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Discuss "Out of Time" by Bill Yates here.


I feel like I'm going to have to re-read it. I feel like I missed out on a bunch of what I should have taken away from the book.

Off the top of my head:

  • There are five causes of slow play (I'll use that word, even though 4:30 can feel like better pacing and flow than a 4:00 round)
  • Golfers are just one of the five reasons.
  • Par five followed by a par three is bad, especially in the first four holes.
  • Don't let golfers hit when the fairway is clear or earlier than their tee time slot.
  • Maintenance, pro shop employees, etc. are responsible for pacing too.
  • Hole locations and/or hazards and other stuff can affect how quickly people play a hole, and sometimes opposite of what you might think.
  • Signage is important.
  • "Keeping up with the group ahead" is bad (but I'm not sure why - are they supposed to slow down on purpose?)
  • A twosome on a crowded course of foursomes is bad.
  • The Brits don't play faster than Americans.

That's all I can remember. I plan to loan my copy to the golf course I frequent most often, and I asked GoodReads to add it to their library.

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Surprised he had time to write this AND run the Gates Foundation.  :-P

(I'm going to try to check it out on my Kindle when available).

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1 hour ago, Mr Puddle said:

Of course, none of this would be an issue if people didn't play slow golf, but regardless of rules and advice, we all know that will never happen.   

Golfers, Bill Yates says, are only one out of the five reasons for pace issues. The course is responsible for the other four, so this might still be an issue even without "slow golfers."

2 hours ago, bkuehn1952 said:

Par 3 holes do work well for playing through but some slow groups use that "rule" to keep faster groups slogging behind them for a long time.  The time to allow a faster group through is when a slow group stops keeping pace with the group in front, not five holes later when a par 3 occurs.

Bill Yates would argue that this whole idea of "keeping up with the group in front" is bogus and leads to jamming up too frequently.

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Looks like a neat book - added to my reading list for when an e-version is available.

I'm interested to hear about what the author believes courses can do to make a difference in pace of play.

I've noticed anecdotally that post-coronavirus shutdown rounds have a much better flow/rhythm even though the overall round times are about the same 4-4.5 hours. The only difference that I can think of is tee times are separated by 2 additional minutes, and just about every slot is filled with a foursome.

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9 hours ago, iacas said:

Golfers, Bill Yates says, are only one out of the five reasons for pace issues. The course is responsible for the other four, so this might still be an issue even without "slow golfers."

Bill Yates would argue that this whole idea of "keeping up with the group in front" is bogus and leads to jamming up too frequently.

I will try to find this reference.  Clearly, if a reasonable solution has been created, few seem to be paying attention.

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10 hours ago, Darkfrog said:

I've noticed anecdotally that post-coronavirus shutdown rounds have a much better flow/rhythm even though the overall round times are about the same 4-4.5 hours. The only difference that I can think of is tee times are separated by 2 additional minutes, and just about every slot is filled with a foursome.

Precisely.

It's often more about "flow" than actual round times.

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This sounds like something I should read.  I have a long queue of books but I'll add it and when it gets near to the front I'll probably order it.

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On 6/24/2020 at 8:05 PM, iacas said:

"Keeping up with the group ahead" is bad (but I'm not sure why - are they supposed to slow down on purpose?)

I haven't read this book, but this doesn't make much sense to me either. I think that the group ahead, or possibly the first group out, is responsible for this occurrence, not the people behind.

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6 hours ago, Bonvivant said:

I haven't read this book, but this doesn't make much sense to me either. I think that the group ahead, or possibly the first group out, is responsible for this occurrence, not the people behind.

It has to do with maintaining proper "flow." If you move up too close to the people in front of you, you'll be waiting. Then there's a bigger gap behind you, which forces those people to move up to wait on you, and so on…

The book says basically that this policy effectively "narrows" or shortens the starting interval.

He's not saying lag behind - he's saying stay in your place. That's likely further back, when you shouldn't be waiting on nearly every shot of the group in front of you.

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

It has to do with maintaining proper "flow." If you move up too close to the people in front of you, you'll be waiting. Then there's a bigger gap behind you, which forces those people to move up to wait on you, and so on…

The book says basically that this policy effectively "narrows" or shortens the starting interval.

He's not saying lag behind - he's saying stay in your place. That's likely further back, when you shouldn't be waiting on nearly every shot of the group in front of you.

This makes perfect sense to me.  The most enjoyable rounds for me are those where I have to wait only a few times over 18 holes, and then only for a few seconds.  Occasionally that will mean there's most of a full hole open in front of us, sometimes we'll get to a par-3 tee jut as the group ahead is finishing their last couple of putts.  If we lose sight of the group ahead, we need to pick up the pace to regain contact.  If we wait on every shot, we really should slow down just a bit somehow.  I regularly play with a group that could finish in 3:40, behind a bunch of groups that will take 4:00, which isn't really bad for my home course.  On those occasions, I specifically walk a little slower, take an extra second to assess and plan a shot, just a few little things to help slow our pace down so we're not waiting on every single shot.

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Just now, iacas said:

It has to do with maintaining proper "flow." If you move up too close to the people in front of you, you'll be waiting. Then there's a bigger gap behind you, which forces those people to move up to wait on you, and so on…

The book says basically that this policy effectively "narrows" or shortens the starting interval.

He's not saying lag behind - he's saying stay in your place. That's likely further back, when you shouldn't be waiting on nearly every shot of the group in front of you.

I suppose that makes sense, but what if you are just a naturally fast player (2:15-2:30 walking solo, 2:30-2:45 walking as 2)?

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30 minutes ago, Bonvivant said:

I suppose that makes sense, but what if you are just a naturally fast player (2:15-2:30 walking solo, 2:30-2:45 walking as 2)?

Then you're screwed you fast-moving so-and-so.

Stop and smell the roses or whatever that is that they grow at Community. 🙂

 

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1 minute ago, mcanadiens said:

Then you're screwed you fast-moving so-and-so.

Stop and smell the roses or whatever that is that they grow at Community. 🙂

 

They only grow honeysuckle, and as a former park employee that was tasked with removing loads of it because it is an invasive species, I don't like it, lol. I get that I am exceptionally fast, but to say "Don't be on the rear of the group in front" seems to ignore a decent chunk of golfers that do play quickly. I hate the way the golf course pace is determined by the lowest common denominator, which tends to be somewhere over 4:30. I just wish places actually had marshals out, timing groups to make sure they aren't log-jammin.

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1 hour ago, Bonvivant said:

I suppose that makes sense, but what if you are just a naturally fast player (2:15-2:30 walking solo, 2:30-2:45 walking as 2)?

Then you shouldn’t be allowed out as a twosome if the course is near capacity.

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Just now, iacas said:

Then you shouldn’t be allowed out as a twosome if the course is near capacity.

This doesn't really happen. The twosome I am talking about it is when the course is empty in the off-season. If I play with 3 other people that are like me, we could probably be done in 3 hours (off-season) or so, yet every time we play (summer months), it is 4:30 or more. I know that you can't police every shot from people at a golf course, but they could post  marshals at tees (6 and 12 maybe), to ensure the people aren't taking 2 minutes every putt/drive (if they are, a polite mention of the 40 second guideline and perhaps a warning that they need to pick up the pace), and check to make sure they are keeping whatever pace is set. At our local muni, vols (we have lots of these) put in time to get free plays, but the time they put in, more often than not, is them sitting around the clubhouse watching the tour. They could spare to have 2 timekeepers out on each course (2 courses).

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3 hours ago, Bonvivant said:

This doesn't really happen. The twosome I am talking about it is when the course is empty in the off-season. If I play with 3 other people that are like me, we could probably be done in 3 hours (off-season) or so, yet every time we play (summer months), it is 4:30 or more. I know that you can't police every shot from people at a golf course, but they could post  marshals at tees (6 and 12 maybe), to ensure the people aren't taking 2 minutes every putt/drive (if they are, a polite mention of the 40 second guideline and perhaps a warning that they need to pick up the pace), and check to make sure they are keeping whatever pace is set. At our local muni, vols (we have lots of these) put in time to get free plays, but the time they put in, more often than not, is them sitting around the clubhouse watching the tour. They could spare to have 2 timekeepers out on each course (2 courses).

I find that its extremely easy to decide how someone else should spend their money.  In this case, you're suggesting that the course spend some money to make your own life better.  But from the business side, they have to decide whether spending that additional money will cause an increase in revenue.  Its possible that they could see an increase in amount of play if the courses get a reputation for reasonably timely pave of play, its also possible that it wouldn't work.  

"I get that I am exceptionally fast, but to say "Don't be on the rear of the group in front" seems to ignore a decent chunk of golfers that do play quickly."

I can agree that rounds shouldn't take 4:30 or more to play, and courses can do a lot to help speed things along.  But you sound like you'd still be impatient at a 4:00 pace, which is reasonably good most places in the US.  You have some choice in the matter, you can and should find ways to slow your pace somewhat when you know you can't go "fast", take small measures to decrease the amount of time you spend standing and waiting.  Stroll, don't stride, and you'll enjoy life more.

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7 hours ago, iacas said:

It has to do with maintaining proper "flow." If you move up too close to the people in front of you, you'll be waiting. Then there's a bigger gap behind you, which forces those people to move up to wait on you, and so on…

The book says basically that this policy effectively "narrows" or shortens the starting interval.

He's not saying lag behind - he's saying stay in your place. That's likely further back, when you shouldn't be waiting on nearly every shot of the group in front of you.

So golfers on a course are kind of like cars in traffic, that makes sense. Everyone has better flow if they’re driving/playing at the same speed rather than some people playing quickly and running into others who play slower than they do, which adversely affects the group behind them trying to keep up, and so on.

4 hours ago, Bonvivant said:

If I play with 3 other people that are like me, we could probably be done in 3 hours (off-season) or so, yet every time we play (summer months), it is 4:30 or more.

If the course pace is 4:30 and the group ahead of you is playing at that pace, it’s not their fault you like to play faster.

4 hours ago, Bonvivant said:

ensure the people aren't taking 2 minutes every putt/drive

Have you actually timed people doing this? I have a feeling that having a naturally fast tempo probably makes your internal clock a  little on the faster side.

If every person in a foursome really took 2 minutes every drive, they’d basically be still walking to their second shots by the time the group behind them is supposed to be teeing off. It would probably take over 20 minutes for them to play a single hole.

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24 minutes ago, billchao said:

So golfers on a course are kind of like cars in traffic, that makes sense.

We just need horns we can honk... everything would be good...

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