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The Definitive Pace of Play Thread


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82 members have voted

  1. 1. How long does it typically take you to play 18 holes as a foursome?

    • Under 3:00
      0
    • 3:00 to 3:30
      20
    • 3:30 to 4:00
      73
    • 4:00 to 4:30
      71
    • 4:30 to 5:00
      11
    • Over 5:00
      4


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9 hours ago, Fourputt said:

FYI, you don't look behind to see if you are on pace, you look ahead.  If you can't see the group in front of you then it doesn't matter that you can't see the group behind you.  All that means is that they are even slower than you are, but it is not an indicator that you playing at a good pace.

Maybe I should have mentioned....we were the first 4some out.....and I was saying that our pace of play was very good for the round, even though we were walking, it was just that because we didn't have a cart the other team was always racing ahead in theirs, then making unnecessary comments.

Edited by metbid
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It only works on certain types of par 3 holes, not on the general run of the mill par 3.  My home course did their own study on it for about 2 months.  The 4th hole is a par 3, and it sometimes backs

I'm resurrecting this thread, because I came across an interesting article today (it's from 2012, but I did a quick search and didn't see it mentioned on TST...a mod can merge if it's been discussed):

I can understand the reason a club would publicize a standard pace of play.  What I don't like is this: Some people will use the standard pace of play as an excuse to ignore what is stated so

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18 minutes ago, metbid said:

Maybe I should have mentioned....we were the first 4some out.....and I was saying that our pace of play was very good for the round, even though we were walking, it was just that because we didn't have a cart the other team was always racing ahead in theirs, then making unnecessary comments.

Well, if you were the first foursome out and keeping ahead of those behind then obviously that would be a good pace of play.

Edited by Jeremie Boop
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In my mind, there should never be a time when somebody in the group is not in their shot sequence.  Even if everybody is walking to the next tee or to their next shot, whoever is due to hit next should already be aware that they are up and they should be able to roll right into their process.   And whoever is due to hit next should be in their pregame, ready to start their sequence as soon as their clock starts. There is nothing more frustrating than to be behind a group that has nobody in front of them, yet nobody is doing anything related to hitting a golf ball.  There is plenty of time to have a conversation, mark your golf balls, send a text message, balance your checkbook, etc., when you are waiting for others to complete their shots.

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2 minutes ago, onkey said:

In my mind, there should never be a time when somebody in the group is not in their shot sequence.  Even if everybody is walking to the next tee or to their next shot, whoever is due to hit next should already be aware that they are up and they should be able to roll right into their process.   And whoever is due to hit next should be in their pregame, ready to start their sequence as soon as their clock starts. There is nothing more frustrating than to be behind a group that has nobody in front of them, yet nobody is doing anything related to hitting a golf ball.  There is plenty of time to have a conversation, mark your golf balls, send a text message, balance your checkbook, etc., when you are waiting for others to complete their shots.

I don't know, I find it at least as frustrating/annoying to watch people taking tons of practice swings then duff the ball and/or take 5 minutes to line up a putt only to miss it and repeat the process. At least if someone isn't doing anything golf related and it causes them to be slow it's possible they'll notice that they are holding you up and stop doing those things, but the people who take all those practice swings and/or inordinate amount of time to putt will almost never change their habits in order to speed up.

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45 minutes ago, Jeremie Boop said:

Well, if you were the first foursome out and keeping ahead of those behind then obviously that would be a good pace of play.

That still is no guarantee of anything except that they were faster than the first group behind them.  (This is not an indictment of @metbid since he says that they were on a good pace, whatever that may have been, and I'll take his word for it.)

As an example:  If the first group out plays at a 4½ hour pace (which is NOT a very good pace, but some courses call it "acceptable"), nobody behind them can possibly play any faster than that even if they are right on top of the group in front, and as the course fills up, it's a guarantee that it won't be long before the pace is closer to 5 hours.  That is simply how I've observed the dynamics of course flow while working in the starter booth for 5 years.  It's rare for any but the most conscientious following groups to even keep exactly the same pace as the group ahead of them.  They always seem to lag a bit, even if only a half minute per group, and that adds up quickly to a slow course.

This is why it's so crucial for the early groups to really focus on pace, not just on keeping ahead of the group behind them.  If there is nobody in front of you. you still have an obligation to do all you can to play as fast as is reasonable (I'm not talking speed golf, but those early groups should adhere to all of the aspects of ready golf to play as efficiently as possible to clear the way for the following groups).

13 minutes ago, Jeremie Boop said:

I don't know, I find it at least as frustrating/annoying to watch people taking tons of practice swings then duff the ball and/or take 5 minutes to line up a putt only to miss it and repeat the process. At least if someone isn't doing anything golf related and it causes them to be slow it's possible they'll notice that they are holding you up and stop doing those things, but the people who take all those practice swings and/or inordinate amount of time to putt will almost never change their habits in order to speed up.

This is in the realm of Fantasyland.  Players who fiddle around with anything and everything except playing their balls are generally oblivious to anything around them.  They are the ones most likely to take offense when told that they are slow. 

Most of the time, bad golfers are usually aware that they are bad and slow, and particularly if they are apprised of the problem will pick up and move ahead or let the following players through.  

By the way, I consider taking 5 minutes to line up a putt or taking 5 practice swings to be "fiddling around", not playing golf.

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5 minutes ago, Fourputt said:

That still is no guarantee of anything except that they were faster than the first group behind them.  (This is not an indictment of @metbid since he says that they were on a good pace, but some courses call it "acceptable", whatever that may have been, and I'll take his word for it.)

As an example:  If the first group out plays at a 4½ hour pace (which is NOT a very good pace), nobody behind them can possibly play any faster than that even if they are right on top of the group in front, and as the course fills up, it's a guarantee that it won't be long before the pace is closer to 5 hours.  That is simply how I've observed the dynamics of course flow while working in the starter booth for 5 years.  It's rare for any but the most conscientious following groups to even keep exactly the same pace as the group ahead of them.  They always seem to lag a bit, even if only a half minute per group, and that adds up quickly to a slow course.

This is why it's so crucial for the early groups to really focus on pace, not just on keeping ahead of the group behind them.  If there is nobody in front of you. you still have an obligation to do all you can to play as fast as is reasonable (I'm not talking speed golf, but those early groups should adhere to all of the aspects of ready golf to play as efficiently as possible to clear the way for the following groups).

This is in the realm of Fantasyland.  Players who fiddle around with anything and everything except playing their balls are generally oblivious to anything around them.  They are the ones most likely to take offense when told that they are slow. 

Most of the time, bad golfers are usually aware that they are bad and slow, and particularly if they are apprised of the problem will pick up and move ahead or let the following players through.  

I said keeping ahead, meaning there's a gap behind the first group and the group behind them, I apologize if my wording wasn't clear about that. 

And perhaps you think the second part fantasyland but I have see this happen when I play. Typically it's when the group didn't have anyone behind them for awhile but then they notice that I'm waiting and they put away their phone or whatever. It may not be often, but it's at least more plausible than someone not taking all those practice swings or taking ridiculous amounts of time to putt so that they can speed up.

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Here's a question that popped into my head this morning that fits this thread.  I showed up with a buddy for a 6:15 am tee time (7 minutes before sunrise and the third group of the day). :) We ended up getting paired up with another twosome that just happened to both be dreadful golfers.  The first group of the day was a fivesome, and the group that immediately preceded us was a twosome.  The fivesome must have been a bunch of regular dawn-patrol guys because they were lightning fast.  The twosome couldn't keep up with them, and we couldn't keep up with the twosome.  The groups behind us were a threesome (that kept up with us but wasn't really pushing us) and then a twosome (who was also keeping up).

When we were teeing off on 15, the fivesome was putting out on 17 and the twosome was hitting their tee shots on 17.  My buddy and I felt like the other twosome were certainly slowing us down, but I wouldn't really call them slow, per se.  When all was said and done, we walked off of the 18th green at 9:45.  So, we played in 3:30.

My question is this:  Since we were two unrelated twosomes and there was room in front of us after a few holes, would it have been kosher to suggest that we play on ahead of them?  I would think that as two separate twosomes, we'd have all moved a little faster.  Perhaps us and all of the groups behind would have finished in 3:20 or so, I don't know.

And if the answer to the question is yes, then the follow-up would be, how do you broach that subject without making it seem like you think the other twosome are a couple of slow losers whose very presence offends you? ;)

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7 minutes ago, Golfingdad said:

My question is this:  Since we were two unrelated twosomes and there was room in front of us after a few holes, would it have been kosher to suggest that we play on ahead of them?  I would think that as two separate twosomes, we'd have all moved a little faster.  Perhaps us and all of the groups behind would have finished in 3:20 or so, I don't know.

The group behind wasn't pushing you and you were playing at a 3:30 pace, there is no reason to stir the pot, especially that late in the round.

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If the 5-some was on 17 green, and the 2-some was teeing off on 17, and you were on 15, you would have probably only saved about 10 minutes at that point.  If it had come up around hole 8 or 9 and the other groups were opening up a lead, then I would feel comfortable saying we were pressed on time and asked if they minded if we move ahead.  They might have even appreciated it since they seemed to be poor golfers, and it would allow them to take additional time.  Three and a half hours for 18 is quite an acceptable pace of play.

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On ‎8‎/‎23‎/‎2016 at 10:48 AM, Fourputt said:

That still is no guarantee of anything except that they were faster than the first group behind them.  (This is not an indictment of @metbid since he says that they were on a good pace, whatever that may have been, and I'll take his word for it.)

We finished up in just over 3 1/2 hours.  I guess my post might have been slightly misunderstood, I meant my statement to indicate that we were on a very acceptable pace of play not just keeping ahead, it was just that taking a cart does not always impute that walkers are too slow, and does not give a cart rider the right to be rude.

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12 of us took 6.5 hours to play today. Actually our original group was 10. 2 strangers decided to join us for our shenanigans. They are no longer strangers. No we didn't hold anyone up. We were the only ones there.

Running out of ice, and beer took some time.

There was a swimming  pool along the back 9 that took some more time.

One of our carts died that required "Bag Strap Towing Service" for 6 holes.

Have no idea what our scores were. Tomorrow is our serious matches. Today's games were just a prep for tonight's poker game. :beer:

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  • 2 weeks later...

I walked nine holes solo in 1 hr and 24 min while passing through two groups. Sub 3-hour rounds while walking are pretty solid IMO. It was a brisk but enjoyable pace. 

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It seems like they could simply set the "maximum" pace of play at 4 hours for those that tee off before 8:30 am.  There would still be enough tee times for the slow and slower golfers.

I got paired with 3 older ladies at Blackmoor in Myrtle a couple of weeks ago.  All three were obviously senior citizens, hit 4 to 5 shots to reach every green, and one of the ladies used her putter as a cane because she had peripheral vascular disease and congestive heart failure.  The four of us played the front 9 in just under 2 hours (what would have been a 4 hour pace).  At the turn we ran into double tee box where we were forced to play a snail pace of 2 1/2 hours on the back 9.

I would have thought the 4 of us were doomed to play slow, but all it took was playing ready golf and not looking for lost golf balls for more than 30 secs.  If 3 elderly ladies and I can play off 2 separate tee boxes and finish in under 4 hours then anyone can.  Even Kevin Na, Jim Furyk, J.B.Holmes, and the weekend warrior can do it.

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15 hours ago, RGoosen said:

It seems like they could simply set the "maximum" pace of play at 4 hours for those that tee off before 8:30 am.  There would still be enough tee times for the slow and slower golfers.

I would be opposed to any policy which supports slow play.  This would in essence be saying that as long as you play after 8:30 it's okay to dawdle.  Good pace is not a time of day based idea - it's how everyone should be required to play from first group to last.  Not every fast player or group of players has to opportunity to play early.  Some have either work or family duties that put them on the course later.  They have the rights as anyone else and should have the same opportunity for playing in a reasonable length of time.  

There is no solution in just giving up on it and splitting the day into fast and slow players.  For the public courses I play that can't be done anyway.  You have to cater to all of the players, not set up rules that alienates some of them. 

The only real solution for slow play is in educating players in the proper techniques for good pace of play, then making them aware that all players are required to maintain the pace set by the course, and that the course policy will be enforced.  It's people's thinking that needs to be changed.  30 years ago the issue was almost non-existent, so it's not the game that dictates pace, it's the people who play the game.

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At registration a few days ago at the U.S. Women's Mid-Am here in Erie, I told many players who registered that in 2015 fewer than 6% of contestants were liable for warnings or slow play penalties throughout all of the USGA's amateur championships.

I'm wondering if most of that 6% didn't come from the women's mid-am, because I handed out multiple (6-7 IIRC) warnings out of 44 groups, and some groups that were out of position made no real attempt to get back into position.

One group, the next-to-last of the day, ran down the 14th fairway (one player just for a few steps). This despite playing the 13th hole at about 20 minutes behind the pace of the group in front, and showing no burst of speed then when the group in front was not even visible…

I could see the 16th from my position on the 13th clearly, and many of the warned groups had done little to close the gap (the 15th is a par three, which helps them).

Sigh. It's just bred into the culture these days, it seems.

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Has anyone timed a slow player once it is their turn to play?  Not as part of a tournament, just during a regular round.  I am sure there are some exceptions but typically they pull the trigger in much less than a minute.  While I hate watching someone take 5 practice swings (or stand there with their laser trying to find their target, or gauge the appropriate club, etc...), usually that is not the biggest source of the slow play.  It seems like forever watching the process but the reality is the amount of time for all this is remarkably short in the grand scheme of things.  Even when considering this player may take 10 shots to get near the green.

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I paid for 18 holes recently, after 9 holes, we were at 2:45. My tolerance for slow play has dwindled significantly, was thinking of other things around the 5th hole. My partners and I decided to play 3 more holes after the turn and that's it, was very close to packing it in myself after 9. I used to tolerate 6 hours, I'd probably would have to be shooting lights out to be tempted to keep playing.  In my area, you can wake up at the crack of dawn, get an early tee time and you're still liable to get a 5 hour round.

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  • 3 months later...
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I want to bring this thread back.  I was perusing the Jason Day pace thread, and I thought of my last tournament and I got thinking about yardage books. I don't know if it was discussed in the previous 37 pages, but one of the guys I was playing with in this last event had his yardage book out for almost every shot.  He's played the course multiple times for other tournaments so he keeps notes.  We were a 3-some and although we waited a few times for the 4-some in front of us, I feel like we were still slow.  I knew this guy was slow but I think it was because he took so long to think about club selection or how he wanted to play the shot.  Granted, he ended up winning the event with a 67, but it seemed unnecessary to think about the shot for that long.

I think the same thing happens with Tour players but on a longer scale. 2 things, first they can't carry distance measuring devices, so the fact of counting off the steps from a water head then seeing how many paces from the middle or front of green the pin is, and putting it together will take longer than a device.  Next, they take their yardage book out anyway to confirm where contours of green are, maybe where the tiers or ridges are, how far to clear a sand trap, whatever the case.  Heck on the green, I remember watching Matsuyama looking at his yardage book for a putt. It's like a topographic map sometimes showing every little break.  Then he'll go about his normal reading the green routine.  Either way, their round takes longer than it should because they have that added step of taking notes or reading notes in their yardage books that most of us will never do in a round.  Not that this is the only thing, but it is an added step to the game.

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