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Pace of Play Question


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Heads up! This will be a long one but I want to get some opinions on something that happened over the past 5 days while I was in Branson on a guys golf trip.  I would like to say first of all, that I understand that courses need to maintain a reasonable pace of play and that slow play can really detract from a golfing experience. I did a search for an existing thread but couldn't find anything so if there is another thread to post this please just let me know! 

Without further ado, here is what happened: 

My buddies and I were in two separate groups, tee times of 10 minutes apart and there were seven of us, a foursome and a threesome. As the foursome got going first there was a twosome ahead of them by a hole and a half. As the round continued the foursome fell behind the maximum allowed pace of play of 4 1/2 hours by about 10 minutes. The catch was is that the entire course was cart-path only, so naturally it took a little longer. I was in the second group, a threesome and as we drove up to the 14 tee box a course marshal met us and told us the group ahead had been forced to move a hole ahead, thereby skipping 14. As these were our friends we asked why? And were told that they enforce a strict pace of play for the course and golfers who cannot keep pace will be asked to skip a hole. At the time I had not seen the warning for this on the scorecard or the GPS system that is in the cart. 

We ended up completing our round about 10 behind pace but were not being pushed by the twosome behind us.  As we were walking off of the green two of the course workers came up and asked us to unload our stuff as they were short on carts for the next group going out. We were told that they had over 200 people coming out to play the course that day and were in desperate need of additional carts. Ok, whatever, we unloaded our stuff and went to see how our other group was doing having had to skip a hole.  Found them talking to the pro shop guy. Here were the reasons he said they made them skip a hole: 

1. They were warned via the GPS messaging system 2 times

2. They had fallen behind the group ahead of them. (A twosome and only by half a hole since they started so these guys were also off pace.)

3. Average pace of play for the last month had been 4 1/2 hours. 

Like I said before, I get that courses at locations such as Branson need to ensure a quality experience and a reasonable pace of play but this whole situation seemed to be related to two things to me, an overbooked tee sheet and an unrealistic expectation of a foursome's pace when it is cart-path only on a pretty tough course. Compounding our frustration is that one of our guys was playing the round of his life, +1 through 13 and ended up having to skip a hole during a memorable round... He finished +6

 

Were my dudes wrong to be so upset? I don't feel as though they were in the wrong but I do not know much about how to run a golf course. I know that pace of play can be a touchy subject which is why I am asking  my fellow spies about it 🙂  It is also why I have spent an hour writing this post.  Thoughts my peeps?

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I think because it was cart path only this is on the course. Reasonable pace of play goes out the window in those conditions. The management should know better.

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Wish this was done at every course. Pace of play would no longer be an issue. 

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24 minutes ago, DiscipleofPenick said:

I think because it was cart path only this is on the course. Reasonable pace of play goes out the window in those conditions. The management should know better.

That’s kind of where we landed in our discussions afterwards, i get slow play is an issue but you can’t expect a foursome to keep up with a twosome even on days where it isn’t cart path only. 

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Several things come to mind here.

1. Obviously they needed carts back quickly thus extra pressure on the course to get them back so not to upset waiting golfers. You wouldn't want to be the guy ready to play a bucket list course that you paid good money for and had to wait for a cart. 

2. If the cart got warnings to keep up pace of play and they couldn't due to the twosome being in range. That should have been brought up to the marshal. But they can tell where each cart is on the course so they must have known there was a gap building.

3. A foursome can not keep up with a twosome unless the twosome was behind a foursome and had to wait on shots. Then the slow play warning is correct.

4. If everyone was cart path only then all things are equal and the entire course would be roughly at the same pace of play assuming most groups were foursomes.

I was asked to pick up pace of play once by a Marshal and he said it was the first warning. The next would cause us to pick up and skip a hole. I then told him to look down the fairway and start with that group because we can't pick up the pace that's why we are standing here waiting. He apologized and went after the correct group. 

I have also played an empty course and the cart sent a message that our group was behind. But the course was empty and we were taking our time. It's just a built in program with timers. We caused no delays and the warnings were not enforced. 

But when you do get messages in the cart usually someone is watching and being notified. Some courses take this pretty seriously. If you get a message you really need to pick up the pace. You will see this as a common practice on most of the bucket list courses.

Sorry that happen to your buddies.

   

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If the course was that crowded then the twosome in front of your group should have been on the heels of the group in front of them so they should have been able to keep up.  I have seen courses advertise that they will give warnings and direct groups to skip holes but have never seen it done.  Generally the resort type courses seem to be more forgiving since they don't want the bad reviews this might bring.        While you didn't see a message on the GPS,  did the foursome see the two messages that were displayed on their GPS?    I also don't think 10 minutes behind is that much; basically a little more than half a hole.   If it were me,  i'd probably be a little upset but I do appreciate the course doing something to try and control pace of play.  

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15 minutes ago, cnosil said:

If the course was that crowded then the twosome in front of your group should have been on the heels of the group in front of them so they should have been able to keep up.  I have seen courses advertise that they will give warnings and direct groups to skip holes but have never seen it done.  Generally the resort type courses seem to be more forgiving since they don't want the bad reviews this might bring.        While you didn't see a message on the GPS,  did the foursome see the two messages that were displayed on their GPS?    I also don't think 10 minutes behind is that much; basically a little more than half a hole.   If it were me,  i'd probably be a little upset but I do appreciate the course doing something to try and control pace of play.  

For sure, slow play can completely ruin a golf experience and if I was waiting on every hole I’d be upset so I appreciate a course that is willing to try and tackle the issue. 
They said they saw one of them. But they never heard anything from the marshal and he rounded on them 2 times. Not a single verbal warning and 10 minutes doesn’t scream out as a super slow pace. I think this was the biggest point of contention as the course relied on an electronic message rather than saying something to the group directly through the marshal. 

I mean, all of these guys are pretty good golfers who understand pace of play. But with 4 inch rough and cart path only if you’re off the fairway it took walking directly over it to find your ball. The course just seemed to take that long to play IMO. But I also didn’t get moved up a hole. 
 

the twosome in front was the first group off, nobody in front of them. They started a hole and a half ahead of our group. They hadn’t separated from that spacing much since the first hole. So they certainly weren’t play fast. 

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28 minutes ago, Tom the Golf Nut said:

Several things come to mind here.

1. Obviously they needed carts back quickly thus extra pressure on the course to get them back so not to upset waiting golfers. You wouldn't want to be the guy ready to play a bucket list course that you paid good money for and had to wait for a cart. 

2. If the cart got warnings to keep up pace of play and they couldn't due to the twosome being in range. That should have been brought up to the marshal. But they can tell where each cart is on the course so they must have known there was a gap building.

3. A foursome can not keep up with a twosome unless the twosome was behind a foursome and had to wait on shots. Then the slow play warning is correct.

4. If everyone was cart path only then all things are equal and the entire course would be roughly at the same pace of play assuming most groups were foursomes.

I was asked to pick up pace of play once by a Marshal and he said it was the first warning. The next would cause us to pick up and skip a hole. I then told him to look down the fairway and start with that group because we can't pick up the pace that's why we are standing here waiting. He apologized and went after the correct group. 

I have also played an empty course and the cart sent a message that our group was behind. But the course was empty and we were taking our time. It's just a built in program with timers. We caused no delays and the warnings were not enforced. 

But when you do get messages in the cart usually someone is watching and being notified. Some courses take this pretty seriously. If you get a message you really need to pick up the pace. You will see this as a common practice on most of the bucket list courses.

Sorry that happen to your buddies.

   

Very unfortunate as this course was AWESOME! I didn’t mind the cart thing it didn’t bother me I get it, but I felt like the guys I was with got a bit of a raw deal due to an overbooked tee sheet. 
 

I agree if you see one message, pick up play. Either way the course was taking a bit longer to play. As I said in the original post the twosome behind my group couldn’t even keep up with us playing a tee up. 
 

I appreciate the responses as the initial reaction was to leave a scathing review. But I wanted to see other’s thoughts before saying anything. 

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1 hour ago, HeathS16 said:


 

the twosome in front was the first group off, nobody in front of them. They started a hole and a half ahead of our group. They hadn’t separated from that spacing much since the first hole. So they certainly weren’t play fast. 

Then the course shouldn't have had an issue at all if they kept pace with the twosome. 

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IMHO, your buddies got screwed out of a hole and an enjoyable round of golf. If you start a hole and half behind the group in front and finish 2 holes behind, I am not sure how that quantifies as slow play. 

Sorry you guys had bad experience. 

I'm not a fan of 5 hour rounds but 4 1/2 is 15 minutes a hole and expectable IMO.  

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4 hours ago, HeathS16 said:

We ended up completing our round about 10 behind pace but were not being pushed by the twosome behind us. 

I don’t think anyone got screwed out of anything.

It’s the responsibility of each group to keep up with the group in front. The group behind you it irrelevant to your pace of play. 

4 hours ago, HeathS16 said:

We ended up completing our round about 10 behind pace but were not being pushed by the twosome behind us.  As we were walking off of the green two of the course workers came up and asked us to unload our stuff as they were short on carts for the next group going out. We were told that they had over 200 people coming out to play the course that day and were in desperate need of additional carts. Ok, whatever, we unloaded our stuff and went to see how our other group was doing having had to skip a hole.

As a threesome you should be riding the tails of the foursome in front of you.

4 hours ago, HeathS16 said:

Like I said before, I get that courses at locations such as Branson need to ensure a quality experience and a reasonable pace of play but this whole situation seemed to be related to two things to me, an overbooked tee sheet and an unrealistic expectation of a foursome's pace when it is cart-path only on a pretty tough course

It’s not really unrealistic or overbooking. Top courses like this understand their course layout, the course conditions including pace of play and as you mention in the comment below it’s averaged 4.5 hours for the last month. I would guess that in that time period the course was CPO and there weren’t pace of pay issues for every group. 
 

But as you mentioned your group as a threesome weren’t off pace and you weren’t on the heels of the group in front of you so how can it be unreasonable expectations on a foursome when a threesome couldn’t stay on pace. It’s quite possible your group is slow. 

4 hours ago, HeathS16 said:

. They were warned via the GPS messaging system 2 times

2. They had fallen behind the group ahead of them. (A twosome and only by half a hole since they started so these guys were also off pace.)

3. Average pace of play for the last month had been 4 1/2 hours. 

This to me is why they didn’t get screwed. They received warnings so they behind chose not to find a way to pick up the pace. 
 

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19 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

I don’t think anyone got screwed out of anything.

It’s the responsibility of each group to keep up with the group in front. The group behind you it irrelevant to your pace of play. 

As a threesome you should be riding the tails of the foursome in front of you.

It’s not really unrealistic or overbooking. Top courses like this understand their course layout, the course conditions including pace of play and as you mention in the comment below it’s averaged 4.5 hours for the last month. I would guess that in that time period the course was CPO and there weren’t pace of pay issues for every group. 
 

But as you mentioned your group as a threesome weren’t off pace and you weren’t on the heels of the group in front of you so how can it be unreasonable expectations on a foursome when a threesome couldn’t stay on pace. It’s quite possible your group is slow. 

This to me is why they didn’t get screwed. They received warnings so they behind chose not to find a way to pick up the pace. 
 

I am sure they have multitudes of data on it and the pace is certainly based on that. I guess I don't understand how CPO doesn't change any of that. I mean I basically lugged half my bag out there to tag my distance and make sure I had whichever club I needed. 😆

The foursome got moved up a hole when they reached 10 minutes behind pace. Which I feel was a rather short leash but I will certainly admit you are 100% correct that it is on each group to keep up.

Let me correct myself, my group completed the round in 4 hrs 32 minutes. We picked 8 minutes back up on the last 5 holes. Here's a Grint photo to verify sorry for the mistake. 

IMG_2818.jpg.0103fc84086cf87a146e7a8c7a5faefa.jpg

The back nine is significantly shorter than the front. It played brutal that day. I am not sure if the past month was mostly CPO, that would have been useful to ask.  I am assuming the average of 4.5 hrs was based on foursomes. I did read a review from a month ago where the round took 6 hours which seems unbelievably horrid. 

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It sounds to me like your friends got a raw deal.  CPO would slow down a round and a 4 1/2 hour average is exactly that.....an average.  Meaning they have times that are greater than that and some that are less.  More than likely, the times that are much less are from twosomes or threesomes so being 10 min behind some theoretical "ideal" pace is not sufficient cause to have them skip a hole.  

If your buddies started off 1 1/2 holes behind a twosome and kept that gap to 2 holes over the course of the round then I don't see how it's possible that your groups could have been playing slow unless that was the slowest twosome in history, especially since you said they had an open course in front of them.  

I'd also say that pre-programmed electronic warnings from the cart don't mean s*** if the Marshal doesn't give you a face to face warning.  Especially so when you said they ran into him twice.  He says nothing the first two times you see him and then the 3rd he's telling them they need to skip a hole?  That's asinine.  

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It's one thing to have a 4.5hr round with an afternoon tee time on a packed course.  If you are the 2nd group out and play in 4.5 you are setting up the course for 5hr+ rounds by the end of the day.

Sure maybe it could have been communicated better, but from the sounds of it your buddies were all playing pretty damn decent.  There is zero reason for a guy to shoot anywhere under 90 and take longer than 4hrs as a foursome.  

I can guarantee the twosome behind you was either waiting and you didn't realize it, or purposely playing slow because they didn't want to sit around and wait for every shot.  

Sorry but I'm siding with the course on this one.  10 minute tee time spacing is plenty of gap and 200 rounds in a day is busy, but for this time of year with longer days it can go higher.  

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15 minutes ago, hckymeyer said:

It's one thing to have a 4.5hr round with an afternoon tee time on a packed course.  If you are the 2nd group out and play in 4.5 you are setting up the course for 5hr+ rounds by the end of the day.

Sure maybe it could have been communicated better, but from the sounds of it your buddies were all playing pretty damn decent.  There is zero reason for a guy to shoot anywhere under 90 and take longer than 4hrs as a foursome.  

I can guarantee the twosome behind you was either waiting and you didn't realize it, or purposely playing slow because they didn't want to sit around and wait for every shot.  

Sorry but I'm siding with the course on this one.  10 minute tee time spacing is plenty of gap and 200 rounds in a day is busy, but for this time of year with longer days it can go higher.  

4.5 is the pace that was communicated to play in and from what I gathered is expected.  Apparently that’s average for this place. No need to apologize I’m looking to get people’s thoughts! There are certainly two sides to this sucky situation. 
 

idk about the twosome. We never saw them again after hole 9. They very well could have slowed so as not to wait. 

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I won't comment on this specific event, since I've never played CPO and don't know the course.

BUT I'm also a firm believer that 4.5 rounds are just too long, hell... even 4 hours seem too much to me. Not sure how the other 3 golfers played, but if your buddy shot +6 he can't possibly be wasting that much time looking for balls. Was it 100% golf or was there also adult beverages included?

My home course is kind of a resort, with hotel and tons of guests from Denmark and Sweden and oh I so wish they also enforced skipping a hole if you fall behind. Perhaps I should suggest this to the management? 😄

 

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8 hours ago, HeathS16 said:

I am sure they have multitudes of data on it and the pace is certainly based on that. I guess I don't understand how CPO doesn't change any of that. I mean I basically lugged half my bag out there to tag my distance and make sure I had whichever club I needed. 😆

The foursome got moved up a hole when they reached 10 minutes behind pace. Which I feel was a rather short leash but I will certainly admit you are 100% correct that it is on each group to keep up.

Let me correct myself, my group completed the round in 4 hrs 32 minutes. We picked 8 minutes back up on the last 5 holes. Here's a Grint photo to verify sorry for the mistake. 

IMG_2818.jpg.0103fc84086cf87a146e7a8c7a5faefa.jpg

The back nine is significantly shorter than the front. It played brutal that day. I am not sure if the past month was mostly CPO, that would have been useful to ask.  I am assuming the average of 4.5 hrs was based on foursomes. I did read a review from a month ago where the round took 6 hours which seems unbelievably horrid. 

Another question to ask is the 4.5 hour expected pace the CPO pace or is that the pace regardless.

I play several courses here that have full tee sheets, several holes and at times the entire course being cpo and they have 4.5 hour or less pace of play and they do exactly what your friends experienced. I’ve never played in over 4.5 hours on those courses and most time even with a midday tee time 4:15 is the norm 

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I would be curious to see the exact wording of the "Warning" on the GPS. I've been at resort courses and have seen a timer that indicates where you are relative to expectations, but never did I think it was anything more than informational. Did it literally say something to the effect of "pick up the pace or risk being asked to skip a hole"?

FWIW, I am all for any efforts by courses to encourage proper pace. During one of my Myrtle Beach trips, we were the first group off one day so we could have had an effect on the pace for the entire day - I had zero problem with the marshall encouraging us to keep it moving when we fell behind after a couple brutal holes.

Driver:  :callaway-small:Epic Speed 9* (set -1) Mitsubishi MMT 70X
3W: :bridgestone-small: Tour B JGR 15* Recoil 460ES
3H, 4H: :bridgestone-small: Tour B JGR 19*, 23* Recoil 780ES
4-AW:  :bridgestone-small: Tour B JGR HF2 Modus3 Tour 105
SW: :cleveland-small: Zipcore Black Satin 54*
LW: :cleveland-small: Zipcore Black Satin 58*
Putter: :odyssey-small: Stroke Lab Marxman
Bag: BigMax Dri Active Lite
Ball: :taylormade-small: TP5x Pix
Pushcart: BigMax iQ+

2021 Test - Callaway Epic Speed

 

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I’m almost afraid to ask this, but why didn’t you send your threesome off first, following a twosome, and have the foursome follow last?  I wouldn’t want to be a threesome following a foursome... but I’d gladly be a foursome following a smaller group. 
 

Unless, of course there were some other games within the game stuff going on 

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Walking ahead of my BagBoy QuadXL w Alphard eWheels
Driver: Callaway Mavrik SubZero 9* Neutral w stock Evenflow Riptide R flex shaft
3W  Titelist TS2 15* Draw w Tensei Blue R flex
3H, 4H Cobra One Length F9 Speedback hybrids (1”short) w Fujikura Atmos R flex shaft
5I-GW Cobra Forged TEC Black One Length (1”short, 2* flat) KBS 90 R flex shafts
56, 60 Cobra King MIM One Length Black (1” short) KBS HiRev2.0 125 S flex shafts
ER7  or Scotty Futura X - 35”

OnCore Elixr (lemon or lime)

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Just my thoughts:

1. If the course had over 200 golfers booked for the day, they should not have let a twosome out.

2. A foursome cannot play as fast as a twosome in most situations.

3. The marshal should have had a verbal discussion with the foursome and asked them to pick it up. The so called warning on the GPS is BS.

4. When it's cart path only, the average 4 1/2 hour rounds go out the window.

5. Not saying that your buddies fall into this category, but the majority of golfers do not play ready golf. As I have stated here many times, golfers stand around waiting on others in the group to get their yardage, take 3 practice swings, hit the shot, wipe their club off, scratch their tail, then the next golfer does the same thing. This x 4, makes for a long round.

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Driver: :taylormade-small: SIM Max - 9*, Graphite Design Tour AD DI6 Stiff
3 Wood: :taylormade-small: SIM - 15*, Diamana 75 Limited Stiff
Hybrid: :titelist-small: TS3 - 19*, Hzrdus Smoke 6.0 Stiff
Irons: :titelist-small:  7 - PW T100S, 4 -6 T200 all with Nippon NS Pro 880 AMC Chrome Stiff
Wedges:  :titelist-small:Vokey SM 7 - 50*, 56*, 60*  Standard Wedge Shafts                                                                                                                                   

Putter:  :scotty-cameron-1: Phantom X 5.5           
Putter:  :scotty-cameron-1: Studio Select Newport 1.5
Ball: :titelist-small: Pro V1 X

 

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