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gregsandiego

The 8 minute tee-time slot - why do they use it?

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47 minutes ago, Buckeyebowman said:

Well said as far as pin placements goes. I went out to play a local Metroparks course some time ago in the middle of the week. I noticed how challenging the pin placements were, towards the edge of the green, and such. I also knew the greenkeeper, ran into him after my round, and remarked about the pin placements. He replied that they normally did this during the week to preserve the middle of the green for weekend play, when they get bombed!

They were preserving the easy pin positions for the weekends so as to speed up play.

This is very interesting. Learning something new every day :) I imagine a lot of courses would probably (or already do) adopt this method.

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14 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

I'll go back to the original post.  The reason most courses use 8 minute intervals is simple economics.  The more people they can get off of the first tee, the more money they make.  In many high-demand areas, golfers will fill up all the available slots, no matter how slow the play gets.  If a group has a bad experience, and decides not to return, another group will fill their place.  If I'm a course owner, why should I choose to accept 24 players per hour (6 groups at 10 minutes) instead of 30 players (7.5 groups at 8 minutes)?  Has anyone here ever gone to their boss and said "I'll take a 20% pay cut"?  Now if the courses did see a noticeable loss of business, they might change their practices, but if the tee sheet is full, there's no motivation to change.  And to be honest, I think it the cost of hiring someone to marshall effectively would be much less than the loss of revenue associated with changing to 10 minute tee intervals. 

And if you read some of the posts above, you'll see that 8 minute intervals work for at least a few clubs, its not a complete fantasy

Good points.

I wonder if it works better on some courses because they have some kind of natural break in the flow (morning vs. afternoon players) so that the delays that typically accrue / accumulate from successive 8-minute tee times have a chance to 'clear' before the next 'busy period' and the delays at the end of the day are less severe than if they had a completely full tee sheet?

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My club uses 12-minute intervals for one course and 15 for the other. I couldn't imagine what it'd look like with 8-minute intervals...

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The course I work at uses 7-8 minute intervals depending on the specific tee time (I think in an effort to get "prettier" numbers for tee times). 

Tee times for an hour look like this:

7:00, 7:07, 7:15, 7:23, 7:30, 7:37, 7:45, 7:52, 8:00

The reason I think they do it is to ensure they have tee times on the 15 minute intervals (easy for a customer to remember) and then putting one more tee time in between each of those (to maximize revenue). The course plays pretty slow when the tee sheet is full, meaning that Tuesday mornings (where the sheet is usually fully booked from 6:30 to noon) play at around two and a half hours for nine, but it works alright when there is normal course traffic since the usual gaps provide plenty of room for the golfers to more naturally space out.

Thing is, the sheet is fully booked every Tuesday morning regardless of the slow play. This is why they continue to use this interval, because it would be crazy to take a full morning of 180 paying customers and reduce it down to only 160 (if you had 10 minute intervals) or 92 customers (if you had 15 minute intervals). At the standard rate of $25/person at this course you would lose $500 with 10 minute intervals and $2,200 dollars with 15 minute intervals. I'm sure they'd go to 5 minute intervals if they could get away with it, just because I still usually field at least 10 calls on Monday afternoons asking for tee times on Tuesday morning when it's usually booked solid by Friday, but they just can't fit that many golfers onto the course at one time.

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Okay- maybe it isn't "Fantasyland" everywhere. But playing on the lowly public/muni courses I can afford, you can see the effects of 8 minutes almost right away. 2 of the 3 of the most played start out with a shortish par 5 leading into a tough par three. Almost IMMEDIATELY there is a 3 or 4 group backup on the second hole. Then there is a shortish (not necessarily reachable) par 4. So everyone waits because they "once drove the edge of the green"... maybe twenty years ago. Yes, revenue is the prime motivator- but I think it's a hold over from BEFORE the self entitled era of today. My Dad in the 70's could play at 7am on a Sunday morning with his buddies and be done in 3.5 hours or so...WALKING. I know this because he would drop me at the range and he would be back to get me just after 10:30. You played faster back then- you just did. Mostly because we didn't get 18 hole coverage of players picking their noses and reading putts for 20 minutes- you got Back 9 coverage that was switching between players every 10 seconds. You got Arnie driving, cut to Jack making an approach, then Gary putting, back to Arnie making his approach, etc... None of these drawn out conversations between the players and caddies about the .42 mph change in the wind.. oh, wait it's a 2 mph change, better change clubs and go through my whole routine again.. No wait, someone farted 3 holes away- Expel them!  

On courses that are a tier above on the scale will charge a bit more for the experience which usually means 10 or 12 minutes (which is still too close for some people) between groups, better greens that putt truer and the like. 

And above that at private courses they can generally set up what the membership will bear...

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My home course uses 9-minute intervals between tee times.

As @101101notes, part of the early player flow has to do with course layout. If the course has several killer holes in the early going, whether you have 8- or 10-minute intervals won't matter much. Average golfers - especially first-time players - will tend to bog down unless they're having a good day.

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On August 1, 2016 at 10:54 AM, DaveP043 said:

You can't regulate stupid.  These problems are golfer problems, not an issue with the tee time interval.  Having an effective marshall on the course can decrease the severity of these kinds of problems, but nothing can eliminate them, short of booting people off the course.

So beautifully put. 100% correct and not only with golf. 

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On 8/3/2016 at 9:57 AM, RayG said:

Okay- maybe it isn't "Fantasyland" everywhere. But playing on the lowly public/muni courses I can afford, you can see the effects of 8 minutes almost right away. 2 of the 3 of the most played start out with a shortish par 5 leading into a tough par three. Almost IMMEDIATELY there is a 3 or 4 group backup on the second hole. Then there is a shortish (not necessarily reachable) par 4. So everyone waits because they "once drove the edge of the green"... maybe twenty years ago. Yes, revenue is the prime motivator- but I think it's a hold over from BEFORE the self entitled era of today. My Dad in the 70's could play at 7am on a Sunday morning with his buddies and be done in 3.5 hours or so...WALKING. I know this because he would drop me at the range and he would be back to get me just after 10:30. You played faster back then- you just did. Mostly because we didn't get 18 hole coverage of players picking their noses and reading putts for 20 minutes- you got Back 9 coverage that was switching between players every 10 seconds. You got Arnie driving, cut to Jack making an approach, then Gary putting, back to Arnie making his approach, etc... None of these drawn out conversations between the players and caddies about the .42 mph change in the wind.. oh, wait it's a 2 mph change, better change clubs and go through my whole routine again.. No wait, someone farted 3 holes away- Expel them!  

On courses that are a tier above on the scale will charge a bit more for the experience which usually means 10 or 12 minutes (which is still too close for some people) between groups, better greens that putt truer and the like. 

And above that at private courses they can generally set up what the membership will bear...

This is a good point!

I read, many years ago, an article where the author criticized course design for contributing to slow play, much as you have described.

A particular local course comes to mind. Unfortunately it no longer exists. It fell to the auctioneers hammer a few years ago, and is now a cattle ranch!

They started you out with a kind of leggy par 5, not really reachable by most, and you could easily get three foursomes on it. This was followed up by a bitching hard par 3, and that's where everything would stack up! The back nine was no better, which started you out with an incredibly hard par 4, that played like a 5, followed by an even longer par 3 than the front nine!

Don't get me wrong. I loved this course! But, for a public track, it was a bad design!

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On 8/1/2016 at 4:19 AM, Hardspoon said:

If you assume 36 groups can "fit" on a par-72 course (par-minus-2), and everyone played a 4-hour round, you'd have tee times spaced just under 7 minutes. The 8-minute spacing gives a little breathing room.

If you want FAR more detail about it than you ever thought existed (with bonus calculus!):

http://www.columbia.edu/~ww2040/Golf_Thpt_072914.pdf

 

The paper was too complicated and what was the conclusion?

But I tried to sketch out a simple spreadsheet just so I could picture this. It seems like the 8 min tee time depends on everyone proceeding in beautiful lock step. Group 1 perfectly reaches the green (or near) in 4 mins. And repeats perfectly every hole. It just doesn't seem realistic.

 

time tee1 g1 tee2 g2 tee3 g3
1:00 group1          
1:04   group1        
1:08 group2   group1      
1:12   group2   group1    
1:16 group3   group2   group1  
1:20   group3   group2   group1
1:24 group4   group3   group2  

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9 hours ago, gregsandiego said:

But I tried to sketch out a simple spreadsheet just so I could picture this. It seems like the 8 min tee time depends on everyone proceeding in beautiful lock step. Group 1 perfectly reaches the green (or near) in 4 mins. And repeats perfectly every hole. It just doesn't seem realistic.

Maybe in North Korea... 

As you are trying to point out- IF everyone plays nice. But as we know NOBODY will say they are the problem, it's ALWAYS the 'other guy'. 

Here's a question- would you pay an extra 2 bucks to have the course employ a "Time Lord"? 

How about a couple of extra bucks for cart technology. IF you dick around too much, the cart (if it deems safe to do so) will proceed to a spot where you SHOULD be. OR at the very least starts moving slowly and beeps to remind you to get your head out of your arse and get going.

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11 hours ago, RayG said:

Maybe in North Korea... 

As you are trying to point out- IF everyone plays nice. But as we know NOBODY will say they are the problem, it's ALWAYS the 'other guy'. 

Here's a question- would you pay an extra 2 bucks to have the course employ a "Time Lord"? 

\

Not all. I don't think courses should overbook AND I don't think they should harass players unless they are ridiculously slow.

By the way the PGA appears to use 10 min tee times. That's with 3 player groups and caddies!

Yes I know it's a spectator event but still, why do they need all that much more time than the amateurs?

 

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1 hour ago, Buckeyebowman said:

I have to agree. Four minutes tee to green on a public course is Fantasyland!

If you actually attempted to fill many time slots at that rate it would break down like the I405 in SoCal on Fri afternoon.

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On 8/10/2016 at 1:24 AM, gregsandiego said:

Group 1 perfectly reaches the green (or near) in 4 mins. And repeats perfectly every hole.

Never in a million years. You'll be lucky if group #1 gets off the tee box in 4 minutes, let alone on the green. 8 minutes would be getting you're second shot hit, and moving up the hole towards the green. Honestly, I think that's perfectly doable on an average golfer's average golf hole.

In my experience, I find it's the time between getting on the green to making it to the next tee box is where most time is wasted. Generally, if someone chunks their second shot, and maybe even their third, they're pretty active towards getting on the green. But, once it's time to putt, people think they're on tour.

Are you ready to putt? Then putt! Don't wait for the player who just chipped on, and is still away, to get ready to putt. Just putt; no one cares. Also, for the love of god, line up your freakin' putt while every one else is putting. Obviously, be subtle and don't screw someone up, but be ready. There's no reason not to be.

Same thing as the tee box. Get on and go. You know what you're hitting, you're not gonna layup. Pull the driver and stop playing. Does anyone out there actually care if the last lowest score goes first? I feel like people do it just because they think everyone else cares. Luckily, most of the people I play with don't care about this one.

/rant

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On 8/17/2016 at 7:56 PM, anthony said:

Never in a million years. You'll be lucky if group #1 gets off the tee box in 4 minutes, let alone on the green. 8 minutes would be getting you're second shot hit, and moving up the hole towards the green. Honestly, I think that's perfectly doable on an average golfer's average golf hole.

In my experience, I find it's the time between getting on the green to making it to the next tee box is where most time is wasted. Generally, if someone chunks their second shot, and maybe even their third, they're pretty active towards getting on the green. But, once it's time to putt, people think they're on tour.

Are you ready to putt? Then putt! Don't wait for the player who just chipped on, and is still away, to get ready to putt. Just putt; no one cares. Also, for the love of god, line up your freakin' putt while every one else is putting. Obviously, be subtle and don't screw someone up, but be ready. There's no reason not to be.

Same thing as the tee box. Get on and go. You know what you're hitting, you're not gonna layup. Pull the driver and stop playing. Does anyone out there actually care if the last lowest score goes first? I feel like people do it just because they think everyone else cares. Luckily, most of the people I play with don't care about this one.

/rant

You raise a good point. I wonder if we simply timed the average time a foursome spends on the tee box. If that's close to even a few minutes, the 8 minute schedule is hopelessly lost.

 

 

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On 8/10/2016 at 1:24 AM, gregsandiego said:

Group 1 perfectly reaches the green (or near) in 4 mins. And repeats perfectly every hole. It just doesn't seem realistic.

I'm going to take a little exception to @gregsandiego's evaluation.  Group 1 needs to have completed its second shots and be moving in about 8 minutes, allowing Group 2 to tee off on time.  Group 1 needs to have completed play on the green and be off the green in maybe 12 to 14 minutes, allowing Group 2 to hit and move  before a total elapsed time of 16 minutes, so Group 3 can tee off on time.   None of this is impossible, although it does depend on most groups playing in a timely manner.  

I'm not saying that 8-minute gaps are ideal, there will certainly be some slow spots, but its simply not as impossible as the 4-minute criteria that @gregsandiego suggested.

 

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9 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

I'm going to take a little exception to @gregsandiego's evaluation.  Group 1 needs to have completed its second shots and be moving in about 8 minutes, allowing Group 2 to tee off on time.  Group 1 needs to have completed play on the green and be off the green in maybe 12 to 14 minutes, allowing Group 2 to hit and move  before a total elapsed time of 16 minutes, so Group 3 can tee off on time.   None of this is impossible, although it does depend on most groups playing in a timely manner.  

I'm not saying that 8-minute gaps are ideal, there will certainly be some slow spots, but its simply not as impossible as the 4-minute criteria that @gregsandiego suggested.

 

I don't think that works. If that white paper wasn't so impossible to ready we might refer to it, but basically it talked about the course being like a production line. In your verbal description above Group 1  is already falling behind ("12 to 14 minutes"). Group 1 really needs to tee off every 8 minutes to keep things on time.

 

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6 minutes ago, gregsandiego said:

I don't think that works. If that white paper wasn't so impossible to ready we might refer to it, but basically it talked about the course being like a production line. In your verbal description above Group 1  is already falling behind ("12 to 14 minutes"). Group 1 really needs to tee off every 8 minutes to keep things on time.

 

The first group merely needs to be out of range of the second group within 8 minutes, meaning have to have played their approach to the green/be on the green in 8 minutes. This isn't nearly as difficult or far fetched as people seem to make it out to be. The proper place for the group behind is right behind the group in front, meaning as the group in front is putting out the group behind is getting ready to hit their approach. In your spreadsheet you have a gap which shouldn't be there in if every group is in their proper position on the course. 

This is how it would/should look if everyone is playing on pace and in position:

1st Tee

Played from Fairway/approach

Green

2nd Tee

G1 *actively hitting tee shots* 7:00am

 

 

 

G2 *actively hitting tee shots*  7:08 am

G1 *on the way to the green*

 

 

G3 *actively hitting tee shots* 7:16 am

G2 *on the way to the green*

G1 *on the way to the next tee*

 

G4 *actively hitting tee shots*  7:24 am

G3 *on the way to the green*

G2  *on the way to the next tee*

G1  *actively hitting tee shots*

 

Again, this is the ideal positioning, but not necessarily how it always works out depending on the course layout/par of the holes in question. The gap will typically grow/shrink on par 5s and Par 3s. 

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Note: This thread is 1203 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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