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MaxEntropy

Would Embracing Technology Improve Pace of Play?

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Interesting topic and it reminds me of something I heard yesterday while watching the US Senior Open.  While watching one of the broadcasters mentioned that one of the golfers (I forget who exactly it was, but I want to say Irwin), basically walked up to the ball and his caddie had already factored in, 1) Wind, 2) Elevation, and 3) any height adjustment from shot to green/landing area.  I believe this was talked about on the downhill par 3 that was playing 176 yards but everyone was playing it at like 130-135.  

 

So, like the first person to comment on the thread, I think the caddies have so much data before they even hit the ball, that the pros know exactly where to hit it for maximum performance.  

 

It's an intriguing topic though, and I love to see some data from a few pros that used technology in lieu of, or in support with a caddy to see if it did in fact help with speed of play.  

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How about we make automated carts with timers and cameras. Located in the clubhouse is a cart monitoring system that will show how spaced out everyone on the course is, the shop can monitor the players on camera and even tell them to pick up pace. If players continue to be slow you can disable the cart to allow faster groups to play through or they can take over control and drive the carts back to the clubhouse.

 

Don't give the players technology, give control to the course itself

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There was a tour(I think it was the Makenzie tour or the Web.com tour) that had a few events where rangefinders were legal and the pace of play did not improve at all. I think this attests to the amount of information caddies and players have readily available to them in yardage books etc.

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How about we make automated carts with timers and cameras. Located in the clubhouse is a cart monitoring system that will show how spaced out everyone on the course is, the shop can monitor the players on camera and even tell them to pick up pace. If players continue to be slow you can disable the cart to allow faster groups to play through or they can take over control and drive the carts back to the clubhouse.

 

Don't give the players technology, give control to the course itself

 

These are already available. I played a couple of Disney courses in Orlando. Each cart had a GPS on it that told you how far to the green, plus there was a clock on it that told you if you were lagging behind. If you continued to lag behind the golf course police came out and chastised you. And don't even think about driving off the cart path. It just wouldn't go.

 

In Vancouver at the MGS Vancouver Open 2013 we walked a course that had big clocks telling you what time your tee should have been to be at that point.

 

GPS and LRF are already legal and do improve pace of play for us regular folks.They may not seem that way for some people because.... well, some people are just slow. Even when they know the distance they can't make a quick decision.

 

Putting? Green Reading Apps? These don't help with the pace of the putt and what difference does it make what the break is if they leave it 5' short or long.

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IMHO, we have enough technology influencing various aspects of our everyday lives. I personally play golf to get away from technology and the hyper pace it often brings with it.  Sure pace of play can be slow at times, but in the 50+ years I've been chasing white balls around golf courses, it's rarely so bad that I don't enjoy myself. Simply putting marshals out on courses, particularly busy periods where play tends to get slow, will help as much as new gadgets. 

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Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear....

 

The 13th hole at The Open Championship 2017. Jordan Speith hits a ball into mountain goat territory, then brilliantly asks if the driving range in OB. It was not. Then under a 1 stroke penalty takes Line of Sight Relief, and then free relief under the Temporary Movable Obstruction Rule.

 

Turns a double bogey or worse into a bogey, then catches fire and shoots 4 under in the next 3 holes and goes on to win the Championship.

 

Him taking those rulings and the discussion the options took 12-15 minutes. It was actually pretty cool to watch and once again, brilliant use of the rules.

 

What was excruciating to watch was the next 15-18 minutes of him and Micheal trotting up and down the berms trying to find the flag and something close to the distance.

 

I have a Mobitee App that in a few seconds would have told me I was 220 to the closest edge of the green, 236 to the middle, and 248 to the back of the green. With a push of an icon on the phone, it would have also told me the direction that aim to the center of the green.

 

I am soon to have a Precision Pro NX7 PRO Laser Range Finder, (do you like the way I dropped that name in there? Learned that watching NASCAR.) and I know Geller has a lesser brand of LRF in the bag for practice rounds, but he could have stood on the top of the hill and shot the flag, and then shot to where Jordan had dropped.

 

Of course Jordan still had to make that shot. He missed the green but got up and down showing great skill, but claims Geller was spot on with his distances and he, Jordan, failed to hit the shot. (But I digress).

 

They look at yardage books, pin sheets, pages that have the breaks of the green drawn in, and they have yardage markers to pace it off from. They have someone who is an expert at calculating distances. So why can't they have technology that would definitely speed up pace of play.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

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I have a Garmin Approach that works wonders. If I am playing with people and they ask, I will tell them distances if they don't have a device. Or if they are slowing the pace, I will volunteer “my Garmin puts the distance to the middle of the green at about xxx yards.” By that point they see me using it and selecting clubs based on distance. It saves tons of time avoiding people searching for distance markers/ walking off distances etc. and these generally are “bogey plus” players. The part 2 of this is knowing your distance you hit a given club. I've been surprised at how few people know the distance (give or take a few yards) they hit a given club with a full swing.

 

 

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Agreed.  I should have included this in my first reply.  While I don't yet have an electronic yardage device, they do help.  Instead of tromping around looking for marked sprinkler heads or stepping off from the 100/150/200 markers, these make quick work of deciding what club to use. 

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And a lot of mad golfers when the pace is slow and they can't complete the round in that timefToo

Too bad/tough s***????

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How about we make automated carts with timers and cameras. Located in the clubhouse is a cart monitoring system that will show how spaced out everyone on the course is, the shop can monitor the players on camera and even tell them to pick up pace. If players continue to be slow you can disable the cart to allow faster groups to play through or they can take over control and drive the carts back to the clubhouse.

 

Don't give the players technology, give control to the course itself

Greens fees would be astronomical if they loaded all the carts with that tech.

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Greens fees would be astronomical if they loaded all the carts with that tech.

I've played several courses that use gps in the cart and have a pace of play clock on them and you can see where the other carts are on your hole. Green fees were on par with other courses

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Greens fees would be astronomical if they loaded all the carts with that tech.

Not necceaely. Often times those GPS Monitors don't cost extra as they either come with a preprogrammed add package.

 

 

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I've played several courses that use gps in the cart and have a pace of play clock on them and you can see where the other carts are on your hole. Green fees were on par with other courses

 

Me too, but only a couple times on resort type courses. The numbers turned red when we were behind pace and green when we were ahead of pace.

 

Ultimately, I believe proper usage of technology could improve the pace of play, but requires work from the course staff to monitor and hold people accountable.

 

For what it's worth, when I started this topic, I was primarily considering the pros being allowed to adopt technology (even though it is not clear), and Rover Rick's post is a perfect illustration of when it could save time.

 

More than anything, it seems that finding a reasonable way to hold people accountable would probably have the greatest impact, whether it is for pros or amateurs.

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We should have one set of rules for pros and amateurs, and both pros and amateurs should have access to the same information. Most of the time, pros have better info than we do, but Rick points out a situation where someone with a GPS has better info than Jordan did. LRF / GPS isn't going to slow a pro down, it will just replace the yardage book. Will it speed them up? In extreme situations like Rick points out, yes. On average, it will be a wash. It saves the caddy from the chance of a bad yardage.

 

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We should have one set of rules for pros and amateurs, and both pros and amateurs should have access to the same information. Most of the time, pros have better info than we do, but Rick points out a situation where someone with a GPS has better info than Jordan did. LRF / GPS isn't going to slow a pro down, it will just replace the yardage book. Will it speed them up? In extreme situations like Rick points out, yes. On average, it will be a wash. It saves the caddy from the chance of a bad yardage.

 

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I disagree that it won't speed up all tournament play. The first time I went to a pga tournament I was shock at how long it took them to hit the ball.

 

The caddie going to the ..... oops. Just had a thought. Maybe they don't want to give pga players something to speed up getting yardage's because they want them to have something to do while waiting for the green to clear.

 

 

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Me too, but only a couple times on resort type courses. The numbers turned red when we were behind pace and green when we were ahead of pace.

 

Ultimately, I believe proper usage of technology could improve the pace of play, but requires work from the course staff to monitor and hold people accountable.

 

For what it's worth, when I started this topic, I was primarily considering the pros being allowed to adopt technology (even though it is not clear), and Rover Rick's post is a perfect illustration of when it could save time.

 

More than anything, it seems that finding a reasonable way to hold people accountable would probably have the greatest impact, whether it is for pros or amateurs.

Regarding your last paragraph 1) pga tour doesn't really care to hold anyone accountable because it's not affecting advertising dollars. If the tv guys said we need to change the length of broadcasts or advertisers were pulling out because events were taking to long (this will never happen) then pga tour might be more likely to enforce their pace of play policy

 

2) for everyday golfers it's in the course to do that. We have several courses in this area some with god enable carts and some without that do a great job with pace of play. They have a stated policy on what the expectation for pace is, they have what the actions will be for anyone who falls behind and they enforce it so to the golfer it's no just words. The marshalls are constantly on the course monitoring each groups pace. Most courses don't have the knowledgeable starters/Marshall's to monitor/enforce a policy or lack a stated policy or lack the cajones to enforce it

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More than anything, it seems that finding a reasonable way to hold people accountable would probably have the greatest impact, whether it is for pros or amateurs.

 

That is a tough tough tough call on the Pros. Take my example, they (Kuch and Jordan) were already getting told by the officials to pick up the pace before this event took place. Primarily because Jordan who ain't exactly a speedy player anyway, which I think would improve with GPS or LRF, was spraying the ball all over the course up to this point.

 

Certainly, giving him a penalty in this situation would have changed the course of history and ultimately would have been more of a story than the great play that followed. The R&A, in this case, let the tournament play out without interfering. This turned out to be a major windfall for the sponsors anyway so they weren't complaining.

 

As for regular golfers and pace of play, I have very limited experience. I play at a private club and everyone seems pretty good about let faster groups through, and any mishaps I have had were pretty much isolated incidents.

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I played yesterday with my 70 year-old dad who wears a GPS watch. I played with a GPS watch with club tagging system, a LRF and my phone up and running to check the club tags every now and then. I noticed that it didn't speed up play at all, and to top it off, we spent more time checking our tech instead of engaging in the social aspect of the game. I have a large family and getting quality one on one time with my dad can be difficult off the golf course. Instead of asking how my dad was doing, I wanted to make sure my app showed I hit a 9 iron from the fairway. 

 

I think you can do away with a lot of technology if the courses put in a little effort for obtaining a quick yardage because that's why we use technology...to verify yardages. On the tee box, give the yardage to the hole and then make the yardage to any bunkers/hazards/doglegs available for quick club selection. In the fairway and rough, make sure the yardages on the sprinklers are easily readable, put signs on trees or large objects that give you a yardage to the middle of the green and bump up tee boxes on the weekends to shorten the course and speed up play. I don't own or run a golf course and I know most budgets are limited, but I would think you could attract more golfers with a quick round of golf by making sure the average golfer has all the yardage info needed to make a club selection, hit the shot and move on. 

 

I think technology is good for the game, but right now it appears to be in overload mode with no benefit for pace of play among most amateur golfers.  

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For Pros, I am totally against rangefinders and "green books". As, in life, technology has taken over the human aspect of everything.We, don't even talk anymore, it has to be a text. Not a fan, let's talk not text. But, that is a battler this dinosaur is losing.  A caddies relationship, conversation and advice to a Pro should not be sacrificed for a device. Books are, in my opinion cheating. Only because I think green reading, is as much about putting as the mechanics of the stroke, itself. It would be like me using an alignment stick, on course, during a round, with every 7 iron shot. Without proper alignment, you could have Sam Snead's swing and never hit a green. That's just me. As, for the amateur, if used properly, I don't think technology, (range finders, GPS etc. still NO Green Books), should slow down play. Ready golf is still ready golf. While you are waiting for me to shoot. you can have your yardage, club and still be ready to go. That being said, to get some people to play ready golf, with or without devices, can be as difficult as reading War and Peace in one sitting. My final thought is, I personally don't believe technology speeds up a round. Maybe in tests, on paper it could but not on the links.

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