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Actual Pace of Play Solutions You've Seen Implemented?

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One course i visited many years ago had signs on several tees saying something like...

'As a guide to pace of play, you should ideally be less than 3hrs into your round at this point'

No idea if it worked, but as a gentle reminder it seemed like a good idea.

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One of the biggest issues I see is people not ready to tee off.   Yesterday, from another hole we were playing, I watched a foursome take 4-5 minutes to hit all of their tee shots.   

I cant fathom why it takes so long to tee off.  

I suppose another pet peeve is looking for balls that go in the water.  It's in the water...drop another ball and keep moving.  If I could ban one thing from the golf course it would be ball retrievers.  

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Searching for lost balls is one of the biggest factors for slow play I see routinely. Unfortunately, the rules of golf will never be able to adequately address this issue since the average recreational golfer is only vaguely familiar with the rules and seldom enforces them as written. It's left up to the golf courses and individual players to resolve these issues which means that things aren't likely to change anytime soon...

I'm with you though. If I can't find a ball within a minute or two (even if I am relatively certain it's only just missed the fairway), I take a drop and continue on. No need to hold anyone up or continue to frustrate myself looking for a ball that doesn't want to be found lol

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On 5/18/2019 at 10:47 AM, g-off said:

Enforcement seems to be a big issue, one of the muni's near me had a younger guy last year who tried to enforce slow play, the key word was try.  He had one group pick up and go to the next tee box on the third hole to speed things up on a saturday, we never saw him at work again.  The other "marshalls" pretty much just drive around and wave at people, apparently when you have three open holes and two groups on a tee box that is normal?  The crazy thing is its also an etiquette thing, but I believe ego is worse, playing from the tips, stalking each putt before you three jack from 10 feet.  Heard some of the older players sticking to the time on the scorecard as the reason for not allowing faster players through, not sure what the best answer is.

Yep. At the public course where I play Saturday mornings the owner is more afraid that people will get offended by a marshal prodding them and not return than he is that people will get fed up with slow play and not return. So the marshals just observe. It’s the classic management mistake of hoping for A while rewarding for B.

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I think the '3 minute' search limit has helped a little, but only works if you set a timer of some sort (add it as a feature to golf watches maybe?), although it had raised awateness a little.  Also the 2 shot 'stroke and distance penalty' helps a bit with casual games.

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I despise slow play and ball retrievers. Personally what I try to do is Mark down scores and bag my putter at the next tee box. Play ready golf! Who really cares if two or three guys are hitting at the same time! A casual look for a lost ball, if you have to walk around in the junk or the woods, you won't be able to hit the sucker anyhow. There's a reason there's 12 balls in a box.

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Our company just started a casual "league", and our last round we were real slow. Our group is two mid-low handicappers, and the rest are comfortably double digits. Primary offender was one guy in particular, looking for errant shots for waaay too long. I honestly think he's just unaware of the fact that he's taking so many practice swings and taking so long looking for his ball. He made a few comments apologizing for his slow play and just picked up on one hole. Combination of not knowing drop rules and looking for balls there's no chance of finding I think is the biggest issue.

You could tell the rest of the group was feeling uncomfortable with our pace though. Looking back I wish I would have said something during the round to encourage quicker pace, but I think it's probably something we're gonna have to bring up in the next week or two.

On a side note, I do think it's pretty remarkable how few casual golfers know the basic OB/lost ball/penalty rules. Honestly I didn't even know them until the last year or two. Maybe some sort of education to the below average golfer would help, although for groups primarily trying to crush Natty Lite and find more balls than they lose, I'm not sure they'd care.

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3 hours ago, clafoone said:

I despise slow play and ball retrievers. Personally what I try to do is Mark down scores and bag my putter at the next tee box. Play ready golf! Who really cares if two or three guys are hitting at the same time! A casual look for a lost ball, if you have to walk around in the junk or the woods, you won't be able to hit the sucker anyhow. There's a reason there's 12 balls in a box.
 

 

... I have never owned one and never will but I have no problem with ball retrievers as long as they are used to retrieve your ball or your partners ball. I have seen golfers pull out their retriever, scoop up their ball, drop and hit their shot taking very little time. The problem comes from those selfish people that hawk water balls. Played with a guy in Phoenix that fished out a full dozen balls, actually skipping playing the hole and caused 2 groups to back up on the tee. Common courtesy and common sense should be applied to all facets of golf and that includes using retrievers. 

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I joined a private club this year that has slow play rules.  Rounds must be played in 4 hours and 15 minutes.  If you go over you will get an email, second time a written warning, third time must meet with a committee and banned from play for 2 weeks.  Longest round I have had is 3 hours and 50 minutes with a packed course that day.  When I played local public courses four and a half hours was good while most were over five hours.

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17 minutes ago, ED13 said:

I joined a private club this year that has slow play rules.  Rounds must be played in 4 hours and 15 minutes.  If you go over you will get an email, second time a written warning, third time must meet with a committee and banned from play for 2 weeks.  Longest round I have had is 3 hours and 50 minutes with a packed course that day.  When I played local public courses four and a half hours was good while most were over five hours.

Very similar set-up to my home club.  We bought new carts this spring.  The GPS units have a monitoring device that beeps and flashes red lettering reading "you are 15 minutes off pace."  Too many "bad times" will result in loss of playing privileges much like you suggest.  

We don't have a big problem with pace of play but it can be an issue at certain times on weekends.  It's usually the same groups every time holding up play.  Those guys are slowly being weeded out.  

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41 minutes ago, ED13 said:

I joined a private club this year that has slow play rules.  Rounds must be played in 4 hours and 15 minutes.  If you go over you will get an email, second time a written warning, third time must meet with a committee and banned from play for 2 weeks.  Longest round I have had is 3 hours and 50 minutes with a packed course that day.  When I played local public courses four and a half hours was good while most were over five hours.

When I played at Oakmont they have a similar policy, the caddy was rushing us a bit so that our host didnt get a letter. (Meanwhile our host was like do whatever, I really don't care) my only issue with the caddy rushing us was that the group in front of us was the slower paced group, so caddy would want us to be hitting in to the green as they were walking off. 

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43 minutes ago, ED13 said:

I joined a private club this year that has slow play rules.  Rounds must be played in 4 hours and 15 minutes.  If you go over you will get an email, second time a written warning, third time must meet with a committee and banned from play for 2 weeks.  Longest round I have had is 3 hours and 50 minutes with a packed course that day.  When I played local public courses four and a half hours was good while most were over five hours.

 

23 minutes ago, sixcat said:

Very similar set-up to my home club.  We bought new carts this spring.  The GPS units have a monitoring device that beeps and flashes red lettering reading "you are 15 minutes off pace."  Too many "bad times" will result in loss of playing privileges much like you suggest.  

We don't have a big problem with pace of play but it can be an issue at certain times on weekends.  It's usually the same groups every time holding up play.  Those guys are slowly being weeded out.  

I've mentioned in other similar threads, but their is a muni in Jefferson City, MO that I played a couple times in grad school. They had a time clock near the club house. You had to stamp your card just before teeing off, at the turn, and after 18. They had a similar system of penalties where you would be invited not to play there if you were part of a group with more than a certain number of bad times. It seemed to work as both times I played there were packed Saturdays and we just kept moving. This solution plus the two quoted above work because the course enforces the their rules rather than just having "suggested" pace of play. IMO, it's all about how the course chooses to enforce or not enforce pace of play.

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On 6/30/2019 at 8:46 AM, ncwoz said:

Our company just started a casual "league", and our last round we were real slow. Our group is two mid-low handicappers, and the rest are comfortably double digits. Primary offender was one guy in particular, looking for errant shots for waaay too long. I honestly think he's just unaware of the fact that he's taking so many practice swings and taking so long looking for his ball. He made a few comments apologizing for his slow play and just picked up on one hole. Combination of not knowing drop rules and looking for balls there's no chance of finding I think is the biggest issue.

You could tell the rest of the group was feeling uncomfortable with our pace though. Looking back I wish I would have said something during the round to encourage quicker pace, but I think it's probably something we're gonna have to bring up in the next week or two.

On a side note, I do think it's pretty remarkable how few casual golfers know the basic OB/lost ball/penalty rules. Honestly I didn't even know them until the last year or two. Maybe some sort of education to the below average golfer would help, although for groups primarily trying to crush Natty Lite and find more balls than they lose, I'm not sure they'd care.

In situations like you mention above, I think it's important to simply have a brief meeting with all league participants to go over some of the basic rules and establish any league rules you want to apply. Perhaps picking up after reaching double bogey on any hole for instance. I'd certainly have a conversation with whoever is organizing your league if pace is as bad as you say it is. Plus, you don't want that one guy to bail because he feels so bad or embarrassed. If the goal is to bring more people to the game - even at a casual level - then some of us "better" (I use that term loosely - at least for myself) golfers need to encourage a bit more fun and a little less adherence to the normal rules in situations like this.

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21 minutes ago, TR1PTIK said:

In situations like you mention above, I think it's important to simply have a brief meeting with all league participants to go over some of the basic rules and establish any league rules you want to apply. Perhaps picking up after reaching double bogey on any hole for instance. I'd certainly have a conversation with whoever is organizing your league if pace is as bad as you say it is. Plus, you don't want that one guy to bail because he feels so bad or embarrassed. If the goal is to bring more people to the game - even at a casual level - then some of us "better" (I use that term loosely - at least for myself) golfers need to encourage a bit more fun and a little less adherence to the normal rules in situations like this.

That's a great point. I'll have to talk with the organizer and see if we can't come up with a decent solution

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The best result I’ve seen is with a combination of active and passive management of pace of play.

 

Passive-

 

1. Posting reminders and recommended behavior at strategic locations throughout the course.

 

2. Golf Course Ambassadors routinely present and visible on the course.

 

3. Local rule prohibiting a specific hole score greater than triple bogey.

 

4. Local rule mandating the use of drop areas over re-teeing wayward shots.

 

Active-

 

1. Golf Course Ambassadors engaging slow groups.

 

2. Golf Course personnel reminding groups of pace of play expectations at every touch point and thanking (important) those who are exceeding expectations.

 

3. Rewarding groups with a free beverage if the complete their round in under an established designed time.

 

Bad for Business Great for Pace

 

1. No alcohol

 

2. No Range Finders

 

3. No tobacco products.

 

 

 

Doing nothing will more times than not result in an undesirable or unwanted something ;). No decision is still a decision.

 

 

 

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Had a new one to me and my group last week at local muni, ranger comes up to us on 18 tee chatting about the weather and such asked how the day was going pointed out this was the first we'd seen of a ranger all day and that we'd been waiting behind this group since the third hole, saw them teeing off when we got to the course.  He asked our tee time and pointed out that we just unfortunately are playing quicker than the pace of play.  I told him that I never knew you were supposed to abide by the recommended pace of play as they are more of a guideline to keep things moving.  He "suddenly"  got a radio call and had to go.  

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30 minutes ago, g-off said:

Had a new one to me and my group last week at local muni, ranger comes up to us on 18 tee chatting about the weather and such asked how the day was going pointed out this was the first we'd seen of a ranger all day and that we'd been waiting behind this group since the third hole, saw them teeing off when we got to the course.  He asked our tee time and pointed out that we just unfortunately are playing quicker than the pace of play.  I told him that I never knew you were supposed to abide by the recommended pace of play as they are more of a guideline to keep things moving.  He "suddenly"  got a radio call and had to go.  

 

... Pace of play time is a standard for most courses. I no longer play a local muni with a 4:20 POP time as it just invites longer rounds. Playing at my favorite local course Prairie Bluff, we were a 3 some behind these complete a$$holes we caught up to on the back 9 that were taking forever, the ranger asked them if we could play through and they said NO! Ranger came back and told us they were just barely under the POP time so there was nothing he could do. I know him and he said "they seem like really a$$holes". We told him they were driving their carts right next to tee boxes and greens so to his credit, he went back and told them carts must remain 30 feet from tees/greens.  They did that on the next hole on #14  but when the ranger drove off they went right back to greens/tees on the next hole and the rest of the round til 18, which is close to the clubhouse. All in their 60's from Las Vegas. Some people are just not meant to be on a golf course. 

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The last couple posts have me curious about everyone's opinion.  No one likes excessive wait times I get that.  But is the specific length of time for a round that important as well?  For example, you tee off with your regular foursome.  There's no one in front of you so you aren't waiting at all.  At the end, you find it has taken your group over 4.5 hours.  Are you upset it took "so long" to play the round?  What about 4 hours? Or 4.3167 hours?  The point of listening to a piece of music isn't to get to the end as quickly as possible, but rather the experience of the whole song.  I know people have busy lives and need to get on with it, but don't we play this game to enjoy the entirety of the round?  Playing by myself on a cart with no one in front of me, I can play 18 holes in under 2:30.  But that's playing speed golf, not focusing on the game, and flat out rushing between shots.  By the 14th hole I'm just about worn out and slow down considerably.  I enjoy the game more when I moderate my pace and play the game rather than playing to a time.

Ultimately, my point is perhaps we get too focused on setting a specific time for a round (see chisag's example) as opposed to efforts to alleviate bottlenecks on the course.  Maybe phrasing the question in this way would help refocus how we think about the issue and potential solutions.  My apologies for the long post and derailing the thread.

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Keep pace with the group in front, within 4-4.5 hours and life is good.
Anything more screws up my game, and it's bad enough.
If you want to take your time, book a tee time at 6am, and play by yourself.

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39 minutes ago, TwoCoatsOfWax said:

The last couple posts have me curious about everyone's opinion.  No one likes excessive wait times I get that.  But is the specific length of time for a round that important as well?  For example, you tee off with your regular foursome.  There's no one in front of you so you aren't waiting at all.  At the end, you find it has taken your group over 4.5 hours.  Are you upset it took "so long" to play the round?  What about 4 hours? Or 4.3167 hours?  The point of listening to a piece of music isn't to get to the end as quickly as possible, but rather the experience of the whole song.  I know people have busy lives and need to get on with it, but don't we play this game to enjoy the entirety of the round?  Playing by myself on a cart with no one in front of me, I can play 18 holes in under 2:30.  But that's playing speed golf, not focusing on the game, and flat out rushing between shots.  By the 14th hole I'm just about worn out and slow down considerably.  I enjoy the game more when I moderate my pace and play the game rather than playing to a time.

 

... You may a great point! Time itself is kinda relative. I have played very enjoyable 4.5 hour rounds on the weekend where everything moved at a slow but steady pace. I have played 4 hour rounds that seemed to take forever because we were all god players and it was a lot of stop and go in front of us. I played behind a group a few weeks ago that were agonizingly slow from tee to green and then putted like they were late to work. Standing around on the tee and in the fairway, waiting while they took 3, 4 or 5 practice swings and then hit poor shots only to repeat the practice swing saga on the next hole is very frustrating.

... And we have all been behind the opposite. Playing at a good pace til reaching the green where putts are stalked from every angle and ready only when it is their turn. I really don't care for betting players on the greens when their 3rd putt is still analyzed like an eagle to win The Open because a "push" is on the line. I think many of us look at golf like an athletic event and getting into a rhythm is essential both physically and mentally to play well and enjoy the round. I know some are just social golfers and riding in carts, drinking and enjoying the day, so a rhythm isn't always necessary for the and it has been my experience that most don't give a rats a$$ about the golfers behind them.  

... Playing alone is a different animal imo. I walk with a remote controlled cart, usually shooting around par and the holes go quickly when you are hitting fairways and greens. So playing around 2 hours without rushing is pretty normal. Other days I like to play a practice round alone so I'll take several shots at any location and those rounds last much longer. The point being, even alone there are factors that come into play as to how long a round will take. Add a bunch of people at varying skill levels and different reasons for playing and time can be quite different. I think 4 hours is a nice compromise and a goal for playing a normal round. But if nobody is behind you, play at whatever pace makes the day the most enjoyable for you and/or your friends. 

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