(Back in 2008 I posting a version of this five part series on Slow Play…Interesting how nothing much has changed to improve it. I have updated it and hope you find it as informational now as it was three years ago.)
This part is a continuation of the solutions I offered to solve the slow play issues plaguing golf courses and will conclude this series of blogs.
There is no way around it, if golf is to survive there will always have to be beginner golfers. Their abilities to play golf are to be taken into as much of consideration as the scratch golfer.
It has been discussed at the USGA that a player’s ability test be provided each golfer who wants to play a round of golf. I will have to admit, as far as slow play goes, having everyone on a crowded golf course playing from the tee they are qualified to play seems to make a lot of sense. The issue here is, how to get a player’s ability test accepted by the ‘Don’t-Tell-Me-What-To-Do’ culture of the world.
Opponents to a players ability test say the test would play into the hands of the better player by giving them preferential treatment and takes away a persons freedoms of enjoying life as they like to pursue it. In other words those guys and gals who think they should play from the farthest back tees because they have some absurd reasoning, like they have paid for it, would not get to do that under the testing program. Plus some international issues come into effect with the different cultures in the world who feel that anything less of playing from the tips is disgraceful and less manly. All of those freedoms would be in jeopardy with a player ability test.
Proponents see golf as not surviving into the future if there is not some organizing way to let everybody who wants to play an opportunity to play on any given day. The testing would insure everyone who plays a golf course knows how to play golf. Plus, knowing the skill level of a player allows a golf course to manage the players as well as the pace of play to make the players.
There is only so much land that can be developed for golf courses, so there are limits to how many people will be able to play golf given that everyone in the world wants to play. So without some way of providing for the golf courses to fit all levels of skill, which effects pace of play, a player’s ability test does has some merit as a solution to this problem.
I, for one, would like to see where I stand and would like to take one of those tests so I can officially say to my golf buddies, who want me to give them strokes because of my handicap, that as long as I am not playing the tee’s I am tested at, they get no strokes.
I see tremendous value in player ability testing as also a way to improve Golf’s economy by giving teaching professionals better opportunities of teaching golf. Though this solution presently has many more proponents than advocates, solutions like player ability test will be the type of revolutionary change golf will need to make to survive.
Cart Path Only
As I said, there are times where staying on the cart path is needed for environmental reasons. However, when the tee sheet is booked solid changes have to be made to accommodate the fact that pace is going to be hindered by keeping the Carts on the Path. Any first year operation management student would see in order to speed up the pace of play there needs to be quicker access to the ball.
If there is a need that is not weather related to have carts on the paths at all times, then the course needs to provide options. In cases where I have played an entire round of golf where the carts could not leave the path, I would have just rather walked the course than be in a cart. So, why can’t the option be to have caddies if carts are not allowed to leave the path? This is a very viable solution and would be very impacting on a number of levels. Not only would providing caddies on crowded golf days improving pace of play but would employ more people as caddies.
As I have said, depending on the situation there are usually options that are better than some of the options a lot of golf courses take to manage slow play. If golf is going to make it to the next century SLOW PLAY needs to be dealt with now.
And after slow play has been dealt with we can get on with finding out why people, young and old, feel that not dressing appropriate to play golf is their personal privilege and not think it is a reflection on their lack of self esteem. I could probably find where Hackeritis is also a contributor to slow play, so don’t get me started.
Let me know how I can help.
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