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Pace of Play Survey

Does Pace of Play REALLY Matter?  

656 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?
      318
    • 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?
      531
    • 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?
      344
    • 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!
      407
    • 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
      437


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Posted (edited)

Slow play is not killing the game but does create many issues for the golfer and the golf course.    For the golfers that are behind the group(s) that are playing slowly, it increases frustration and can and does impact the enjoyment of the game.  For those that are members, other than complaining to the Pro shop, not much else can be done,  but for the greens fee-paying golfers, it could result in them not coming back, which is lost future revenue and poor word of mouth if it becomes habitual.  Golf courses need to do everything possible to ensure those spending money on a game that can take 4.5 hours, enjoy their time and wish to spend their entertainment dollars at the golf course.  Member dues typically support the grounds budget, all other revenues tend to pay for the other operating expenditures, therefore anything that negatively impacts the green fee payer is NOT advisable.  The same can be said for purely private courses, as members may choose to become members elsewhere.

There are many courses across North America that are looking for ways to speed up play, including but not limited to larger golf holes, 12 hole courses and some 18 hole golf courses are reducing to 9 holes.

Unfortunately, many watch the Professional players either live or on TV and think that the time they spend should be the time they spend hitting a shot.  

People need to be educated on the negative impact of slow play in a manner that still encourages people to participate.  That is not to say they need to speed around the course, but they need to be respectful of the course and the other players, and in today's society, respect for the individual is severely lacking.

 

Edited by minus3hdcp
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Posted (edited)

... I play a TON of golf as a single. I am wintering in Phoenix and play almost everyday and mostly paired up with new people every round. So far that is over 60 rounds this winter and I think there are many reasons for slow play and a lot of them have been addressed. But from my perspective there are really basically two factors that are at the very top of the list.

1) People are selfish. They just don't care about anyone else on the course and are gonna play the way they want. Already a hole behind and here comes the cart girl, so lets stop and talk about what we want, how much, who is gonna pay and oh yea ... flirt with the girl. Kinda like they are at a bar on a Friday night just having a grand time and absolutely never one thought about the 2 groups waiting on the tee behind them. Talking instead of hitting. Going to each ball like a committee, watching and commenting after every shot. Texting or even sharing video's. These are the same people that drive their cart 3 feet off the cart path to get one step closer to the tee box and often drive right next to or even on the fringe of the green because they are selfish. Golf is not a social event, golf is a sport and I can't imagine any other sport where participants just chat away instead of playing, drink to excess and have no consideration for the rest of the people trying to play. Don't get me wrong, there can be and almost always is a social aspect to playing golf and there is plenty of time to talk and have fun between shots as long as you accomplish all of the above in 4 hours. I will add that almost without fail, when I am in a slow group and point out we are a hole behind and it is backing up on the tee box behind us (sometimes within the first 4 holes) they get this HUH? look on their face like I am speaking a foreign language and look back to the tee behind us for the very first time because it is something they just never consider and either shrug or say something like we lost  ball on the last hole and just fell behind a little but were fine. After the first tee they get to tee off without waiting and have no idea what it is like to wait on every shot because they never have to do it. In all my years of playing golf I have only played with one agonizingly slow and selfish group in Orlando that actually caught up to an even slower more selfish group and they were aghast at how slow the group they caught up to were. I simply could not help myself and had to laugh and tell them what they are feeling is what every single group behind them feels every time they play and they could ask the 2 groups waiting on every tee. Selfish. 

2) Actually a spin off of people are selfish is bad golfers taking forever. We all started at some point and were not very good. But they take 3 or more practice swings, freeze over the ball going through a mental check list then finally hit a shot that goes 25-50 yds, take a few after the shot practice swings then finally get to the ball and go through that all over again is just selfish. If you are going to play bad, just play bad quickly. Pick up your ball and move to the green and chip or putt. I have always felt like double par is plenty of strokes, so max is 6 on a par 3, 8 on a par 4 and 10 on a par 5, then pick up and move on if you are holding people up. Go to the range. Play an executive course or a wide open muni late in the day and only play 9 holes. Play a par 3 course. I play with high index bad golfers all the time that have no problem at all keeping up and ironically they seem to enjoy their round much more than the person agonizing over every shot. I have told the story of  3 gentleman from India I played with in LA that hit from the tips and probably didn't break 125, but they played fast and kept up to the group in front of us. They walked while each other where hitting , but never when I addressed a shot, so they were courteous but very fast. They said they knew they were bad and wanted to hit as many shots as they could. It was a fun 4 hours. 

... So in the end it is very simple. Just be aware of and courteous to the rest of the people playing golf and keep pace with the group in front of you. That will fix it 90% of the time. 

Edited by chisag
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I found some survey questions difficult to answer because of the required responses. The format locked you into a response that may not have fit the responders point of view. 

As a side note, my golf club complains about slow play every week, yet some of our members are the worst offenders and nothing is done to address this. 

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Great comments - yes when we have a great round going we can become slower, but once you discover most of those times your slowing down to analyze killed the round, you realize flow is everything.

Speed of play, flow starts with dropping off partner at his ball and going to hit yours - watch carts, they sit and yack and then go to the next players ball.

Change of rules is helping like flagstick in -  drop.

Does slow play impact game, complaint I hear the most, takes too long, not about rushing, twosome can play easy in 3 to 3 1/2 hours relaxing.

Tour pros -- putting routine, line on ball for lineup -- great aide but then watch public golf and see guys copy and many it does not matter - still miss.

More golf is more fun - the scores come from more play even those who do not work on their game get better playing more - therefore speeding up the game to me will lead to more golf, more satisfaction, more cash to courses.  

More rounds keep the cost down - dreamer maybe I am - and condition, even rough condition should not slow up play. 

Tough conditions, can impact speed of play, but then if golfers thrive on it and are prepared then does not slow down - you mark where your ball entered the rough, you make shots to the middle of the green. 

I am strong advocate of firm greens --- SEEMS TOO MANY EITHER THINK SOMEONE WILL COME OUT TO FIX THEIR MARKS or there are too many bad backs in my area of the country. 

Fast and firm greens ---  I know good and bad putting comes from my either having it or not - stroke and read.  .  

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pace of play is yuuuuuuge.  many of the poll answers made me wish of ra letter E option: all the above. 

We absolutely will not play courses with known slow play for whatever the cause. We feel that courses MUST do a better job with tee sheet and course conditions and that golfers Must take responsibility for the pace of play as well. a mutual education proboem, It's as if courses have thriwn their hands in the air and are afraid to tackle this as revenues and rounds have gone down. I understand that however, this is a part of the cause. (how about a national pledge that golfers MUST sign every time they check in?)

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At the city courses here in Tucson, walkers are allowed any day at any time and it's ridiculous. Get stuck behind people who are out for a stroll and occasionally hit a golf ball don't belong out there. I know I'll infuriate some folks but get your butt in a cart, get to the ball, hit it, and move on. If you want to walk, go elsewhere. There's nothing worse than getting behind a slow walker who thinks they're on the tour and takes all day to shoot 100.

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1 hour ago, Steve S said:

I don't play weekends much anymore due to slow play at some local courses.   I will play weekends at certain courses with my friends just because that is the only time they can play.

Even though I don't like slow play there was one time when it worked out for me.  I was playing really well.  Got to the the 14th at one under par.   Took 40 minutes to play 14 and I birdied it.  So I'm 2 under going to 15.  We look and there are 4 groups waiting on 15.  The guys I'm playing with look at me and " say we'll stay if you want to".  I said,  "no way.  If I have to play this slow for the last 4 holes I'm sure I'll screw up this round".  We went home and now I have a 2 under round to talk about.

A great round!!  Since you played at least 13 holes, you get to post your score for handicap purposes.  Based on your handicap and the handicaps of holes 15-18, you take either a par or a bogey on those holes.  

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Played in a scramble while at a business meeting at The Lake of the Ozarks. For some reason, the starter placed resort guests, with handicaps in the 30's,  in between our groups. It took 2 hours to play 3 holes! We quit and went back to the club house for refunds. The head pro apologized but refused to give us a refund! Luckily, I charged the fees and went back to the charge card issuer, who agreed with me and issued a refund. Will never go back again.

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, GilB said:

At the city courses here in Tucson, walkers are allowed any day at any time and it's ridiculous. Get stuck behind people who are out for a stroll and occasionally hit a golf ball don't belong out there. I know I'll infuriate some folks but get your butt in a cart, get to the ball, hit it, and move on. If you want to walk, go elsewhere. There's nothing worse than getting behind a slow walker who thinks they're on the tour and takes all day to shoot 100.

 

... Wow. Golf is meant to be walked and I find walkers are faster players than those in carts almost every single time. In my experience walkers are in better physical shape and move quickly. I hate carts, although many resort courses or courses with extremely long distances between greens and the next tee make them a necessity. But I hold no animosity against those that ride, although I will never understand young and in shape golfers riding in carts. 

Edited by chisag
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Several of your questions, such as no. 3, would have benefitted from multiple answers, or ranking of answers.  Slow play can be caused by a variety of things including the "idiots" answer, as well as the "wrong tees" answer. 

There is a local course offering 'Fast play Fridays'. You agree to keep a pace of 3.5 hours in order to play. If you fail, you will be removed from the courses, and given a restricted time raincheck. You will not be allowed to play again on a Friday. Not only is the course filled on Fridays, but the pace of play is excellent. 

More courses should have Pace of Play standards for critical tee times.

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I ride most of my rounds these days but I agree that walking is faster not to mention the health benefits. Honestly, I don't think carts are good for the course/turf. But still I ride. 

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13 minutes ago, GilB said:

At the city courses here in Tucson, walkers are allowed any day at any time and it's ridiculous. Get stuck behind people who are out for a stroll and occasionally hit a golf ball don't belong out there. I know I'll infuriate some folks but get your butt in a cart, get to the ball, hit it, and move on. If you want to walk, go elsewhere. There's nothing worse than getting behind a slow walker who thinks they're on the tour and takes all day to shoot 100.

I've been stuck behind MANY MORE slow players in carts than slow walkers.  

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Two of us can play our favorite course in Phoenix in under 3 1/2 hours when the course isn't busy.  When busy (spring), it sometimes takes 5 to 5 1/2 hours.  This is unacceptable!  it's no fun,  and you lose your rhythm and concentration.  Cause -- poor course management/scheduling, and golfers playing from the wrong tees. Too many golfers walk, dragging their knuckles,  to the back tee box and hit their drive off the fairway into the desert.   After a couple of holes, they're minimally a  hole behind the group in front of them.

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I see slow play and the amount of time it takes are two different factors.

Slow play is frustrating but only when etiquette and other procedures aren't followed.

Time (fast or slow) is a bigger factor in people not playing. Many times I don't have 3 hours to allow for golf either. People are busy.

To summarize: time and busy lives keep me from playing more than slow play does. However, I would like to see more intentionality into being time efficient over total time per round.

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Are you kidding me only 18% of all of these people think it’s the tees!!!!  That’s  90% of the trouble for us weekend players if you are always hitting a 3/4 iron into par 4’s then you need to move up playing from the wrong tees means harder 2nd shots and not reaching in 2 so when you don’t play from the right tees it pretty much means 2 extra shots per player not only making it take longer but also higher scores so let’s put the ego’s down and move up if you can’t reach the 150 marker  every drive then move up 

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I can tolerate a slower pace (+4 hours) as long as it is steady and consistent. The slow , go fast, screeching halt absolutely drives me stark raving mad.

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Also all courses should have a handicap system so when you check in with the starter he/ she sees that and puts you at the right tees 

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Posted (edited)

I think this topic is worn out (no offense to the author/creator of the survey). Slow play is here to stay for a number of reasons....

1. Most people think slow play applies only to the people ahead of them...nobody wants to reflect on how they could play faster themselves. I'm certainly guilty of this at times, because (see reason 2)

2. People who get out on the golf course and hold up everyone behind them are probably not watching a lot of golf coverage and hearing people talk about slow play...they're not on MGS reading a poll about slow play...they're not reading opinions in publications about slow play...they do not see the initiatives to increase pace (USGA ads, signs in the pro shops, etc...). The people who are the biggest problem have very little idea that they are the problem.

3. The only way to address slow play with people who are causing it is to confront them while they are doing it...and I don't know a way to do that without making the offending party embarrassed and a little resentful. I think golf courses are in a tough spot...they either go full-out and force groups to skip holes and ruffle some feathers, potentially losing return business, a bad review on a website, etc... OR they can be lenient and gentle in encouraging ready golf and have 5+ hour rounds.

4. Golf courses are culpable (I think) for how they schedule times and how then enforce starting times. I don't have the data, but I'm sure there's an optimal number for any given first hole on how long it should be between golfer 4 from group A's tee shot to golfer 1 from group B's tee shot. If golf courses do 20 minute intervals between foursomes, are you okay paying more so the course can make up lost revenue from having fewer groups? Also, if my group is an 11:55 start, and we're all ready to go at 11:47 so we tee off, who do we blame for catching the group ahead of us and having to wait? If a starter would have held us from starting early, we'd likely be more "on schedule" and not on the next group's heels right away.

5. I do agree that 2-person carts are used poorly. Sitting in the cart and watching someone else hit seems ridiculous. I love walking ahead to my ball with a rangefinder an a handful of clubs because stretching the old legs and walking a little feels good. But...if all groups aren't doing this, you're going to have traffic jams anyway.

 

It's a HUGELY complicated issue that goes beyond any one solution. I think if you have the right mind set, slow play doesn't have to be infuriating and ruin your round. If I get to spend 5 hours with my friends instead of 4, how is that a bad thing? 

 

Edited by towncryer

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My buddies always book the 8:00 am tee time to make sure we can be done in under 4 hours. Personally, I'm OK with anything under 4:30. It's not the extra time on the course that annoys me it's losing your momentum during the round and it makes it harder to play a good round. 

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, lacou19 said:

My buddies always book the 8:00 am tee time to make sure we can be done in under 4 hours. Personally, I'm OK with anything under 4:30. It's not the extra time on the course that annoys me it's losing your momentum during the round and it makes it harder to play a good round. 

Just my opinion...but when I reflect on slow play ruining my momentum, I usually find that I let it ruin my momentum. If I'm waiting on a group, I try really hard not to focus all my attention on the fact that I'm waiting. I bust out the ol' smartphone and scan Instagram. I walk around a little, I talk to another person in my group, I watch another group on another hole hit tee shots...but sitting in a cart or standing by my bag and staring at the group ahead of me usually hurts how I'm playing more than the fact that they're slow. 

Edited by towncryer

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