American Society of Golf Course Architects makes design recommendations to speed play
Slow play is often cited as one of the reasons golf has declined in popularity in recent years. Courses are getting longer and longer in reaction to more powerful club technology, but average players aren’t hitting the ball that much farther. And they certainly aren’t hitting it any straighter.
And chipping and putting is still where most players lose strokes, and spend most of their time.
The American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) has come out with some design recommendations for perking up the pace of play.
First of all, ASGA president Steve Forrest concedes, “Common sense tells us that shorter, wider courses will play faster than longer, narrow ones, particularly for the average and beginning players.”
As we all know, though, a 5,000-yard track with 75-yard-wide fairways won’t draw a lot of players. Might as well just make the hole a couple feet across, too.
More realistic guidelines, as written by the ASGCA, are:
Multiple tees: Another common sense element—but one that must be considered in conjunction with how tee placement and length affect proper shot alignment—is the number and placement of multiple tees.
Flatter, Smaller Greens: When greens have fewer severe undulations, three putt frequency is reduced. Smaller greens also lessen the number of three putts, and reduce the time spent lining up putts.
Strategic Fairway Mounding: Fairways can be designed to contain slightly errant shots by strategic mound placement.
Easily-Visible Yardage Marking: Vertical yardage markers, or markers that are otherwise quickly identifiable, with accurate yardage information will speed play.
I especially like the last one. There are very few things more frustrating on a course than having to stomp around in the fairway trying to find yardage markers.
On the other hand, I must admit to being fond of large, dramatically contoured greens, despite the difficulty of upkeep and potential for three-putting.
How about you, fair readers? What advice would you give golf course architects to help speed up play? What design features really slow you down?
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The Old Course at St. Andrews is another
example. I said 5000 yards. Most male golfers
would not seek out a course that short,
irrespective of their skill level. (Not saying
they shouldn't; just saying they wouldn't.)
This course has v. few of the amenities you are used to in the US, but yes, it does have vertical blue markers at the edge of the rough at 150 yds from the hole on every par 4/5, which I think is crucial for planning shots even though I can play this course in my sleep. How expensive can a few sticks be?
E. Lansing, Michigan, at which the final hole ends with a blind shot to a small green fronted by wetlands and ringed on the sides and behind by dense underbrush. HUGE back-ups would occur as groups searched for their balls around the green, and, being blind, following groups would hit their approaches, making for a very dangerous situation.
And hear-hear on the sticks!
If the players in front are visitors and have missed the instruction to ring the bell, take great delight in ringing it as hard as you can whilst they are on their backswing on the adjacent fairway. (One victim only of course). If, however, you are the group in front and the group behind have been harrassing you, ring the bell as quietly as you can but truthfully claim to have rung it in the face of their indignation. Of course, I'm above this sort of behaviour, but my playing partners are not.
If you hit the post from the tee (damn fine shot - you'll hear it even if you don't see it), you MUST replay without penalty.