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4 Hour Round and Harassed by the Marshal


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Played Mile Square in SoCal Orange County a few weeks back, 4some with a couple of 100 shooters.  The 1st 4 holes, we waited every shot, then it opened up.  The 4th being a par 3 and 5th a par 5, I think, contributed to there being a gap between us and the group ahead.

As soon as we stepped onto the 5th tee, the marshal told us to speed up and continued to do so every other hole until the back nine.  We made the turn in 2 hours and finished in 4.  We were, at most 1-2 shots behind the group ahead and the group behind never waited on the front nine after the 4th (briefly for 2 holes on the back).

How fast do you have to play if we were well ahead of the 4:30 required by the course?

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You should complain to the course management as I believe this is part of the problem with golf today.  I realize some better players expect to get on and off the course in 2.5 - 3 hours, but that's not realistic on many courses I've been to.  If you weren't doing anything to intentionally slow play, and were playing ready golf, I don't see why the marshall felt the need to say one word.

If courses are experiencing a reduction in membership and revenue as they claim, this is not the way you treat paying customers.  How do these courses expect to grow their membership and interest in golf with these customer service mentalities.  I like Jack Nicklaus' idea to get rid of marshalls and add ambassadors that don't harass their customers but teach those, who weren't taught the appropriate way, to play a round of golf in a customer friendly way.

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Although it is important to play fast, it is also important to stay up with the group ahead of you. If you were a shot or two behind on the back, it is a problem. It is all about revenue for the courses. The best thing you could do is talk to the course management and explain your displeasure with the way the Marshall handled it. A Marshall does not have to be jerk to get his/her point across.
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When was your tee time (roughly)? I'd understand this if your time was one of the first dozen or so, but if you teed off after about 8:30 AM and got a 4 hour round in at that course (seriously, Mile Square _has_ 4 hour rounds? That's news to me. Well done), they should be buying you drinks.
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Originally Posted by ilikefishes

Although it is important to play fast, it is also important to stay up with the group ahead of you. If you were a shot or two behind on the back, it is a problem. It is all about revenue for the courses.


This is a good point but it's time for a reality check and common sense as well.  If the groups were all foursomes of equal ability, then the pace should be consistent.  Some allowance needs to be made for those of us trying to learn the game.  I'm a 100 shooter on a good day but I manage to move along quickly given the number of shots I have to take and where I put the ball.  However, I (and other 100 shooters) will not keep up with a foursome of better players....especially after the 9th hole where some groups may be leaving the course after 9 holes.  It ain't gonna happen unless I simply pick my ball up after a certain number of shots and proceed to the next tee.

I agree that it's about revenue.  A good practice is to not punish customers who are learning the game as long as they are following fast-play behaviors.  They might eventually improve their ability, enjoy the game,, and become regular customers who can play faster.

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Knowing the tee time for this foursome would be good to know.  From my experience, there are course bottlenecks which the rangers try to eliminate.  First tee time in the AM (especially weekends), and tee times preceding tourneys (and sometmes leagues) come to mind as times when slower play can create critical backups which the course tries to mitigate.

I don't know this course, but it sounds like those who do are impressed with this completion time.  4:30 sounds reasonable, but the specifics are not clear to comment further.

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If you're playing faster than the posted pace, then IMO it doesn't matter whether you're keeping on the heels of the group ahead.  I'd get pretty upset if a marshall bothered me more than once and I was not behind or on the hairy edge of the posted pace.

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Originally Posted by Topper

This is a good point but it's time for a reality check and common sense as well.  If the groups were all foursomes of equal ability, then the pace should be consistent.  Some allowance needs to be made for those of us trying to learn the game.  I'm a 100 shooter on a good day but I manage to move along quickly given the number of shots I have to take and where I put the ball.  However, I (and other 100 shooters) will not keep up with a foursome of better players....especially after the 9th hole where some groups may be leaving the course after 9 holes.  It ain't gonna happen unless I simply pick my ball up after a certain number of shots and proceed to the next tee.


There are a lot of 100 shooters who are faster than mid-cappers.  Speed is a function of state of mind far more than a function of ability.  Particularly on and around the greens.

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Playing fast has nothing to do with ability. Ready golf will enable anyone to.play fast. Although playing in 4-4.5 hours is fast, it is still important to stay with the group ahead of you. If there is a gap, you will get bothered.
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Hard to believe you were harassed with playing in four hours. That's cruising. Did you play on the weekend? Were these peak tee times?

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Being a marshall myself, I understand why he was harassing you.  When I go around the course, and notice just one group a couple minutes behind the group in front of them regardless of time it took'em to play a couple holes, I tell the group that they should speed up because they are behind.  One group has the capability to slow a course to 30 minutes behind.  Even if the marshall knows the players well, it's their duty to make sure the course stays up to speed.  If you played in 4 hours, thats good!  Just think, with no marshall, groups would slow down completely and the round will be 6 hours at minimum, I've experienced it.

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Hard to believe you were harassed with playing in four hours.

The course where it happened is only a few freeway exits from where I was hit into, complained to the marshal, and was told that I should be playing faster if I don't want to be hit into. I love Orange County, but there's something about some of the marshals there.

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Lived in Orange County many years ago, and played Mile Square a few times. The last, I was waiting for the green to clear on a par 5. My drive had gone about 320, and I'm standing there with an iron in hand. The marshal drove up, told me I couldn't reach the green and that I should hit. I politely told him I could indeed reach the green, and that I was going to wait. Again, he told me to hit.

So I did, right into the green and almost hit one of the guys. I was screaming my head off to warn them, then angrily swung around on the so-called marshal and told him he better get his arse up there and apologize, because it was his blinking fault. (I cleaned that up, as I had used slightly more colorful language to his face)

I also apologized to the guys later when we caught up to them. Told them what happened, and one of the guys said something like "yea, that guy's a complete jerk", or something like that.

Never played there again. Didn't want to have to kill a marshal... ;)

Thankfully, we don't have them here. Don't need 'em for the most part.

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Originally Posted by phillyk

Being a marshall myself, I understand why he was harassing you.  When I go around the course, and notice just one group a couple minutes behind the group in front of them regardless of time it took'em to play a couple holes, I tell the group that they should speed up because they are behind.  One group has the capability to slow a course to 30 minutes behind.  Even if the marshall knows the players well, it's their duty to make sure the course stays up to speed.  If you played in 4 hours, thats good!  Just think, with no marshall, groups would slow down completely and the round will be 6 hours at minimum, I've experienced it.


Gotta disagree.  If a group is playing at a good speed, the marshall is in the wrong to bug them just because a faster group happens to be ahead.  Sure, if they are slowing down, or if they had a bad hole and lost some space, politely nudging them is fine, but it's simply out of line to repeatedly bother them if they're not actually playing slowly.

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Originally Posted by zeg

Gotta disagree.  If a group is playing at a good speed, the marshall is in the wrong to bug them just because a faster group happens to be ahead.  Sure, if they are slowing down, or if they had a bad hole and lost some space, politely nudging them is fine, but it's simply out of line to repeatedly bother them if they're not actually playing slowly.

Oh, I definitely agree that he shouldn't have bugged them repeatedly, but letting them know that they are behind was fine by the marshall.  Letting them know that they are behind lets them know to make sure they keep that pace going smoothly.

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Originally Posted by phillyk

Oh, I definitely agree that he shouldn't have bugged them repeatedly, but letting them know that they are behind was fine by the marshall.  Letting them know that they are behind lets them know to make sure they keep that pace going smoothly.


Ok, that's fair.  I think the key for me would be, if I'm already playing good pace, I'd prefer the marshall frame it as asking me to help the course get ahead.  Obviously that's in everyone's interest since the inevitable slow-downs will come along eventually.

I'm fortunate in that my home courses are almost never packed.  Partly that's because I avoid rush hours, but even on weekend afternoons when it is as crowded as I play it, once you get past the 4th hole (second and last par 3, followed by a par 5), there's almost never any waiting at all.  I don't think I've ever seen a marshall there, and I've never seen more than a 2.5 hour round for 9 holes.  The 9 holes helps too, since there's less room for logjams to build up.  But still, on a weekday afternoon the whole place can be yours for $15!

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We teed off just after 1PM on a Saturday, about 10 min behind our originally scheduled tee time.  Funny how courses never apologize for over booking and making us wait.  But that's another topic...

The 1-2 shot behind is really caused by how the 4th and 5th holes are.  The 4th being a par 3, automatically makes us 1 shot behind, having to wait for them to finish putting.  Conveniently, the marshal wasn't there to tell them to wave us up.  The group ahead being better players, were able to get near the green on the par 5 5th in two shots.  So when we got to the 5th tee, they were near the green.  To the marshal, it looked like we were behind.  While we never waited for them, we never fell more behind.  A few times, we would step up to the tee to see them just finishing their approach shots.  To me, this was the perfect pace, not waiting and not making the group behind wait, and all around 4 hours.  What more can you ask for on a weekend afternoon round?

I told the marshal about us waiting the 1st 4 holes but he ignored it.  Went to the pro shop after the round and they apologized.  While the pro shop staff have always been great in my experience, we felt the marshal ruining our rounds called for more than just apologetic words.  So I emailed the GM and he never apologized.  Just said that he can't verify my story.  When I told him that we will not be returning to his course unless he did something, he said he's "sorry" that we decided to not return to his course.

Needless to say, not going back there again.

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