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Crowds and slow golf are making me quit the game


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43 minutes ago, AlDena said:

@ozzynator

That's Vista Valencia, right? #2 is a 203 yd par 3, with a narrow opening. Balls are sprayed left and right as everyone is swinging hard to reach it. It's hard to get a par, unless you can check your ego. I think the course design contributes to the bottleneck. That happens every time at the hole, but it does clear up soon after. 

You’re  right about the ego check in. One person tees off with a lucky 5i shot then...

Long Par 3 bunch up a lot around here.

Sometimes the rangers tell people to hit up when the other parties get close to the green behind some cover. That speeds things up.

Edited by Lihu
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We did 36 holes at Vista Valencia once.  It used to be fine to play 3 years ago.  It took me 10 minutes just to get through the line to check in. They lined us up and I waited 30 minutes to tee off.  We finished hole one and waited a good 40 minutes to tee off on hole 2.   
I really don't play well finishing a hole and then waiting 30 minutes.  I won't do Vista Valencia ever again.

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12 hours ago, saevel25 said:

The only time I ever got caught in something like that was on a municipal course in Dayton. Only on the backnine were the 2nd hole is a 170+ yard par 3 up hill. Par 3's will kill pacing.

Here in Suffolk County Long Island there are 4 county course. I can attest that 3 of the 4 have a par 3 2nd hole. It is a pace killer. 

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21 hours ago, Patch said:

I usually play courses located near Disneyland. There are 4, or 5 I play at.This when we take our Grandkids there for amusement park, and/or Newport Beach fun. 

I have never seen  play exceed 4.5 hours. Most of the time it's around 4 hours. 

I guess I am there during the slow times. :-(

I live in the OC area, also near Disneyland and I have been surprised that the local courses are NOT crowded. When I played back in the 90’s slow play was the problem, but not this year. 

It must depend on the tee times you select. In the summer if I go out between 11:00 and 1:30 the morning rush is over and it’s pretty casual.

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Reminds me of a course that used to be in business around here. It's now a cattle farm. The front opened with a par 5 followed by a long difficult par 3. The back opened with a thunderously long par 4 again followed by a long difficult par 3. Other than those bottlenecks I loved the course. In it's day it was well maintained, with large, really quick greens. It was no pushover.

But, after the original family sold it, it went downhill quickly.

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I feel the key to the elimination of slow play is a simple willingness on the part of the owner/operator of the golf course to hire enough personnel to effectively monitor the pace of play. Also, we the players, don't fool around either. If we find that a group one or two holes in front of us is causing a backup, there is no hesitation about getting on the phone to the clubhouse to tell them to get someone out to goose the offenders along.

Northern New Jersey has just about the densest population in the nation and yet I have noticed over the past several years that the pace of play has been improving. 10 years ago, 6 hours rounds on the weekend were pretty typical. These days, for 18 holes, 4 1/2 hours on the weekend is the norm with 4:15 easily doable during the week. At my regular course, Flanders Valley - a public county course, Billy Casper Golf has taken over management and they run a tight ship with a friendly but firm team of rangers who patrol the 36 holes "encouraging" people along, even helping players find wayward shots or suggesting that they just forget about a lost ball, take a drop and continue on. They've even tried some innovative starting techniques, one called "the wave" where they stagger starting times on the front and back nines of each course, timing it such that when a foursome completes their first nine, no matter whether they've started on the front or back, they can continue on with minimal wait. 

At Crystal Springs a semi-private/resort complex of four 18 hole and two nine hole courses, the pace of play is closely monitored and they absolutely take no prisoners. If a group is slowing things down the rangers there will warn them once, monitor them and then if they don't pick things up, order them to skip a hole.

I think the golf industry as a hole, at least around my area, realizes that slow play is a killer and the managers of most of the courses around here are doing everything they can to speed things along.

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9 hours ago, Lihu said:

 

The best advice I have for you and for everyone around us is to suggest that shorter players play from the front tees and worse players play the many executive courses we have until they get their game and confidence up. Do this with everyone you meet. The problem is that many people play courses that are too hard for them, otherwise, round times would be easily under 3 hours with golf carts.

That's not likely to work IMHO. you really can't change people behavior on a large scale.

 

8 hours ago, ozzynator said:

I have been in Simi about 5 years.  They shut down one of the courses and the economy has got better and better.  You use to be able to go out late and do a quick round,  in the last year it's just been unbearable.   There is usually a waiting list on weekends so any open spot gets filled.  They push people out as quickly as they can.  Golf courses have one priority,  getting people to tee off as quickly as possible.  They make sure another group is ready to hit the second the group ahead of them finishes their second shot.  Now if you tee off 5 hours before sunset,  you won't finish.  

One solution is to go a couple hours before sunset and just do 9,  but my golf partner hates not finishing as he likes to track his scores.  
Any private club is going to cost 1500 per month.

 

Ozzy, with all due respect you seem pretty down on golf and I doubt any of us will have a suggestion you are going to like. Maybe you should at least take a break for a while?

Edited by gregsandiego
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37 minutes ago, gregsandiego said:

That's not likely to work IMHO. you really can't change people behavior on a large scale.

You mean, you can't change people from doing stupid stuff on the course starting with playing tees that are too long for them?

 

 

 

 

Oh well,  what would golf be like without people doing dumb stuff, I guess?:-D

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read this
https://www.golfdigest.com/story/the-real-cause-of-slow-play-is

 

The reason these courses are so slow is that the tee times are so close together.  Most are 8 minutes apart.  Can a group of 4 hit, drive out and all take their second shot in 8 minutes,  probably not.  And once they have to wait for their second shot because people are on the green  suddenly it's 20.
If a course has some tee times with 2 people and a couple empty tee times,  it works.  When every single tee time is 4 people,  everyone waits and it takes 5.5 hours.
So all golf courses would have to is charge everyone 15% more and space the tee times out properly and we could all play around in 3.5 hours.  Naturally, if they ever did that they would soon get it in their head of all the lost revenue and take the time back and it would cost more.  Its much worse in December that June.  June has enough hours in the day, so just a little fewer people makes a big difference.

Edited by ozzynator
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52 minutes ago, ozzynator said:

read this
https://www.golfdigest.com/story/the-real-cause-of-slow-play-is

 

The reason these courses are so slow is that the tee times are so close together.  Most are 8 minutes apart.  Can a group of 4 hit, drive out and all take their second shot in 8 minutes,  probably not.  And once they have to wait for their second shot because people are on the green  suddenly it's 20.
If a course has some tee times with 2 people and a couple empty tee times,  it works.  When every single tee time is 4 people,  everyone waits and it takes 5.5 hours.
So all golf courses would have to is charge everyone 15% more and space the tee times out properly and we could all play around in 3.5 hours.  Naturally, if they ever did that they would soon get it in their head of all the lost revenue and take the time back and it would cost more.  Its much worse in December that June.  June has enough hours in the day, so just a little fewer people makes a big difference.

OK so now I'm starting to agree with you (not about quitting golf - just about short tee intervals).

In fact somewhere on this board is a long thread I started about the fallacy of the 8 minute tee time. Yeah - if you were to fill a course full of foursomes at 8 minute intervals you have a massive traffic jam. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, ozzynator said:

read this
https://www.golfdigest.com/story/the-real-cause-of-slow-play-is

 

The reason these courses are so slow is that the tee times are so close together.  Most are 8 minutes apart.  Can a group of 4 hit, drive out and all take their second shot in 8 minutes,  probably not.  And once they have to wait for their second shot because people are on the green  suddenly it's 20.
If a course has some tee times with 2 people and a couple empty tee times,  it works.  When every single tee time is 4 people,  everyone waits and it takes 5.5 hours.
So all golf courses would have to is charge everyone 15% more and space the tee times out properly and we could all play around in 3.5 hours.  Naturally, if they ever did that they would soon get it in their head of all the lost revenue and take the time back and it would cost more.  Its much worse in December that June.  June has enough hours in the day, so just a little fewer people makes a big difference.

 

1 hour ago, gregsandiego said:

OK so now I'm starting to agree with you (not about quitting golf - just about short tee intervals).

In fact somewhere on this board is a long thread I started about the fallacy of the 8 minute tee time. Yeah - if you were to fill a course full of foursomes at 8 minute intervals you have a massive traffic jam. 

 

With ready golf and playing tees that are appropriate 8 minutes sounds reasonable.

The issues arise when people don't play good golf. Typically from losing balls because they are playing too far back or on too difficult a course for them.

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10 hours ago, ozzynator said:

read this
https://www.golfdigest.com/story/the-real-cause-of-slow-play-is

 

The reason these courses are so slow is that the tee times are so close together.  Most are 8 minutes apart.  Can a group of 4 hit, drive out and all take their second shot in 8 minutes,  probably not.  And once they have to wait for their second shot because people are on the green  suddenly it's 20.
If a course has some tee times with 2 people and a couple empty tee times,  it works.  When every single tee time is 4 people,  everyone waits and it takes 5.5 hours.
So all golf courses would have to is charge everyone 15% more and space the tee times out properly and we could all play around in 3.5 hours.  Naturally, if they ever did that they would soon get it in their head of all the lost revenue and take the time back and it would cost more.  Its much worse in December that June.  June has enough hours in the day, so just a little fewer people makes a big difference.

Actually, an 8 minute interval is quite doable, BUT only if everything works perfectly.  Of course, that never happens, and courses can't seem to grasp the concept that average players don't play perfect golf.  For whatever reason, courses seem to feel that cramming too many players into too small a pipe isn't really the problem, when that is at the root of the issue.

My home course alternates 8 and 9 minute intervals until 10:30 then goes to 9 minutes for the rest of the day.  Usually on the par 4 first hole most groups reach the green before the next group is due up on the tee, so for that hole even 8 minutes would probably work as long as no one gets into trouble.  The second hole is a par 5 which is reachable for a lot of players, so it can cause some issues when a couple of the guys have to wait for the green to clear.  The problem there is that too many who can't reach still wait for the green to clear when they couldn't hit it with a cannon, and that can cause slight delays, but rarely more than a minute or two.  The first par 3 isn't very long (170 from the tips), and it's the 4th hole, yet that can at times still back up a group of two because there is the potential for lost balls and some guys just take too long searching.  I have seen as many as 3 groups backed up there, but that's an unusual case.

I think my course has found a decent middle point between maximizing revenue while still giving the player the chance to play golf without ridiculous delays.  Typical round is 4 to 4:20 for a 6700 yard course.

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Most of the time, the courses in the OPs area are about 500 yards short on their tees, it will speed things up to move them up 1500 yards so the typical "6000" yard tees plays at only 4500 yards. That's probably about right for the average golfer.

I firmly believe that will speed up play so 8 minute start times are more reasonable.

Those who want to play to a handicap at the proper tee marker locations can do so, and likely won't slow things down at least from the tee to the green.

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As David has said, the answer is probably to get out of LA. There will always be an issue in densely populated areas , where land is at a premium meaning the golf courses need to squeeze out more profit, and there are more customers. In theory , the courses would just charge more, but given many (especially the casual golfers) will compare prices but not tee schedules, the temptation to cram in more players will probably win. 

Living an area where golf is cheap and long waits the exception, I really do feel for folk like yourself. Maybe try golf vacations? 

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11 hours ago, Lihu said:

With ready golf and playing tees that are appropriate 8 minutes sounds reasonable.

I don't think eight minutes sounds reasonable very often.

Let's say golfers tee off exactly when they are supposed to. Each player takes 45 seconds to tee off from the instant the ball is hit (or their tee time starts). That's 3 minutes right there. Three minutes again to play their second shots. That leaves two minutes TOTAL to get into the cart, drive ahead to four tee shots, get yardages, choose the club, hit the shots, clean the clubs, put them back in, and get out of range of the tee shots of the following group.

If everything goes perfectly it's possible. But rarely does everything go perfectly.

Ten minutes is doable.

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My home course allows 10 minutes between tee times which is adequate for most golfers.  However, on weekends and holidays it can still get jammed up resulting in 4.5 hour rounds.  

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18 minutes ago, iacas said:

Ten minutes is doable

I agree with this. Here in densely populated north NJ on a heavily trafficed county course we're at 10 mins between T-times and that's with a fairly equal mix of riders and walkers. As I said above, proper management & pace of play monitoring is key to keeping rounds at <4.5 hrs.

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

I don't think eight minutes sounds reasonable very often.

Let's say golfers tee off exactly when they are supposed to. Each player takes 45 seconds to tee off from the instant the ball is hit (or their tee time starts). That's 3 minutes right there. Three minutes again to play their second shots. That leaves two minutes TOTAL to get into the cart, drive ahead to four tee shots, get yardages, choose the club, hit the shots, clean the clubs, put them back in, and get out of range of the tee shots of the following group.

If everything goes perfectly it's possible. But rarely does everything go perfectly.

Ten minutes is doable.

The problem is why should it take 45s per player? I think 30s is more than enough. In fact the proposed rules for 2019 mention 40s maximum, right (and that is more in line with Tour players).

I saw a terrible amateur take 40 to 50s every time the other day, and it was literally torture to watch him.

With 30s per player, you'd save 2 minutes between the first and second shot, leaving 4 minutes to do all the other things besides driving ahead. Sure, it means stop telling your story on the tee when it's your turn to hit and have your club selected already when it's your turn... and who does that? Not the slow players, and there are tons of them!

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