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9 comments

Comment from: Dan Hager, Head Golf Professional, The Links at Boynton Beach [Visitor]
You make a good point. Many golf course operators are short sighted by trying to go after the entire market. For fear of losing a few players who don't care about pace of play, usually occasional golfers who are defined as playing less than six times a year, they tolerate slow play and try to please everyone. They end up chasing the AVID players from their course and eventually out of the game. If you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. I say don't go after the entire market, go after the right market.
2004-11-17 @ 09:28
Comment from: Steve Haggerty [Visitor]
I agree completely with your statement. However, I operate a private facility where tee times are not present and minimal play is seen. We run into the same groups "holding up" anyone that plays behind them. Our solution (which has worked extremely well) was to "time" the golf course. Each hole on our course was observed through a minimum of 50 foursomes per hole. The median time was established and recorded. The total of the times equalled 4 hours and 5 minutes. With a brief stop at our half way house, we determined 4 hours and 15 minutes to be reasonable pace. We then put the responsibility of playing in reasonable time on our members by creating some fairly aggressive penalties. A letter was issued by our golf committee and the pace literally improved over night! By going through this process, we not only improved our pace, but also learned valuable information about how our golf course is played.
2004-11-17 @ 10:36
Comment from: Bob Hasbrouck, PGA [Visitor]
As a 20 year Class A with experience in both public and private, comparing the problems of tee times and pace of play at both are like water and oil. Here in golf saturated Houston, the business in public golf is cut throat. We make the dollar any way you can. We run 6 minute times and pace of play is not an issue, getting the dollar from the customer is. At low end public golf, our people in general don't care about pace of play...they just want to play. General observation which relates to high end public and private: The more it costs, the more people are bothered with a slow pace of play....

Quick real story... When with a major U.S. golf corporation as Head Professional at a private club, we had a regional meeting. The topic of major concern was pace of play. My facility was the only in the region without a problem, as we oversaw the course properly. We made sure people stayed up with the group ahead with a great member/club concern program. At the end of the session which took about two hours with all the professionals sharing their problems and their solutions, the topic changed immediately to 5 somes. After 5 minutes, their solution to 5 somes, "let them play 6, and get the extra $15-$20 per open cart seat"..........(Hello)......
2004-11-17 @ 11:48
Comment from: Jack Clark [Visitor]
I would guess that Mr. Baldwin does'nt have to report to owners or investors. Reduce the amount of play because we are being greedy? If I made that statement to my owners I would hope to be let go. I operate a seasonal business were rounds equal more revenue which inturn keeps the golf course running as well as quality of product and service.

How do you think the AVID golfer got to be that way? They were beginners just like everyone else. If it was'nt for the beginners and intermediate golfers this game would stop growing. So chase them off the course? If you offer the customer great service, great food and a quality golf course, I would hope to be busy.

Yes, we experience days of slow play because we are popular and run a quality operation, not because of greed. In many popular restuarants you expect to wait, but in the end, its worth it.

Your golf course is crowded - what a great problem to have.
2004-11-17 @ 11:53
Comment from: Jeff Sheehan [Visitor]
In my opinion, slow play is one the biggest problem facing golfers and golf course operators today. Tee time intervals certainly can play a part in how fast the course plays but it is ultimately the golfers responsibility to keep their position on the golf course. I don't care if you are on 7-8 minute tee times or 15 minute tee times, you can only play as fast as the group in front of you. I think the USGA,PGA and the PGA Tour have done a horrible job of educating the golfing public as to what is expected of them as far as pace of play is concerned. People watch way too much TV...it is okay to line-up your putts from both sides and to check the wind direction and the yardage but do it when others are playing. We need to teach our player how to play "ready golf". It is simple...be ready to play your shot when it is your turn and stay within a shot of the group in front of you. If we simply do this the golfers and the owners will all be much happier. As operators, we have to define the expectation and enforce those expectations. The player assistant can't be sitting under a tree taking a nap or in the woods looking for golf balls. As operators, we must be aware of what is going on on the course at all times. The caboose can only go as fast as the engine. If any car falls off the track or the engine is slow you can be in for a long day. If I hear "no one is waiting behind us" (when they have two holes open in front of them) one more time...since when do we play the course in reverse? You are two holes behind so the group behind you is actually three holes behind. As an operator, I have found that taking a pro-active stance on pace of play does make a difference and the pace of play issue CAN be improved.
2004-11-17 @ 13:07
Comment from: Neil Laird [Visitor]
I agree that excessive throughput does make the problem worse by making it difficult to play through, but I feel the problem goes deeper than that. What about course design?

Golf course design has altered to lengthen courses to cope with the better equipment. This suits the better players but the average (unpractised) gofler is now left further behind.

Then what about the lack of yardage signposts, leaving visitors guessing about the distances (and taking minutes to do it)?

Finally, whose bright idea was it to make the distances from Green to Tee as far as those from Tee to Green. (Answer: Jack Nicholas. I think he had shares in a buggy manufacturer!)

It all adds up to more time needed for the average (22+) golfer. And if you hound them to play faster, they will only go to pieces and then take longer!!

In any case, if I wanted to run round my golf course, I would take up jogging.

regards

N Laird
Edinburgh
2004-11-17 @ 13:59
Comment from: Joey Pickavance [Visitor]
I must say that I think the comment regarding "slow play" being an issue of golf course financial "greed" is way out of bounds. How would he explain a full golf course that experiences 4-hour pace of play with no customer complaints??

I manage a golf course that has a slope rating of 148 and I know the issue with our pace of play falls into 2 catagories;
1st - Is the fact that the "design" of this course does not allow for a "run around the park" pace. It just is not possible by design. 2nd - It just takes 1 group to play slow or fall out of position to make everyone behind them feel like they are in a funeral processional and ruin the golf experience.

Pace of Play has ben an issue forever. It is not all of a sudden due to the operators. It is a fine balance and chore to make the golf experience and financial picture work. So if we have Tee times every 20-minutes and experience better pace of play but lose our $$'s at the end of the year, then I guess we will fold up the shop, course, clubhouse and everything else.

What would he write about then???

J Pickavance
PGA Golf Professional
2004-11-18 @ 13:11
Comment from: Don Phillips [Visitor]
When dwill the USGA ever wake up. Many golfers know all they know about golf from watching the PGA pro tournaments. When pros take 3 or four minutes deciding how to play a shot, or walking around the green and surveying every putt, why should we think beginners or amateurs wouldn't want to emulate them? The PGA should put the clock one every player on every shot. They should set the example.
2004-11-20 @ 21:00
Comment from: Rob Mucha [Visitor]
Pace of play can and should be managed by the course ... to increase revenue! I literally no longer play on weekends because slow play is intolerable. I'd play a lot more often, and would gladly pay more money if there was a likely chance of finishing in four hours.

The only reason for slow play is that the courses don't enforce! I just got back from the St. Andrews Old Course where I completed a round beginning at 10:30AM in four hours. There is probably no course busier in the world! Although we had a brisk pace and we were not behind the group in front of us, we were reminded twice to keep the pace fast (in a non offensive way). It was quick everywhere else I played in England and Scotland. They get it, and even the slow Americans adjusted.

We Americans take way too much time aligning and practice swinging, often walk to the ball without a couple of likely clubs, look forever for lost balls, don't hit provisionals, circle and gawk at each person in the group's lay and shot, seam to avoid "ready golf" like the plague (even when someone else can't find their ball or are going from sand trap to sand trap around the green), and don't even start lining up our putts until the other person has finished putting. I'm not talking about beginners! Aim as you walk up and just hit the darn thing already, Sergio.

For the most part here Marshalls are worthless because they rarely say a darn thing, and it's absolutely the course's fault. Yes it is!
2004-11-24 @ 00:13

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