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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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I think people playing the game with poor etiquette is the biggest cause of slow play on regular courses.  I do however think that the coverage of golf has had an affect on it.  Way too many people play the way they see tour guys play, they (myself included)  don't have the control over the game to necessitate reading a green from 4 directions, calculating their yardage to =/- 1 yard.  They don't have the control to need that because they can't hit a one yard window even if they knew their exact yardage.  People thinking they can hit it 325 yards cause they did it that one time back in 1994 slows play, people not playing ready golf causes slow play, looking forever for their ball with no regard for holding up people behind them. Ball retrievers in general always cause slow play.  That is the cause of slow play for most golfers.  

Personally I have thought for a while if the stations showed less of guys calculating their yardage, reading greens and all that, average joe would spend less time on Sunday morning doing the same while they are out there shooting 98.  I don't know a single person that would rather watch Tiger or Phil read a putt or choose a club than watch the rest of the guys on the leaderboard hit actual golf shots.  Golf telecasts could show two or three times as many shots if they would cut all the boring crap out of the video.  In theory, that would make golf more watchable, less boring and we as spectators wouldn't mind nearly as much if watching the final round took 5 or 6 hours.  Why can't a tour pro be reading their putt while others are putting, they want rounds done in under 6 hours but almost none of them ever do this.  Why??? 

I play to about an 8 now(kids don't help hdcp), last summer I played two very difficult courses from the tips, shot 84 on both but got both rounds done in under an hour and 40 minutes.  Playing from the wrong tees or too far back isn't the biggest problem in golf as long as you play ready golf.  

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Your position on the golf course is right behind the group in front of you, not right in front of the group behind you.


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I can only speak of what I know from personal observations. I have belonged to a Golf Club for close to twenty years and managed a league about the same length of time. The primary complaint I hear every year is slow play. It's the topic that comes up again and again. The course we play is relatively short however, very unforgiving; tight fairways, long rough, and pretend sand traps (dead pan). The course lay out is the predominate reason for slow play. However, there are also other factors, my wife and I routinely walk the course is less than four hours during non-peak times.  We are both high handicappers 17 and 21 and in our sixties. We play ready golf, take extra balls, and don't worry about well hidden balls, we think lateral hazard and move on. In the same light the General Manager of club does not see slow play as an issue, does not have a course Marshall and only uses a starter on weekends. The league has been loosing members steady the past few years, slow play is not the only  reason for the decline. However, it is has been a significant reason. I believe slow play is a symptom, not a cause. This year I'm moving the league to another course.

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Did an intern write the survey? Nos. 1 and 2 are not questions. No. 3 asks for multiple causes, and then allows only one selection. 

Golf is doomed.

 

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It's definitely a touchy subject. I know locally here there's no Marshall and hasn't been for a while.

For people like most of us on this forum we want to play our game and not have to constantly wait behind slower groups. I understand this and no doubt it's annoying as hell.

But then there's my brother in law who decided a few years back he wanted to learn to play. I took him to the range a few times and he wasn't necessarily bad but he was just starting out.

I took him out to the course and we were only him and I and in front of us was another twosome and ahead of them a foursome. I knew it would be a slow and figured it would be a good time to teach.

So we are on hole 2 which crosses between 1 and 3 so people on those 3 holes can cross paths.

Behind us was a foursome who's average age of the group was somewhere around 80. We finished up 2 with the old folks behind us waiting on the tee box. I waved basically acknowledging the slow play but we weren't slow. We got to 3 and the 2 people in front of us were waiting because of the foursome in front of them. One of the old ladies from the group behind us comes up to me in her cart and says "hey can you guys hurry the hell up?" (Sidenote: She might have been in a hurry because there was a golden girls marathon on later that day)

So I told her "did you not see the 2 groups in front of us?" And she just looked pissed and drove off.

So we ended up playing with the 2 guys who were in front of us and waited constantly because the group in front of us would not let us through.

My brother in law got home after that experience and never pulled out another golf club or set foot in a golf club.

So we can sit here and argue the annoyance of waiting and slow pace of play but if more people don't pick up golf we are in danger of losing the sport we love.

I golf to get away from the stresses of life. I don't want to play rounds in 3 hours! I want to relax and if I'm there 4 hours I don't care because I'm on the golf course playing the sport I love. If you go to the golf course planning on hurrying up you aren't taking time to enjoy the game. You are pushing potential new players off the course and possibly moving your local club to close.

My opinion is this: If money isn't an issue, you open a 3-6 hole course if 1 par 3 and 1 par 5 for people who can't break 100 or are just starting out OR get a couple of HD Golf simulators for the club where newbies can be tought and play OR just deal with it. Instead of bitching about the play take a deep breath, look at and enjoy the view. Think about where you are and how lucky you are to be playing the best sport out there!

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There's 2 questions I really wish had an "all of the above" option. Thanks for putting this together Barbajo.

Courses going to a 7 minute window from 10 years ago just to cram bodies out there doesn't help anything either. Courses need to police things better, we're paying them to do a job too. Maybe the USGA needs to do more to encourage official handicapping and that could be a fix to this, in part.


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I am a senior golfer who is semi-retired and owns a small business. My business is conducted by appointment only, so I have control over my schedule. I have given up on playing on the weekends, it is painfully slow. The only time I can play a round in under 4.5 hours is before 10 am on Saturday. Forget Sunday - 5-6 hours. Unfortunately those Saturday early tee times are usually booked by course regulars and are rarely available.

I usually play one morning (Tuesday or Wednesday) and on Friday afternoons around 1 pm. My friends and I know the courses we can play in about 4 hours and we frequent those courses. Occasionally we will play a course we know will be slow but try to go at a time when we have the best chance of not being held up. Most courses book tee times 8 minutes apart which is OK unless some group plays so slow that they get 2 or more holes behind. The courses we prefer will keep a group like that moving or make them skip a hole to catch up. I would prefer 10 minutes between tee times, generally those courses cost a lot more.

I am not sure what can be done to speed up pace of play on courses that don't care about getting people to play a 4 hour round. One suggestion is to require courses to report the time of their average round during the week and on weekends so that golfers will know going in what they are in for if they book a tee time. It might make more courses pay more attention to pace of play and allocate resources (marshal's) to maintain a good pace. Course design also plays a part and I see many courses in our area taking steps to increase pace of play by converting sand bunkers to grass bunkers, providing drop areas on par 3's with water fronting the green and generally using common sense allow golfers to play by the rules but not slow the course down. The new shorter lost ball time and the stroke and distance change should help.

 

 

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I really think that the biggest need is for people to play ready golf like they have somewhere they need to be after the round!   Over the years I have played with hundreds of different people.  Ready golf seems to stop after the tee box for most people.  When I would say to people I like to play ready golf almost everyone would say we do too.  What I observed though was that almost everyone really means by that is they ignore honors on the tee.  They always waited for the order of play in the fairways and very rarely were ready to hit when it was their turn.  When I moved past them to my ball and got ready to hit some even got miffed.  I hope the new rules make it clear that that is the way we need to be playing!  


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Slow play is really hurting golf as it is driving away the current generation from golf.  Taking 4+ hrs for rounds is intolerable to most of the millenials. They drive fast, do everything fast except golf and it drives them crazy.  I have played several rounds in the last few weeks in Palm Springs and Las Vesgas.  I saw several groups quit when the round got bogged down.  The Marshall's won't do much as afraid to lose business.  The current breed who are playing now are loud and obnoxious with cursing and playing music and drinking. Theydo not care about time unless you hold them up even though you are waiting on the group in front of you.  Golf will continue to retract as long as this trend continues. 

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What I find funny, is that @ some point these cry babies were the very ones who were slower than better players with a fast pace of play !!

I'm not a low handicapper, but if a group plays up our backside I the 1st to suggest we let them play through.  Never fails someone in our group will say; "They need to play a more challenging course or set of tees to match others pace."

It's hard to argue when your buddies have a decent point..

Letting someone play through slow down our round than it does speed up theirs.

Just my  2 cents worth


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I think it is more an issue for public play than on PGA TOUR (other tours).

Personally I couldn't care less if the last group or others take a bit longer, but I also love watching golf.

As long as they are working towards the goal, I haven't often seen anything I couldn't live with.

In real life ..... mostly just an issue when one group is causing a logjam, but they pay like everyone else ...... do you just remove them from the course or tell them to enact a stroke limit on themselves?  Usually it isn't a case of they are intentionally playing slower than their skill allows.

 


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As a Player Assistant/Starter at a walking-only links style course, I often see a number of issues creating slower* than normal play: 

*"Slower than Normal" on our course is defined as 5.5-6 hours to complete 18 holes.

1. Playing from the wrong tees. If your average drive is 200 yds, and you're not consistently striking the ball from the fairway, you shouldn't be playing from the tips. 

2. Not playing with intention: You've seen those foursomes who cluster around each other instead of heading for their own ball, and hit 10+ "mulligans" per round. This slows the pace substantially for every group behind them. (And if you launch your ball onto hillsides, or waste areas, consider taking a drop with a penalty stroke, instead of taking four attempts and five extra minutes to get out of the rough stuff.)

3. Sticking with "honors" on the tee, and "who's away" through the green. Play "Ready Golf", with courtesy, awareness, and communication. 

4. Stay in contact (1 or 2 shots behind) the group ahead of yours, rather than keeping just ahead of the group behind. And if a marshal/ranger/player assistant/starter requests that you pick up your pace, please don't respond with, "We paid our green fees, and we're going to take as much time as we want!" 

Believe me, you can still have a relaxing, fun round of golf even with following these guidelines, and so will the players lucky enough to be behind you!

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slow play is the death of golf. I call up courses, and ask how long the rounds are taking. If it's over 4 hours, I move on. If I can't find a course that is playing at a reasonable pace, forget it, I'll do something else.

Many of my friends have quit golf, not because they don't love it, but they don't have 5 hours to play. It should not take that long at all.

Waiting 10 minutes to take a shot is ridiculous. I can play 18 holes in 2.5 hours by myself with two balls per hole. 

My friend and I play regularly 2.5 hour rounds, and he is a bogey golfer.

There is a massive issue with slow play. There needs to be rangers that force people to skip a hole. Also, golfers need to be told a few things.

  1. If a group is behind you constantly, and waiting you are playing too slow.
  2. Let groups that are fast ahead of you.
  3. Keep up the pace with the group ahead of you
  4. Play the correct tees for your handicap
  5. Pick up the ball and go to the next hole if you are looking at double par for the hole. 
  6. You do not need 5 minutes to read a putt. Look, make a decision, and putt
  7. Play ready golf. Drop off the back player, and drive to your ball. He will walk up to you after he hits, while you are hitting.
  8. you are not part of a gallery. You do not need to watch your friends all hit their shots.
  9. A 10 swing pre-shot routine is excessive. play ready golf.
  10. If you can't find your ball in 5 minutes, drop and move on.
  11. Don't dig through the woods/heather/weeds to restock your bag with golf balls.
  12. Know your yardage for each club. 
  13. If you are playing with an App, that requires you to put in every shot, and every ball location, you better be fast at it. 

Furthermore, there is a phenomena with leagues. They are painfully slow. I subbed in a league once where 9 holes took almost 3.5 hours! that is insane. I never subbed again in that league. I would rather not play golf then sit in a cart, hit my ball, and then wait. that is not golf.

I once went out to play two hours after a league went off, I caught them at the 5th hole. Two hours to play five holes. that is just terrible.

I do not think hacker golf is necessarily the problem. I play with some hackers that are new to the game. And they have been taught that even if you are not good, you play fast. Skull your ball 20 yards? Grab your next club and start walking. Hit it fat into the water, grab that extra ball out of your pocket and walk over and drop it. Too many golfers don't know you must play quickly.

If pace of play does not get addressed, people will forget about golf. It will end up like bowling. No one will want to do it except to be silly and to goof off. 

It is the greatest game, where you can enjoy it at all ages. 

 

 

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Good poll. I am not as aggravated with marginal slow play, as much as some of other players. When it gets to the point of ridiculous then my BP goes up a tad. One thing I have notice is that at times golf etiquette is taking a beating. Slow players letting faster groups play through seems to be a lost concept. I notice that at my home course, and also when I play other tracks. That gets under my skin. On the other hand the prima donna concept bothers me too. That is when slower play is caused by a persons ability. And people complain about them, and treat the lesser player like a second class golfer. That's wrong!!!! They have paid their membership fee or green fees like anyone else. They deserve as much right out there as a scratch player. If you don't think so, then you have a problem. Enjoy the upcoming season for all you Spy guys and gals from the North. Also, to all you folks from the warmer climes, hope you are enjoying your season and YES, I am jealous!!!


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Slow play usually happens when people who do not know how to play golf go on the course and try to do so.  Public/semi-private courses should have some kind of policy to require non-golfers to pick up after double par. 


"There is not such thing as a bad day on the golf course!"

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4 minutes ago, Padreruf said:

Slow play usually happens when people who do not know how to play golf go on the course and try to do so.  Public/semi-private courses should have some kind of policy to require non-golfers to pick up after double par. 

That's actually a really good idea, particularly when the course is busy.  I think most golfers try to be patient when they see others in learning mode, what you're calling non-golfers, as we were all there at one time.  Golf courses should consider listing this as policy.  Obviously they have no way of knowing a players skill level, but they could state this as an expected condition of play and marshalls could help enforce that.


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9 hours ago, Majmike said:

Slow play is really hurting golf as it is driving away the current generation from golf.  Taking 4+ hrs for rounds is intolerable to most of the millenials. They drive fast, do everything fast except golf and it drives them crazy.  I have played several rounds in the last few weeks in Palm Springs and Las Vesgas.  I saw several groups quit when the round got bogged down.  The Marshall's won't do much as afraid to lose business.  The current breed who are playing now are loud and obnoxious with cursing and playing music and drinking. Theydo not care about time unless you hold them up even though you are waiting on the group in front of you.  Golf will continue to retract as long as this trend continues. 

Interesting.  While I don't think it's fair to paint any one generation with too broad a brush, you may have touched on something as it relates to speed of play and golf etiquette.  


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:ping-small: G400 SFT, 16 Degree 3w

:ping-small: G400 SFT, 19 Degree 5w

:ping-small: G410 Irons 4-UW 

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1 hour ago, Padreruf said:

Slow play usually happens when people who do not know how to play golf go on the course and try to do so.  Public/semi-private courses should have some kind of policy to require non-golfers to pick up after double par. 

I think that may be a pretty big generalization. I think a bigger issue is guys that are decent players, but don't care. I've seen and played with plenty of bad golfers that are quick players. 


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In Germany, you can't play golf until you have learned and passed a test on golf etiquette.  We need that here.  I see so many foursomes who have no clue on how to play.  All four go to each ball and 3 guys stand there and watch the other guy hit instead of each going to their ball while their fourth is hitting.  And people don't know how to use a cart.  You drop the shortest ball hitter off and go to your ball.  He walks to the cart after hitting and while you are hitting.  How difficult is that?

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7 minutes ago, Ying Yang said:

In Germany, you can't play golf until you have learned and passed a test on golf etiquette.  We need that here.  I see so many foursomes who have no clue on how to play.  All four go to each ball and 3 guys stand there and watch the other guy hit instead of each going to their ball while their fourth is hitting.  And people don't know how to use a cart.  You drop the shortest ball hitter off and go to your ball.  He walks to the cart after hitting and while you are hitting.  How difficult is that?

I belonged to a private club that was similar.  No test involved, but you weren't allowed to play until after an interview with the head pro who explained his expectations for each golfer.  He also stressed that known slow players couldn't get a prime tee time.  Helped immensely!  Of course, that's back when private clubs had waiting lines and were run by the pro, not the management team worried about pissing off members.

Ready golf and proper use of a cart makes a huge difference.


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Hybrids: :taylormade-small: M6 --- 3 (19 degrees), 4 (22 degrees), and 5 (25 degrees) Atmos shaft R

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