Originally Posted by Golfingdad
That's very good to hear. Our tourneys here in LA/OC appear to start mostly in the morning, so those afternoon bogdowns hopefully won't be a problem.
To connect this back to the main topic, it sounds like, in your experience, the implementation of an "aggressive pace of play policy" is what works. But how can that be applied at a public course? You can't punish people with stroke penalties in recreational play, so what to do to drive them to speed up?
There in lies the problem. What is the course operator going to do? He has to determine what actions to take to speed up play so as not to lose revenue because the faster players decide to go elsewhere without angering the slower players, and losing their business. A golf course has nothing to sell except time on the course and if it's all backed up it is lost revenue. I wonder if a lot of courses have given up trying to manage pace of play.....no matter what they do, somebody's angry.
I'm lucky enough to play a course that is staffed with some pretty good starters, rangers, and/or player assistants. I love that title...ranger sounds too much like a cop. This golf course, Tobacco Road, a Mike Stranz design is more of a resort course with alot of people playing it for the first time. They are nearly as full in the afternoon as they are in the morning because of replays and guys trying to get in 36 after playing somewhere else in the morning. I've had a lot of slow rounds out there, but if you'd ever seen the place you'd understand why they have to be out their working hard to maintain pace of play. This place has so many blind shots that they had to put bells at 1, 7, 13, 15, 18 to signal the group behind that it is OK to hit. There are a few more blind shots on the course that do not have the bells.
They work from 18 back to 1 pulling people ahead. Doesn't do any good to push from behind. I have yet to hear of them ever really getting on anyone about slow play, but they will help the group catch up. I've seen them help people search for balls. On some of the more difficult holes, especially those with blnd shots they will go ahead and act as forecaddie. They will stay with the group to help them catch up. .At the same time, or just after, someone goes back through the line up and gives everyone the heads up that the group ahead that was holding things up has picked up the pace, please keep up with the group ahead of you.
I don't see anything more a course operator can do other than have a golf course staffing strategy such as I've described. Signs haven't worked, clocks haven't worked, rangers acting like cops haven't worked.
As far as the individual golfer is concerned, I don't see any answers there. I played with a group yesterday, slow as heck, but we had no one behind us. We lost sight of the group in front of us on 7 tee. I started to get a little ansy and started jumping out of the cart to hit first with no regard to who had honors. I raked a bunker for a guy so he could go hit again. The speed of the group picked up and we had to wait to hit our second shots into 12...success, we'd caught up. Slowest guy in the group on 14 tee says boy we've really slowed down all of a sudden. I had to stifle a laugh....this guy had no sense at all about what speed we were playing.
How do you make people change? Might as well try and catch the wind.
To the OP's question, slowing down does not equate to playing better...at least not for me. I play quickly. Myself and a friend spent a week in Arizona where we were first tee time every morning and we were getting around in 2 1/2 hours. My scores were no better or worse than if I'd been playing in a foursome following a foursome that was out for a liesurely 5 hour round. So, I've never pondered the question.