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Is slow play at your course choking the fun out of the game?


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I love the game of golf.  Because I own and operate a small 9-hole facility I essentially spend seven days a week on the course.  Much of my time is spent working, but there is always time left to play plenty of holes each week, weekends especially.  It is not unusual for me and my friends to play 45 to 54 holes in a day on weekends, but that is at my own course where I can control tee times and pace of play.  However, when visiting other public facilities in my area it is the norm to spend 5+ hours to get in only 18 holes.  And no matter how much I love the game, frustration always sets in when having to hurry up and wait.  What are your ideas on speeding up play to make everyone's overall esperience more enjoyable.  Myself, I feel educating the slower players is the best course of action.  Many of my newer members and players at my course did not grow up playing the game like myself and have had noone to teach them the proper ettiquette of the game.  It is possible to tactfully teach most players, though not all, and it will produce much more positive results than just bitching about the problem with the faster more educated players.  But I believe that the approach you use and the words you choose to breach the subject is very important.  Now that having been said, not everyone is going to be receptive to coaching.  Just the other day I had a member say that "he paid his money like everyone else and he'll play at any pace he wishes."  I do not like having to deal with that comment but from time to time I must.  My respnse was peacefull but very firm as I told him that I can not allow one individual spoil the afternoon for 40 others and that the greater good of the masses must come before the individual.  He of course still was not happy, in fact fighting mad at this point, and not willing to change his habits so I was forced to return his money and ask him to leave telling him that playing here is a privilage and not a right of his.   Was I wrong?  Other ways I have found to speed up play amoung my regulars is playing double bogey max.  And on rare occasions I have even asked groups to skip holes, although I always allow them to go back and complete the hole to complete their round.  Give me your thoughts on the slow play, if any, at your courses.  Thanks for your feedback.

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Many of the courses I play at have "rangers" that control the speed of play.  Usually if you have an open hole in front of your group, you'll be told to catch up.  If you have not caught up in a couple of holes you'll be told to pick up and move to the next hole or leave.    I also play some at a private club and there slow play usually is not a problem due to peer pressure.  But slow play can occur upon rare occasion and since the players own the course it has to be treated more gently I admit.

I should have added that around here in prime season, the resort and public courses depend upon the green fees to survive the rest of the year.  So it isn't an unimportant consideration on how many foursomes you can accommodate in a given day.

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Pace is usually good enough at my home course -- 4.5 hours when full. Rangers help by letting people know where any slow-downs are, what they are doing about it "I let the group two ahead know that they need to pick up the pace or skip a hole. Reminded them that tall grass is played as a lateral hazard."), AND THEY HELP LOOK FOR LOST BALLS. I hate seeing rangers waiting to tell your group to pick up the pace while you look for a ball and they just sit there.

For me, 4.5 hours is about the tipping point. It feels acceptable. Oddly, 4.75 hours feels really slow. I would not play a course if I knew it was going to be 5 hours every week.

I'd advise any course manager to note the pin placements on the weekends. Last Saturday they had the first pin in a ridiculous spot on a hill near what seemed like a cliff. One inch past the cup and your ball rolled another 10-20 feet. Three 3-putts and a 4-putt later, we finally walked off the first green feeling like we were holding up the group behind us -- because we were holding them up. Super hard pins on two and three as well. I could not figure out why we were waiting so long on the group in front of us to clear the green on number three until I saw the pin. One or two fun-house pins may be fine. Three in a row spells slow rounds all day.

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Most of the time, the pace is acceptable in my area although Saturday and Sunday morning or mid-day can be a little slow (like most places).  I'm not a good golfer but I move along.

However, this weekend slow play in my own group was driving me crazy.  A "new guy" golfed with me and a couple of friends and he's also a new golfer.  This was not an issue since I only started last year.  But what was killing me was his constant dawdling.  His every move was slow and meandering.  If he topped a shot, he looked at it, pondered briefly (about what I don't know), slowly walked the 50' to his ball, and repeat.  He didn't leave the golf cart to get on the tee until the player in front was already taking his swing.  His partner was trying to prod him along but his pace never changed.  I had to come to terms that the guy was inherently slow.

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Oddly, the only real time I seem to have an issue with slow play is when I'm playing with a good friend who's recently taken up the game.

Joe is a great guy: intelligent, witty, and both my wife and I enjoy his company (off the golf course!) and that of his wife.  But God, I hate playing with him.  His routine consists of standing behind the ball for what seems like about 30 secs, contemplating his shot and god knows what else.  Of course he never does this while others are hitting; instead he waits until it's his turn, prolonging the agony for the rest of us.  When he finally steps up, he'll take one, two, three, four and sometimes five practice swings.  After that, sometimes he'll address the ball and actually hit it.  Other times he'll address it and then decide he should check his alignment.  He does this by placing the club across his thighs.  How the f&^% you can see anything by doing that is beyond me, but I digress.  Instead the question should be, "WTF?  Did you not consider alignment during your 30 second meditation?"

Anyway, what I find is that his slow play makes me speed up my play in the vain hope that somehow we're going to keep pace.  I rarely play well when I play with Joe.  Also, when I play with Joe it's a given that we will lose touch with the group ahead of us and have the group behind us waiting.  I hate it.  If I have to play a slow round, I'd much rather be waiting for the group ahead of us than scurrying to get out of the way of the group behind us.

So next year, I will be playing fewer rounds with Joe.  It's too frustrating.

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funny, it seems to me like anything over 4:15 walking feels slow as hell.  we will be done in 4.5 hrs and we have waited on every hole.  drives me nuts.

to the OP - you have every right to tell that guy that his $ does not allow him to take as much time as he wants.  i dont even think you had to refund his money.

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+1.  When I play as a foursome, we typically finish in 4 hours.  If someone is having a particularly bad day (i.e., a lot of errant shots), it will be around 4:15.  Anything more than that, we are waiting on just about every shot.  This is true even when we are following foursomes that ride a cart.  We all walk, but anytime it takes more than 4:15, we seem to be waiting on cart golfers up ahead.

Originally Posted by colin007

funny, it seems to me like anything over 4:15 walking feels slow as hell.  we will be done in 4.5 hrs and we have waited on every hole.  drives me nuts.

to the OP - you have every right to tell that guy that his $ does not allow him to take as much time as he wants.  i dont even think you had to refund his money.


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Slow play has a lot of different causes, but the one I seem to see most often is caused by high handicappers playing poorly.  I'm not cracking on high handicappers, because I consider myself to be one, but the truth is if you're shooting a number over 100 (say 110 +) it's pretty much impossible for that person to be able to play expeditiously.  These are the guys who after almost every shot they connect with are going to be looking for their ball.  That means if you're attempting to adhere to proper etiquette the whole group will spend a considerable amount of time trying to help this guy keep up with his ball.  Not only is this frustrating for the players in the group but it's frustrating for everyone else on the course who are behind you.  Even letting groups play through slows down play more so than if the group in question is maintaining a proper pace.  The only solution I've ever seen for this that works is to have courses that cater more for different handicaps, but this solution isn't always viable.

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Originally Posted by colin007

funny, it seems to me like anything over 4:15 walking feels slow as hell.  we will be done in 4.5 hrs and we have waited on every hole.  drives me nuts.

to the OP - you have every right to tell that guy that his $ does not allow him to take as much time as he wants.  i dont even think you had to refund his money.



When I play a solo walking round at my course, it takes just over 2 hours. The front nine is shorter but there's more trouble off the tee so it takes takes a couple minutes longer than the back. If I only have an hour and a half, I prefer the back 9 and I go out as late as possible. As long as I don't catch anyone, a 58 minute back nine is the norm. So oviously rounds mid-day on weekends seem excruciatingly slow to me. I avoid weekend golf at my home course like the plague. At another course where I never ever get to play with a open course, a consistent wait on every shot doesn't seem quite as painful.

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Myself, I could really care less how long it takes to play. If some groups ahead are slow I've got to wait, its as simple as that. Sometimes it is annoying when its a group of folks who are being obnoxious, but if they're just bad golfers who are really trying I'll cut em some slack. Who cares?

I think overly fast play squeezes the fun out of my golf game. Something about people playing a leisure sport like their ball landed on the track during the Daytona 500 and they've gotta get out there and hit it before the cars round the corner and kill them. Chase Golf I like to call it, because that it what it is. Everybody bitching about a 4 some ahead of them who isn't as good as they are, or at least isn't playing as fast.

And somebody here was wondering why old timers tend to NOT like younger golfers. Maybe its because once again, us youngsters are ruining the sport with our ideas of speed and efficiency.

Relax, you aren't at work; the boss isn't going to fire you from your game! Nobody is coming after you with a 50 cal. Relax, have a beer, and enjoy your game. When you've gotta wait, enjoy the scenery.

Sooner or later, golf courses are going to be pushing the 1 hour turn because of these shenanigans. Not like I am in love with slower play, but honestly, what is so pressing on the course that you've gotta hurry hurry hurry? Don't play golf like you drive. ;)

*steps off his soap box*

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Originally Posted by Stewie007

Myself, I could really care less how long it takes to play. If some groups ahead are slow I've got to wait, its as simple as that. Sometimes it is annoying when its a group of folks who are being obnoxious, but if they're just bad golfers who are really trying I'll cut em some slack. Who cares?

I think overly fast play squeezes the fun out of my golf game. Something about people playing a leisure sport like their ball landed on the track during the Daytona 500 and they've gotta get out there and hit it before the cars round the corner and kill them. Chase Golf I like to call it, because that it what it is. Everybody bitching about a 4 some ahead of them who isn't as good as they are, or at least isn't playing as fast.

And somebody here was wondering why old timers tend to NOT like younger golfers. Maybe its because once again, us youngsters are ruining the sport with our ideas of speed and efficiency.

Relax, you aren't at work; the boss isn't going to fire you from your game! Nobody is coming after you with a 50 cal. Relax, have a beer, and enjoy your game. When you've gotta wait, enjoy the scenery.

Sooner or later, golf courses are going to be pushing the 1 hour turn because of these shenanigans. Not like I am in love with slower play, but honestly, what is so pressing on the course that you've gotta hurry hurry hurry? Don't play golf like you drive. ;)

*steps off his soap box*



On the course? Nothing really. I'd just rather play 18 holes than 13 or 9, which is all I have time for on the weekend. Not everyone is as unencumbered as the people you're golfing with. Some people on the course have other places to be and a finite amount of time to be at the course. Plus there are some widely recognized acceptable pace of play guidelines that are pretty generous once you can hit the ball out of your own shadow (and in the proper direction).

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Originally Posted by sean_miller

On the course? Nothing really. I'd just rather play 18 holes than 13 or 9, which is all I have time for on the weekend. Not everyone is as unencumbered as the people you're golfing with. Some people on the course have other places to be and a finite amount of time to be at the course. Plus there are some widely recognized acceptable pace of play guidelines that are pretty generous once you can hit the ball out of your own shadow (and in the proper direction).



++++1

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To me I'd rather fast play to slow play, but slow play to no play at all.  No matter how slow it gets around here (18 holes can get to the 5 hour range during peak season) golf is still fun.  My home course does a pretty good job with rangers keeping up the pace of play and usually they keep 18 holes to right about 4:15 to 4:30... not too bad considering how many people are on the course.

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Originally Posted by Stewie007

Myself, I could really care less how long it takes to play. If some groups ahead are slow I've got to wait, its as simple as that. Sometimes it is annoying when its a group of folks who are being obnoxious, but if they're just bad golfers who are really trying I'll cut em some slack. Who cares?

I think overly fast play squeezes the fun out of my golf game. Something about people playing a leisure sport like their ball landed on the track during the Daytona 500 and they've gotta get out there and hit it before the cars round the corner and kill them. Chase Golf I like to call it, because that it what it is. Everybody bitching about a 4 some ahead of them who isn't as good as they are, or at least isn't playing as fast.

And somebody here was wondering why old timers tend to NOT like younger golfers. Maybe its because once again, us youngsters are ruining the sport with our ideas of speed and efficiency.

Relax, you aren't at work; the boss isn't going to fire you from your game! Nobody is coming after you with a 50 cal. Relax, have a beer, and enjoy your game. When you've gotta wait, enjoy the scenery.

Sooner or later, golf courses are going to be pushing the 1 hour turn because of these shenanigans. Not like I am in love with slower play, but honestly, what is so pressing on the course that you've gotta hurry hurry hurry? Don't play golf like you drive. ;)

*steps off his soap box*


I admire your attitude and for the most part I share it. The issue for me though is I very much care what score I shoot, and how I shoot is affected by the flow, or lack thereof. It's just harder to score well when I'm waiting 15 minutes between shots than when I'm waiting 5. If the reason for waiting can't be helped, I can live with it - but if it's because someone is being an ass and lacking etiquette or common courtesy, that riles me. That's true for me everywhere though, not just on the course.

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Originally Posted by sean_miller

On the course? Nothing really. I'd just rather play 18 holes than 13 or 9, which is all I have time for on the weekend. Not everyone is as unencumbered as the people you're golfing with. Some people on the course have other places to be and a finite amount of time to be at the course. Plus there are some widely recognized acceptable pace of play guidelines that are pretty generous once you can hit the ball out of your own shadow (and in the proper direction).

You are assuming that I am saying that slow golfers can do no wrong. I am more speaking of my experiences with other people on golf courses. I actually normally play as a single on Fridays or Saturday afternoon nowadays because there are fewer people to contend with. I got tired of rude comments and Class A jerks that think its okay to hit people with golf balls (Good thing for that guy it bounced before hitting me). Apparently waiting for a group to clear a green from 180 was unreasonable for my group. So I don't play with others on Sunday anymore.

There are plenty of things a course could do to mitigate some of the slow play. One such way is to mark distances well throughout the course. That would stop some of the misjudged distances that cause some folks to wait when they really should be hitting. One course I play has obvious markers on the paths as well as a big stone of a select color in the fairway. Very easy to tell how far you are from the green. It would be nice if they would provide a complimentary practice bucket so that people can get warmed up before they play. It would get the less skilled who have time to come out earlier and get the kinks out.

How about we think of ways to mitigate slow play and then suggest them to the courses where we find that it is a problem. That would be a well spirited approach, rather than just getting angry. I like to say that folks who complain but offer no alternatives have no firm ground to stand upon. Make it an effort instead of a protest, eh?

Originally Posted by nevets88

++++1


What, is this a competition?

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Luckily for me slow play isn't the worst thing in the world especially if it's a nice day. Sometimes it's nice to take one's time. I do agree that it can def take you out of a groove when you are hitting well which is never fun.

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Funny the one I see most often is mid/low cappers taking forever. The measure every shot to the nearest yard , looking at the put from ever angle, switching clubs multiple times on wedge shots, playing honours, and spending forever looking for balls (and then going back to hit another one). I might be biased by playing behind a group where each member took 3+ practice swings every time.

When I was shooting 120, I routinely finished a round in under 3 hours as a single. Why? Well the course was pretty empty was the big one. I didn't waste too much time looking for balls (if it is 40 feet in the woods, no need to look for it), reading the green (I wasn't going to figure out 2 cups or 3), distances (my 6 iron went ~140-160 and my 7 went ~130-155. Being accurate to within 10 yards wasn't going to help me pick clubs) and so on. Now I am shooting in the low 90s and my pace of play really hasn't changed. Less shots but more time for each of them as the club spread has come down (7 is more like 150-160 now) and I actually have to think what type of shot I want to hit around a green.

There is a reason why the PGA pros are some of the slowest players out there. They have a heck of a lot more to think about than most of us.

Originally Posted by Chief Broom

Slow play has a lot of different causes, but the one I seem to see most often is caused by high handicappers playing poorly.  I'm not cracking on high handicappers, because I consider myself to be one, but the truth is if you're shooting a number over 100 (say 110 +) it's pretty much impossible for that person to be able to play expeditiously.  These are the guys who after almost every shot they connect with are going to be looking for their ball.  That means if you're attempting to adhere to proper etiquette the whole group will spend a considerable amount of time trying to help this guy keep up with his ball.  Not only is this frustrating for the players in the group but it's frustrating for everyone else on the course who are behind you.  Even letting groups play through slows down play more so than if the group in question is maintaining a proper pace.  The only solution I've ever seen for this that works is to have courses that cater more for different handicaps, but this solution isn't always viable.



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Quote:

...When you've gotta wait, enjoy the scenery.

Sooner or later, golf courses are going to be pushing the 1 hour turn because of these shenanigans. Not like I am in love with slower play, but honestly, what is so pressing on the course that you've gotta hurry hurry hurry? Don't play golf like you drive. ;) ....

Tough to enjoy the scenery when your on the 15th hole and the sun is already below the horizon. Already had one round this year that took about an hour longer than it should have resulting in a few groups not being able to finish a full 18. I suspect it will happen again sometime during the end of this season as we continue to lose daylight.

A lot of groups I see slowing up play would not need to hurry in order to improve their pace. They would just need to play ready golf. I played with a new player this past weekend and he was rushing around because he knew he was taking a lot of shots. I stopped him a few times and told him to take his time as we were waiting on the group in front of us. I play with another guy who is a little better player than the new guy but he just won't take to the 'ready golf' mentality. He will walk 50 yards across the fairway to help another player find their ball rather than playing out of turn and then going to help after playing his shot. Drives me a little nuts as I have to constantly steer him into ready golf but at the same time I cut him some slack as he was diagnosed with inoperable cancer a while ago. That is the one case where I will play rush golf in order to cut someone else some slack.

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