Pace of Play is an Issue
It is getting that time of year when the winds get chilly and the days get shorter. For golfers, Winter is a very frustrating time of year. To get in a full round of 18 holes and get other things done during the day, playing golf in the Winter becomes rather challenging ordeal. Throw in a 30 minute wait on backed up tee times and then play 5+ hour round of golf..the golf course seems to lose on pace of play.
Over at the golf courses they also have challenges that are based on the short amount of sun light available during the day to get enough rounds of golf in to keep the course open for play. To get as much play as they can to pay the bills tightly packing the course with golfers usually is the ruling factor for each day. This is a win for the golf course on pace of play..if they can pull it off.
So, when the challenges of the golfer meets the challenge of the golf course who usually wins?
Actually the correct answer is..Nobody wins when it comes to Pace of Play. Of course, pace of play issues can lean one way to the other if the golf course blatantly schedules too many tee times. The word of mouth marketing golfers can generate from the golf course through social networking can today turn the golf course to quickly be the losers.
However, things go against golfers who do not play the course to their skill level. Playing from the back tees when your handicap is 15 is not a playing the golf course to that skill level. Doing this make the golfer the loser of the pace of play issue since they usually are the cause for the pace of play.
The golf course management wins in this case by asking them to move on to the next hole. Sure, this will more than likely upset the golfers being asked to move on, but the multitudes of golfers waiting behind them are more apt to fire off a friendly remark on Google+ for the golf course thinking of them.
Rules Should Change
Overall, if there was a rule in Golf that needed more review, the Pace of Play Rule would really help Golf as a whole. During my interviews of golfers over the years I found that many of them..over 88%… mimic their style of golf from the Pros they see on TV. Even if their skill level is at a beginner level and just because they jacked a drive at the driving range 300+ yards, they see themselves as being able to play from the same place the Pro’s play. A solution here would be to show on TV the Pro’s pace of play and what happens when they are penalized for slow play. Since many golfers mimic the Pro Golfers..maybe seeing them get penalized will also be mimic by the golf courses that allow them to play outside their skill level.
Sometimes this behavior of playing outside a player’s skill level is egged on by their golfing buddies who either can play to a Pro skill level or have the mentality that 10% of the interviews have..if I paid $100 for this tee time, I’m playing a $100 worth…and play from the back tees when they can’t hit it past the forward tees.
The common denominator of slow play in most cases is golfers playing outside their skill level. The solution to this would be to develop an evaluation or certification program for golfers to take so the golf courses know what set of tees the golfers is to play from. This means every golf would have to have golf lessons..wow that is a novel idea for many.
Change In Thinking
Of course, golf courses are going to take every opportunity to bring in more revenue through scheduling more tee times. Even if all of the golfers were playing from their proper tees, placing Too Many golfers on a golf course…meaning reducing the 8 to 10 minutes between tee times… is going to cause pace of play.
In the end, no matte what action or plan is put into place the golf course and Golf lose the debate on pace of play. When golfers can’t play 18 holes in less than 4 1/2 hours, when they have to wait more than a minute between shots the entire round and when golf becomes a chore to deal with, Golfers are going to stop playing golf. You can take all the belly putters out of golf and it is not going to keep someone from plumb bobbing their fifth putt. It falls upon the golf courses, the golf clubs and golf professions to manage and teach the pace of play for golf. Once this is done, all will be better..not perfect, but better..in golf.
More needs to be done to make golf more pleasurable and there should be some solutions to offer to help pace of play. I am sure you have a few, let’s hear them.
Let me know how I can help.