Jul 28, 2016 at 10:16 am

    YES. I play better when pace is quicker and maybe it is just my generation but anything over 5 hours gets a little old

  74. Scott Shields

    Jul 28, 2016 at 10:14 am

    Slow golf is never going away until there is a ‘reason’ for some folks to speed up.

    The WRX community at large isn’t the problem, as I’m sure we’re a small percentage of the golf population.

    But until you solve the “I paid my money, and I’ll play how I want” problem, then its not going away.

    I had always been a fan of a ‘pace based’ deposit, where you would be eligible for a % coupon discount ON YOUR NEXT round at that course, based on your percentage finish, maybe cap it at 25% or something reasonable, and obviously, pro-rate based on number of golfers in your group…either way, a reasonable tiered system could be developed and it would REWARD quick play, and bring folks back.

    I don’t see the problem with that.

    • second this

      Jul 28, 2016 at 10:45 am

      This exact thought popped into my mind as a way to incentivize golfers to either get the round done in time or walk off to get their coupon. But then do regular rates increase to offset the discount?

    • JimmyJam

      Jul 28, 2016 at 12:40 pm

      It’s a decent idea, but hard to regulate and enforce. How do you prove that you finished in under 4 hours? Honor system? Golf courses need every penny they can get, no way they give discounts. Why give one guy a discount if they can change the next dude full price?

      Likewise the other ‘reason’ no one will speed up is that there is no punishment for slow play. Literally nothing, i’ve played numerous 5 hour rounds where my group did not keep pace with the group ahead and no one has ever said anything. The fear of pissing off paying customers is probably too much for the marshals/mgmt to handle.

      • second this

        Jul 28, 2016 at 4:01 pm

        receipt w/ the tee time on it? To redeem go straight from the 18th green to the starter/pro-shop to get coupon? Then hit the 19th hole to settle those big bets

        • Mr. Wedge

          Jul 29, 2016 at 11:18 am

          Sounds good in theory, not realistic.

          • Bogart

            Jul 29, 2016 at 3:46 pm

            Works here:
            http://www.waverlywoods.com/the-pace-of-play-thank-you/
            Last time I played with our foursome of walkers, we finished in under fours hours. The ranger, who had been monitoring the course, saw us putting our clubs in our cars preparing to leave. He ran out to the parking lot, thanked us for playing and gave us 5$ each. We didn’t even know the “pace of play” policy existed…

          • second this

            Jul 29, 2016 at 5:15 pm

            how so?

      • Someone

        Aug 1, 2016 at 9:26 am

        Better courses have a GPS tracking system these days on their carts. Another way would be to submit your tee time slip when you finish to get your deposit back. i.e. checking in with a ‘finisher’ at the end of the round.

  75. Smith

    Jul 28, 2016 at 10:06 am

    Amen. Go play in Scotland and you’ll realize how fast (and fun) a round should be.

    • Someone

      Aug 1, 2016 at 9:29 am

      This is all dependent on the type of course. In scotland a lot of courses are wide open and there isn’t a lot of trees and brush to lose your ball. In the states, we have flowerbeds, narrower fairways, tall thick brush etc. I played in Hawaii at the Hawaiian Prince course, and the rough was mowed to be just a little taller than the fairway, and well pace went QUICK because of how easy it was for people to find their ball, etc.

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