If you like to play slow on a golf course, I want to hear from you...
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Not only is Brooks right, but I think it's only a matter of time before someone finally gets DeChambeau to pick up the pace and knock off the intentionally gamesmanship that he displays against his playing partners, by intentionally waiting to start his conversation with his caddie about whatever it is they talk about, until after the other guys have finished hitting. I mean, if you want to talk about air density and a thousand other things no one ever thinks about, fine, but all I think anyone is asking here is that you abide by the pace of play guidelines that the Tour has in place. Eventually the Tour has to buckle to the pressure if enough outside influences keep this topic as alive and well as it has been for some time now. I'm just surprised we have such a blatant horrible penalty on a non-issue with Haotong Li that gave him no advantage whatsoever, when pace of play actually does affect the other golfers on the course, not only in your group, but also behind you, as they wait on every shot because you are too busy crunching numbers on things no one besides you has a clue about or could care less about.
OK -- there have been several threads / discussions on pace of play .. and some strong opinions on the matter .. and there have been many suggestions put forward on possible methods on how to handle pace of play issues.
But here, I'd like discuss the Tee It Forward idea.
Personally I practice it myself, and it is not directly related to pace of play (although that dovetails in) but more about....
* developing my game;
* having more confidence with my tee shot;
* working to hit more fairways.
As one example of _not_ teeing it forward .. and I'm pretty sure you've all witnessed examples of this .. are the players who go all the way back to the tournament / championship tees and then either... 1. barely make it past the forward tees, or 2. lose most of their drives off the fairway.
Yes, both those scenarios may have a negative impact on the pace of play for all groups behind, but -- HOW DOES THIS IMPACT HOW THESE PLAYERS ARE DEVELOPING THEIR GAME???
What say you?
Alright forum members, here is the situation: You wake up in the morning, check the forecast really quick and the weatherman calls for clear skies and 75 degrees, with only a gentle breeze of 0 - 5 miles an hour expected for the day. Pristine golf weather. And the rest of the week calls for rain, rain and more rain - you can't let an opportunity like this pass you by! So you call in to the office because you are *cough* *cough* "under the weather" *sniffle* *sniffle*, and then start making the rounds scouring golf now and the internet for a tee time. You find a course you have played a couple times, not a ton, but you remember it being a decent track and are pretty pumped to play it again. So you throw on your favorite golf polo and comfiest golf shorts (or pants, if 75 degree weather is pants weather for you crazy people in Arizona, California, etc.), eat a hearty breakfast, throw your clubs in the trunk of your car and head off to the course. You get to the course, pay the green fee and head off to the first tee box. It's moment of truth time gentlemen (and ladies, but mostly gentlemen in this case) - what tee box are you attacking the course from, and is this the box you should actually be going to battle from?
Personally, I used to play from the tee box just in front of the tips most of the time (generally the blue tee boxes on the courses around me). And I generally played there for the following reasons:
- When I started golfing, most of the people I played with always played from the blue tees. So I just got used to playing from those boxes.
- I can hit the ball pretty far. I am not tour pro long or anything like that,but for average joe golfer I can get the ball out there pretty good, so I thought that was the spot for me.
- It is an ego thing. I think I should be able to play from that distance and do it well.
- Blue is a much more manly color than white.
What I have realized though is that even though the blue tee boxes generally don't make the course too long for my game, I should probably spend more of my time teeing off from the white tee boxes (or the boxes one set behind the ladies tees if your course uses a different coloring system). Why is that? I score way better (and who doesn't have more fun when the score looks good!) Not sub par or low 70's better, but I can generally keep things in the low to mid 80's from there. I also don't have to hit as many shots with long irons or fairway woods to get home on holes, which limits the duffs and skulls and other nonsense I generally rack up throughout the round, which just makes the round more frustrating it needs to be. Golf is hard enough as it is! I also feel better about my pace of play. I don't feel like I am holding people up as much, searching for balls on wayward shots when my swing gets a little handsy, and when I hit a fat shot I am already closer than I was if I were playing from further away. I think the people playing behind me appreciate it more, as I know I get frustrated and out of rhythm when the group in front of me is clearly playing from the wrong tee box and slowing things down to a halt (I am looking at you banana ball slicer who only gets a FIR hitting the fairway of another hole but continues to tee it up from the back boxes).
So now I most courses I find myself playing from a hybrid set of tee boxes throughout the round, mixing it up between the white boxes and blue boxes. If the hole is too short, I back up a set, but I am not too proud to enjoy the game like it is meant to be enjoyed. What about the rest of you out there. Do you think you honestly play the right set of tees most of the time, or are you playing from further back than you should be playing?
Also, earlier I said this post was mostly for the gentlemen as I have yet to encounter a group of ladies teeing up from too far away for their game. In my experience, it appears those that can play from further back know it and do, and others tee it forward where they are comfortable playing from. But would love everyone to weigh in and give their opinions.
By GolfSpy Barbajo
Case Study: Marine Park Sets a Good Pace By Thomas Dunne
June 11, 2014
This story is one in a series of case studies that explores some of the measures golf facilities around the country are taking to improve pace of play. Brooklyn's Marine Park Golf Course, which sees more than 60,000 rounds a year, has put a greater emphasis on pace of play education. (USGA/Matt Rainey) BROOKLYN, N.Y. â€“ â€œWelcome to Brooklyn: Home to Everyone from Everywhereâ€ reads the sign on the Belt Parkway as motorists skirt JFK Airport to enter the borough from the east. A similar greeting could be placed in front of Marine Park Golf Course, which sits near Jamaica Bay and is one of the busiest municipal facilities in the country, logging some 50,000 rounds per year from golfers of all descriptions.
Related Content: Photos: Marine Park Golf Course
Owned by the City of New York, the 50-year-old Marine Park has struggled with the pitfalls that accompany being a public course in a high-volume area. A Robert Trent Jones Sr. design with contoured greens, championship length and more than enough wind to keep things interesting, the course has a lot going in its favor, but it has historically struggled with conditioning and slow pace of play.
â€œThey'd take your money and, after a six-hour round, say, â€˜It's public golf; what do you expect?'â€ said Rich McDonough, Marine Park's director of golf operations. â€œDuring the boom, you could sell 60,000 rounds a year out on Flatbush Avenue, but it's not like that anymore. There's far too much competition for people's leisure time.â€
Things began to turn around five years ago when Michael Giordano and his son, Adam, won the concession to operate the course. The Giordanos have invested heavily in physical improvements to the clubhouse (which now includes a learning center with high-tech gadgetry), driving range and especially the golf course itself. Those who haven't played there recently would probably notice that turf quality has improved, and they would also note a series of towering mounds, part of Jones' master plan that was never implemented. Architect Stephen Kay has overseen their installation as part of a program to enhance Marine Park's visual appeal.
The Giordanos' strategy also includes leveraging Marine Park's length and its Trent Jones pedigree to tout it as â€œthe home of competitive golf in New York City.â€ To that end, the first Brooklyn Open was contested there last year.
The Giordanos envision the course as a â€œcountry club for the masses.â€ The investments will help, but the greatest obstacle to that ambitious goal remains pace of play, which the Marine Park team is confronting with the help of Lucius J. Riccio, a Columbia University professor who has provided the blueprint for improving round times at the facility. Mike is so consumed by the subject that he carries a dog-eared copy of Riccio's â€œGolf's Pace of Play Bible.â€
The major planks of Marine Park's stategy are information and communication. Marine Park is taking several steps to educate golfers, and it is gradually changing the course's culture. Pace-of-play expectations are set in the pro shop at check-in, elaborated upon at the starter's box and reinforced by course marshals, re-branded as â€œplayer assistants.â€
Clocks every four or five holes allow groups to track their position. Wyszinski has made good progress in getting the dawn patrol â€“ the sunrise to 9 a.m. regulars â€“ around in four hours, and the goal is to keep play moving at a good clip for as long as possible. Once the course reaches its saturation point, it doesn't take much for things to go haywire; and it's not always due to the golfers' behavior.
â€œIf we get a hole location in the wrong place on a Saturday morning, it's like a car accident,â€ McDonough said, describing the resulting logjam caused by players spending more time to putt out.
Off the course, the elder Giordano stresses the importance of helping people â€œtake golf in smaller bites.â€ Marine Park actively seeks out unintimidating ways to not only mint new golfers, but to start them off as fast players.
â€œThe technical aspects of the game are demanding,â€ he said. â€œBut first you have to figure out how to get them through 18 holes.â€
To course hosts clinics geared toward beginners, especially women, allowing them to learn some of golf's basic tenets in an environment free of embarrassment or self-consciousness. Players learn tips such as where to park a cart or leave one's golf bag near the green; how to mark a ball, repair a pitch mark or rake a bunker; how to help a friend search for an errant shot without holding up play. Marine Park's Ladies' League now has more than 100 regulars, many of whom are graduates of these clinics.
In this hyper-diverse community, a course accessible to all has to be ready to confront new challenges every day. Some groups prefer to play a six-hour round, simply to get out of the house for a while. Inexperienced golfers will generally take longer to finish their rounds. When speedier players encounter them, it can be a volatile mix.
Working in these conditions can be tough, and Marine Park's staff has discovered that maintaining a fast pace is best done through positive reinforcement.
â€œWe're visible,â€ McDonough said. â€œPeople can see that we're trying to manage the pace, and they're grateful for that.â€
A certain amount of creativity never hurts, either. On one day with slow place of play, Marine Park's assistant managers, Paul Wyszinski, challenged two groups to a race down their respective holes, which ran parallel to one another. The winning group would receive a free bucket of balls at the driving range.
â€œThey played those holes in about nine minutes flat,â€ he said. â€œWe're not asking anyone to dilute their golf experience, but we like to use the property's assets â€“ the driving range, the bar, the Players' Club upstairs â€“ as carrots.â€
â€œWe've tried the stick, too. It doesn't work,â€ said McDonough. He then added a line that is about as Brooklyn as its eponymous bridge: â€œSome of these guys like the stick far too much.â€
Thomas Dunne is based in the New York area and is a contributing writer to Links Magazine.
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