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Pace of Play Survey

Does Pace of Play REALLY Matter?  

657 members have voted

  1. 1. Does slow play.....

    • Keep you from playing golf at certain courses?
      184
    • Keep you from play golf at certain courses on certain days?
      319
    • Keep you from playing golf at all?
      12
    • Not affect how often or where you play?
      141
  2. 2. Does slow play negatively affect....

    • Enjoyment of your round?
      532
    • The business health of a specific golf course?
      17
    • Overall participation in the sport?
      73
    • Nothing, it's not a big deal.
      34
  3. 3. What are the biggest causes of slow play?

    • Course setup (high rough/narrow fairways/silly-fast greens)?
      42
    • Playing from the wrong tees?
      120
    • A long/difficult Par 3 within the first few holes?
      8
    • Idiots who don't know golf etiquette and think they are JB Holmes?
      345
    • Poor use of 2-person carts?
      52
    • Not enough space between tee times?
      89
  4. 4. How much extra would you be willing to pay for a course with a guaranteed 4 hour or less round of golf?

    • 10% over "normal" greens fees?
      74
    • 15%?
      42
    • 20%?
      46
    • 25%?
      22
    • More? This is what they're SUPPOSED to be doing!
      408
    • It's not a problem.
      64
  5. 5. Do you think golf courses REALLY see slow play as a problem that needs to be solved?

    • Yes
      218
    • No
      438


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3 hours ago, Golfspy_CG2 said:

But I have yet to have one person decline an invitation for a round of golf by saying, "No it takes too long"   Even on some of our slowest rounds, I have heard minor griping during it, but have only heard on very rare occasions, someone say they will never go to XYZ course again because it took too long. 

You haven't met me then.  I got into a MAJOR fight with a (now former) co-worker who always wanted to play FSU's Seminole course with me from time to time, and after the last time I was out there and it was pushing a 5 hour round, I told him, and anyone else I ever played golf with, that I will NEVER play Seminole ever again.  Seminole is affiliated with FSU, and because of that, it attracts a bunch of college students who don't know the rules or etiquette of the game, and think that their time at Seminole is best served with 3 other buddies who have no clue how to play golf, nor what any sort of pace of play is supposed to be, and they use their time to drink as much beer as possible, and take as long as they want on the course.

Granted, any issue with Seminole is gone now, as they are in the process of redesigning it and it won't be open until late this year.  But rumor has it that once it reopens it will go from being $30 or less per round to $75 per round, which means that there will be no one out there, as there is a definite price point that dictates if people will actually play golf in this town.  But I think FSU doesn't really care about the general public wanting to play their new course whenever it opens, because I think the goal is to have sparse play on it, so that the FSU golf teams can go out there any time they want and play practice rounds without having to fight the mob to do it.

Now, factor in one closed course in a town that only has 2 1/2 other public courses, and the fact that Seminole had the highest round count per day/week/month/year, and all that traffic has to go somewhere.  The other public courses went from having available tee times to me walking out there on a Saturday afternoon as a single and the guy in the pro shop bluntly telling me I couldn't play because there were no available tee times and the course was full.

So where does this leave me, golf wise?  I simply don't play anymore, mostly because I know that tee sheets are full, and even if I could squeeze on somewhere and play with another group, it would be a 5 hour round.  In short,  I give up.

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3 hours ago, THEZIPR23 said:

Agreed but would you have played more if you could play 18 in under 3 hours? I play more golf now than I have at almost any other time in my life. And I was an assistant pro for 7 years. The biggest reason, I am at a club that I can play 18 holes in 2 hours 3-4 afternoons a week. 

You didn't ask me, but if the round was affordable ($30 or less), and you could guarantee me that I would be finished in 3 hours or less, then I'd be there every time.  But as it is, there is no local course around here that can do it, or will even try to make it happen, so I stay home and say screw it and find other things to do.

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58 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

Same here. When I play or how long is not an issue and almost welcomed if it’s an extended period...not sure if that’s good or bad 🤪

also I know that slow rounds happen and at certain courses it’s to be expected and I plan mentally for it.  While some rounds take forever I’ve never walked away from a round where there wasn’t some level of enjoyment. Surexive had bad rounds or played a course that wasn’t in good shape but it never affected if I enjoyed myself on the course

So much this!   it's meant to be our enjoyment, and if we let things out of our control such as weather, pace of play,  even our own play dictate getting upset, then to me that defeats the purpose of playing.

Do i wish I could shoot 75 each time out instead of 95 or 100....you bet.  And while those high scores might not make me jump for joy, I haven't quit yet after shooting one.   And I don't necessarily want to play a round in 2.5 hours.   To me that's too fast and there's no way you can be enjoying the day, the weather and the company if you're racing around the course.    If @MDGolfHacker is still around and see's this post, he can tell you about a round we played at Maryland National about 10 years ago with a Brit who walked on and joined us on the 10th tee.  We had just finished a very nice front 9, with pretty good scores and enjoyed the pace.    Well he was bound and determined to finish the back nine in about an hour, and while he was walking and we were in carts, it was all we could do to keep up with him, we were sprinting from the cart to our shots, and finally after about 3 holes, we told him to go ahead without us.  

So a round would have to be extremely long, like well over 5 hours for it to really bother me.   If it's slow during the round, I use that time to chat with my playing partner, or just relax and enjoy the weather.   

 

 

 

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I took the poll and my answers fell in line with everyone else except for question #2. I answered that it effects overall participation. However, it does also greatly impact my personal enjoyment of the game. I wish I could have selected both answers. When I find a rhythm on the golf course I prefer to stay there as that is where I'm likely to play my best golf. When my rhythm slows because of players in front, it tends to throw my game out of whack - not always, but frequent enough to be an issue.
Also, while I wouldn't (always) call them idiots, my experiences demonstrate a clear lack of etiquette on the golf course. I've played as a single and I've played in groups that will get stuck behind someone who is 2 to 3 holes behind the group in front of them and still not permit me/us to play through. I've literally walked up to a tee box with players still on it and they would not let me play through. 
I'd like to address the notion that people don't turn down a round of golf due to time either because I've done that plenty (perhaps I'm just in the minority). I have a couple different groups I play with and have had to turn them down because I knew the round would take 5 hours or more based on the course they were playing and the tee time available. Instead, I went to a different course and played as a single or simply didn't play at all.

Shoot! I just drive right by them as they are walking to the green, and hit off the next tee before they’re done putting! “Just smile and wave, boys!”


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The only question I didn't align with the majority was #1.  Slow play doesn't affect where or when I play.  As a member of a muni, I play there because I have already paid for the year.  I will play other courses when asked and that is usually on weekends when play is about the same pace as my course, so it doesn't really matter.

There are always slow groups to contend with, but playing on weekends, that is to be expected.  It's the time when people that don't play much get out with friends.  I don't enjoy it, but it is what it is, if I want to play golf at a muni.  As long as the pace is steady, I can deal with it.  If it's always a waiting game, I will quit mid-round; maybe come back later in the day.

There is another reason for slow play that is not mentioned in Question #3, and it's related to my answer of No in Question #5.  Being a muni, my course does not set up the course to be difficult unless it's a tournament weekend.  The problem is course design and 8-minute tee times.  Because it's muni, the operator is trying to put as many people out on the course as possible; $$$.  A combination of less skilled players and close tee times makes groups wait starting on the first tee.  Combine that with our first 4 holes... #1 short par 4; #2 short par 4; #3 #1hcp hole; #4 short par 3.  Groups are automatically bunch on the #3 tee with water all the way down the left side and in front of the green.  Bailing out right puts you in big mounds of grass that then require a forced carry over water from bad lies, or a layup.  It's not until the 596y par 5 #5 that groups start spreading out.  Yes, the course knows that slow play is a problem, but they have no incentive to solve it, nor ability to mitigate the problem due to course design.

Ahhh! You hit my issue on the head: COURSE SET-UP!!!

My muni has its fairways cut at TWENTY-ONE yards wide! Yep! All day, every day, and they don’t have enough workers to mow all-the-time, so our BERMUDA rough can be 2-3 inches high, JUST off the fairway!

 

We were about to play our City Championship, and I asked the Pro if he was widening the fairways. “No! I want it to play HARD!” I said, “Great. Then make sure everyone knows they have to go BACK to the tee and re-hit if they haven’t played a provisional. Our rounds are going to be over 6 hours, you watch!” What happened? People lost a TON of balls JUST off the fairway, started dropping everywhere, and never turned-in real scores. How did that affect this past year’s tournament??? 30 players TOTAL. No one wanted to be beat-up all day for three days.

 

I told the Pro this last year, after he came back from a tournament in California, “Dang! Must be nice to play courses that have fairways that are two to THREE times wider than ours, with a primary cut at an inch!” He got pissed!

 

We’re all amateurs! Set-up the stinking course to AID faster play! Fairway width, rough height, pin placements, and grass height on greens! It’s not that hard to HELP speed it up from a set-up standpoint!

 

 

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Anyone think they put too many groups on the course at the same time? I've played through a couple times and there is no relief.
I think that when you check in they should remind you to let faster groups play through...and have a ranger help move folks along and remind them to play the proper tees...

But like the Pros, someone has to enforce things... If it’s not a “high-style” place, rangers say stuff, but no one kicks slow players off the course.


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There's turtles on both ends of the handicap spectrum. A couple of the slowest players I know are legitimate +4/+5s. They qualify for USGA events and are some of the better golfers in the state but they simply refuse to play faster, or to even acknowledge the pace of other players. They go through their full routine for every shot and if a butterfly sneezes in an adjoining meadow they back up and do it all over again. They have it in their heads that it is part of being good but the reality is they're really good because they play really well, not because they take forever.

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If a butterfly sneezes!!!!


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Ahhh! You hit my issue on the head: COURSE SET-UP!!!
My muni has its fairways cut at TWENTY-ONE yards wide! Yep! All day, every day, and they don’t have enough workers to mow all-the-time, so our BERMUDA rough can be 2-3 inches high, JUST off the fairway!
 
We were about to play our City Championship, and I asked the Pro if he was widening the fairways. “No! I want it to play HARD!” I said, “Great. Then make sure everyone knows they have to go BACK to the tee and re-hit if they haven’t played a provisional. Our rounds are going to be over 6 hours, you watch!” What happened? People lost a TON of balls JUST off the fairway, started dropping everywhere, and never turned-in real scores. How did that affect this past year’s tournament??? 30 players TOTAL. No one wanted to be beat-up all day for three days.
 
I told the Pro this last year, after he came back from a tournament in California, “Dang! Must be nice to play courses that have fairways that are two to THREE times wider than ours, with a primary cut at an inch!” He got pissed!
 
We’re all amateurs! Set-up the stinking course to AID faster play! Fairway width, rough height, pin placements, and grass height on greens! It’s not that hard to HELP speed it up from a set-up standpoint!
 
 
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I used to play a course with tight fairways but luckily the rough wasn’t bad. When I questioned it the pro said it was to save money by not having to mow as much. He didn’t give me a number but how much could it be to make a couple more runs up the sides with the mower?


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I used to play a course with tight fairways but luckily the rough wasn’t bad. When I questioned it the pro said it was to save money by not having to mow as much. He didn’t give me a number but how much could it be to make a couple more runs up the sides with the mower?


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Our pro said they did it because, “They keep clipping the sprinkler heads with the mower, so we have to mow inside the sprinkler heads.”
Really?! The Super can’t teach them to mow?! Our pros are known for lying to make any excuse possible.


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Ahhh! You hit my issue on the head: COURSE SET-UP!!!
My muni has its fairways cut at TWENTY-ONE yards wide! Yep! All day, every day, and they don’t have enough workers to mow all-the-time, so our BERMUDA rough can be 2-3 inches high, JUST off the fairway!
 
We were about to play our City Championship, and I asked the Pro if he was widening the fairways. “No! I want it to play HARD!” I said, “Great. Then make sure everyone knows they have to go BACK to the tee and re-hit if they haven’t played a provisional. Our rounds are going to be over 6 hours, you watch!” What happened? People lost a TON of balls JUST off the fairway, started dropping everywhere, and never turned-in real scores. How did that affect this past year’s tournament??? 30 players TOTAL. No one wanted to be beat-up all day for three days.
 
I told the Pro this last year, after he came back from a tournament in California, “Dang! Must be nice to play courses that have fairways that are two to THREE times wider than ours, with a primary cut at an inch!” He got pissed!
 
We’re all amateurs! Set-up the stinking course to AID faster play! Fairway width, rough height, pin placements, and grass height on greens! It’s not that hard to HELP speed it up from a set-up standpoint!
 
 
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Set em up like BlueJack National. The rough is slightly longer than the fairway if I read correctly.

I could handle this all day long and so could everyone else.

IMG_4930.JPG
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Our expected “time” is 4:15. Which can easily be done playing ready golf and just keeping up with the group in front of you. Our course has lots of room between greens and tees so there are some holes where it takes a minute or 2 to drive from one to the next. We do however run into some guys who take an early tee time and just bog down the entire course.  Not often, but sometimes. It only takes one group out early to slow the entire course down for hours. It also helps that we have a golf pro the really cares for the game and the course. 

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Set em up like BlueJack National. The rough is slightly longer than the fairway if I read correctly.

I could handle this all day long and so could everyone else.

IMG_4930.JPG.62f4b171b7e9f97227d95bd3d0092c80.JPG

Same here! Why more course don’t do this, I’ll never know.


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Would love to see more courses go wall-to-wall fairway like Bluejack or Sweetens Cove, but a more modest course would probably do better to go with Maintenance Down the Middle and let the rough crisp up a bit.  Less maintenance = less growth = less mowing = less expense.  You could afford to make the fairway a little wider if you're mowing the rough far less.

There's been enough studies on the length of time it takes to play golf and its impact on participation rates.  To me, this breaks a couple of ways:

  1. The 5+ hour round of golf.  Plenty of discussion on this in posts above.
  2. The concept of a round of golf.  If I want to play some golf after work, why are my choices limited to either 18 or 9 holes at most courses?  Why can't I play 6 or even 4 holes if I want to squeeze in some golf after work?  If I have an hour to spare, I really would rather not hit range balls; I'd rather go play a few holes.  Charge me by the hole.  I'd be happy to pay.

Get people on the golf course for a few holes when they only have an hour to spare and they'll want to play full rounds of golf when they have time.

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We tend to try to use the thinned out crowds on Sunday afternoons here to our advantage.  But when the starter sends out 5 consecutive 1 and 2 somes after our foursome, our round that was going well with a wide open course in front of us gets a fair bit longer letting all those groups play through.

I'm sure they don't want to turn any golfers away, but none from our group will be returning to that place.  I guess it's a no win situation for the course.  Either all the singles get mad for having to pair up, or we get mad letting five groups play through.

 

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8 hours ago, HardcoreLooper said:

 

  1. The concept of a round of golf.  If I want to play some golf after work, why are my choices limited to either 18 or 9 holes at most courses?  Why can't I play 6 or even 4 holes if I want to squeeze in some golf after work?  If I have an hour to spare, I really would rather not hit range balls; I'd rather go play a few holes.  Charge me by the hole.  I'd be happy to pay.

My home course started offering this - pretty sure we're the only course in the area that does it. I've never used it since I'm a member, but seems like a great way to get more people participating. Not sure what's actually done for the numbers though.

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5 hours ago, romeopapazulu said:

We tend to try to use the thinned out crowds on Sunday afternoons here to our advantage.  But when the starter sends out 5 consecutive 1 and 2 somes after our foursome, our round that was going well with a wide open course in front of us gets a fair bit longer letting all those groups play through.

I'm sure they don't want to turn any golfers away, but none from our group will be returning to that place.  I guess it's a no win situation for the course.  Either all the singles get mad for having to pair up, or we get mad letting five groups play through.

 

That's on the starter. They should be doing their best to send out foursomes if possible unless the course is dead. I show up a lot as a single but I have no expectation of going out as one. 

For the record, I voted for clueless idiots as the #1 reason for slow play. I see far too much of that behavior - 20 handicaps spending 5+ minutes looking for a lost ball, those same golfers lining up a 20 foot putt from every angle, etc. 

When I go play 18 I have the expectation of spending 4-5 hours on the course. Any more than that and it's due to inconsiderate golfers? No thanks. I have other things to do in my life than sit for 10+ minutes on every tee box. 

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The concept of a round of golf.  If I want to play some golf after work, why are my choices limited to either 18 or 9 holes at most courses?  Why can't I play 6 or even 4 holes if I want to squeeze in some golf after work? 

Yes this. I would love it if courses had 3- 6s instead of 2- 9s. You could get so many more people who were just playing 6 or 12 out on the course during those before and after peak times.

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Playing competitive golf slow play is a major issue.  Last year in the IL State Am my group was put on the clock.  We would be standing on the next tee hitting while our slow player was putting out trying to get back in position.  Luckily we did, but it certainly is an issue when those people are changing the game of others. 

I think it is a different issue for public play as courses are trying to get as many people out  as possible and they do not understand to keep moving.  Telling stories is great, but you can continue to play and tell your story. 

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7 hours ago, romeopapazulu said:

We tend to try to use the thinned out crowds on Sunday afternoons here to our advantage.  But when the starter sends out 5 consecutive 1 and 2 somes after our foursome, our round that was going well with a wide open course in front of us gets a fair bit longer letting all those groups play through.

I'm sure they don't want to turn any golfers away, but none from our group will be returning to that place.  I guess it's a no win situation for the course.  Either all the singles get mad for having to pair up, or we get mad letting five groups play through.

 

That's a perspective I hadn't thought of honestly.  I'm always looking at this thing from a singles point of view.  But honestly, if I show up as a single I've never had a problem being paired up with 1, 2 or 3 others and making a group out of it.  That usually comes with a mixed bag, depending on who it is they are asking to pair up with me.  I've had everything from, "Sure, be happy to play with you," to the long cold stare and the eventually, "I'd prefer not to pair up," or words to that effect.

I guess I'm the odd one out here honestly, as I don't really have any consistent golf playing partners.  At least not consistent enough to where I have a weekly game, or even once a month.

So I guess what it all boils down to is that I quit the game altogether, and find other things to spend my time doing.  I bought a pressure washer yesterday and spent a couple of hours pressure washing my driveway and walkway to my front door.

But yeah, I suppose I get it.  I guess I am better off not playing as a single, for fear that I might piss off the foursome that would be inconvenienced by my 2 hour solo round.  I wouldn't want to ruffle any feathers, and by all means, the golf course belongs to that one foursome and no one else.

Between slow play and situations like this on the local public course, and John Holmes basically playing intentionally slow and saying F You to anyone that doesn't like it, I've pretty much exhausted my patience and options with regards to golf.  Definitely time to spend my time doing other things.

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My irritation comes from a lack of courtesy more than slow play.  I sympathize with the high handicaps, we were all there at one point.  For those of you that are good and will play alongside a high capper, thank you.  You guys are a big help in making us better golfers. 

Now, there are guys on both ends of the GHIN pool that are problematic.

It drives me nuts to be waiting on a tee box every hole while the group in front takes out a barometric pressure chart to figure out how quickly he needs to drink his 3 beers before seeing how far his 4 tee shots will go into the woods.  Or the money game in front of us, with a mix of handicaps, takes so many looks to read a putt you would think Jessica Biel was holding the flagstick.

Enjoy YOUR game the way you want to play it.  But if you are holding people up, let them through.  We would love to tip our cap to Jessica Biel, and have a beer with you as we are passing.

 

-All of this said to mean, the lack of courtesy is what I believe to be the greatest threat to the pace of play.  

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