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Pace of Play--Data driven decisions

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

After reading the millionth thread on POP I want to ask some questions.  

 

My thread my rules  :-)

 

1) Not about the causes or individual solutions.  I am looking at evidence based decisions.

2)Lets just talk data and see if we can make some different decisions

3)I know all the arguments about family demands and a faster paced society we now live in.  But maybe golf will never be conducive to that type of life.  So lets just save that for other threads.

4) Disclosure I am not at all a POP Nazi!  I love being out in the sun playing golf.  I seldom get annoyed when things are slow.  Beats work any day.

 

 

So is there any objective data on really how long it takes to play a par 3/4/5 or maybe a minutes per yard metric? Has the USGA looked at this?  If so then why not use it.  If not that is the first step.  Survey a huge sample of golfers of all abilities and find out the true answer. 

 

Then, can we not rate a course based on a ton of factors?  Length, rating, players (and by that I mean is this a course full of regulars or a resort course with many infrequent players)  distance between holes, etc etc.  Then we can decide what is or is not right for a given course.  My home CC I expect 3 hours or just over.  Poipu Bay in Kauai I would never expect it to go that fast.  Hell I stop and take pictures next to the water just like everyone else.  Maybe add a third descriptor to a course.  Slope/rating/pace.  And finally each course has an optimal T-Time frequency.  Some need a 12 or 15 minute spacing others can handle a 9 minute spacing.  Then adjust all of this ( t time spacing and POP) depending on the event.  Full competitive stroke play tournaments vs everyday play vs men's league day.

 

Everyone just spouts off we need to play faster, play faster but I have not seen anything like what I am thinking about.  But then again I am not in the golf business and maybe I would not have a clue.

 

Lets chat.

post #2 of 8

Video here has a little info from the USGA.

post #3 of 8

I can totally appreciate your wanting evidence based decisions, but I honestly believe that POP is as much a mind set as it is evidence based.  My point being, this weekend I hit a ball way left of the fairway, I have to play over an adjoining hole's green to get to my green.  There are 2 ladies on the green putting, so I wait for them to finish.  They just so happen to have parked their cart about 8 feet from the green (issue 1), also in line with my shot, when they finished, instead of walking to the cart and moving to the next tee box, they clean their clubs (issue 2), got something out of their bag and basically piddled around while I had to wait on them. 

 

I don't know that there is any evidence to support this, but I feel that POP from tee to green isn't really the issue, it's all the additional things that we do around playing that is time consuming.  So knowing when to clean your clubs, where to park a cart (riding or walking), things like that, have as much effect on POP as your skill level as a golfer.

 

An acquaintance of mine, which I no longer play golf with, was a slow golfer and I heard him more than once comment, "I paid $50 to play, I'll take as much time as I want."  That's the kind of attitude that makes a round of golf slow.  

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

I think you are right.  And the silence on this thread speaks to a lot of the problem.  All people know is that THEY want to play faster because it is inconvenient to THEM.

 

What we really don't know is how long should it take.  I think some smart grad student should get those GPS units in the video above and attach them to thousands of golfers on thousands of different courses.  Get a huge data set then decide how long it should take and then we can make some real decisions and know what is legitimately slow and what is just the golf version of road rage!

post #5 of 8

Here is some data and some recommendations.

 

http://www.three45golf.org/

post #6 of 8

I agree that there should be data backing up this pace of play argument. My home course in CT (Semi-private) for example loves to crowd the course, while my course in NJ has a very reasonable tee time interval. I can tell you that I rarely run into pace of play issue when I'm in NJ, but the oppose is the care in CT.

 

If the course is crowded, and there's nowhere for anyone to go, then that's the course/starter's fault. However, when it's people engaging in inconsiderate behaviors that brings play to a dragging pace, then it becomes a tad unpleasant.

post #7 of 8
I believe many courses have their own pace of play measured and in place. If they have a GPS network, often there will be indicators after each hole in terms of how much you're ahead or behind the pace they've established. I would think this data would apply to courses individually because, as you mentioned, some courses are going to take longer than others to play given length, distance from gree to tee, etc. Although, I could see where the course might simply use a pre-set GPS timer widget to track it.

I find that most courses are quite liberal with their pace, somewhere around 4:30, which is much longer than ideal for me. Which might be another issue in terms of objectively optimizing this. That is, my ideal pace of play would be 3:30 whereas, someone else's might be 3 flat and another's 4:30.

It's a conundrum.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SCC4380 View Post
 

Here is some data and some recommendations.

 

http://www.three45golf.org/

 

 Thank you.  That actually is a pretty decent study!  So in public, crowded play, we can expect between 4 and 4 and 1/2 hours.  If you can't handle that join a private and shave up to an hour off of that.  Also as I theorized in another thread, it is just like freeway flow.  Shove too many rats in the maze and it will slow.  Surprising to me was no correlation with the difficulty of the course.  It was mentioned by the authors that better players may select harder courses but still interesting tidbit.

 

Best quote....

 

"This substantiates the contention of this author and that of Yates that tee time interval and 'traffic' congestion is probably a far stronger factor when it comes to determining a course's pace as does setup and even perhaps player behaviors, the number one target of most critics" 

 

And might I add a fair number of internet chat groups.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunther View Post

I believe many courses have their own pace of play measured and in place. If they have a GPS network, often there will be indicators after each hole in terms of how much you're ahead or behind the pace they've established. I would think this data would apply to courses individually because, as you mentioned, some courses are going to take longer than others to play given length, distance from gree to tee, etc. Although, I could see where the course might simply use a pre-set GPS timer widget to track it.

I find that most courses are quite liberal with their pace, somewhere around 4:30, which is much longer than ideal for me. Which might be another issue in terms of objectively optimizing this. That is, my ideal pace of play would be 3:30 whereas, someone else's might be 3 flat and another's 4:30.

It's a conundrum.

 

 

+1

 

You are right on with the "your pace vs my pace"  is the exact root of my point.  This is very analogous to freeway flow.  Everything is great until some event causes a problem.  A crash (lost ball search) causes a backup and it can take hours to clear the flow. 

 

So the data are pretty clear.  4-4:30 is about normal.  So get used to it.

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