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fburns

Faster Play - Is It Hurting the Game?

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I agree with you about rounds being shorter "back in the day". The overall length was shorter, most people walked directly to their ball, greens were not nearly as fast or undulated, sand traps were at least half as many and half as deep, and it seemed that the course was more reward than risk. I see both sides of this issue. I understand that there are more important things to do in life than play golf. I am just concerned that in our effort to speed up the game we may be taking something wonderful out of it. To me the issue of slow play can be found partially in  course design (all the things mentioned), people playing the wrong tees, the speed of the greens. modeling the slow play of professionals, and beginners playing stroke play to get a final score.

I wonder if paying by the hour, like some people do for a bowling lane for instance, would make a difference? Probably would just cause more tension out on the course. Thanks for responding. I don't want to beat this issue to death. I am sure it has been talked about many times. I just hope we can balance speed of play and still keep the "wonder" in this wonderful game.

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People hold up airport security lines, checkout lines, we get off planes in one of the least efficient methods. Little league games start late, millions have no idea how to merge onto interstates nor how a four way stop works.

There will always be slow play. Some people will just never learn and/or care.

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What about "you get what you pay for." I just thought of something. I hope people aren't complaining about slow play at a course the costs $35 w/cart. I would never show up to a public course and expect to get the same service and play with the same people I do at a private club.

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Any speed other than slow is too fast for a beginner. The best thing for beginners is a Par 3 Course mid-afternoon on a weekday. Once they can get off the tee reliably, then try a Par 72 Course. If I was taking a beginner to my home course today, we would play a 2-man scramble. I wouldn't dare go out on a weekend or during league days either.

There is a healthy number of a**holes on the golf course, no question. IME golf courses are where middle aged athletes go to retire. Anyone who remembers PE class in school also remembers that jocks are not known for having patience with people. The hairlines are receding and the bellies have expanded but the same hyper-competitive tribal behavior is there. 

The flip side is, a lot of guys have no business being on a Par 72 Course, and especially not going from the 6200 or even 5800 tees. A few really bad foursomes in the procession can really foul up your rhythm. Golf is a rhythm game. Standing around letting your muscles get cold is not fun. I don't even bother playing on weekends anymore for this reason.

My controversial inexpert opinion on golf and beginners is that instructors should teach people how to hit the driver first. You cannot fake the driver like you can the short irons, you have to lag it to hit it right. The sooner you can learn to hit the driver the sooner you can play decent golf. That's where I see the most time being wasted, is on bad tee shots, lost balls and mulligans.

 

 

 

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38 minutes ago, TRUCKER said:

Most of the rounds I play are 3/12 hrs. I don't get the "4 hour round to some people is a snails pace." Really 1/2 hr. is the difference between a steady pace and snails pace?

I said a 4 hour round to some people is a snail's pace. You are the one who interjected the 3:30 part. I am talking about people who can quite easily play 18 in under 3 hours if given the opportunity. I can walk 18 in about 2:30 by myself if I have nobody to wait on or play through. And there's no rushing there... I pull pins, play provisionals, look for lost balls, maybe even hit a few extra practice shots. I've been able to do that once in the last, I don't know, decade?

And your average round of 3:30 is about an hour less than the average weekend round, which according to the USGA in 2013 was 4:30. That's an average of public and private courses. Public courses are slower, so you're talking about an even higher number. Some public courses averaged almost 5 hours. And about 10% of rounds were over 5 hours.

So yeah, the difference between 2:30 or even 3:00 and 4:00 hours is the difference between a steady pace and a snails pace. One involves minimal waiting, the other involves waiting on every single full length shot.

50 minutes ago, fburns said:

I agree with you about rounds being shorter "back in the day". The overall length was shorter, most people walked directly to their ball, greens were not nearly as fast or undulated, sand traps were at least half as many and half as deep, and it seemed that the course was more reward than risk.

I don't think most courses have really changed that much in the last 20-30 years. If a course is longer, play shorter tees.

53 minutes ago, fburns said:

I am just concerned that in our effort to speed up the game we may be taking something wonderful out of it.

The effort to speed up the game is in response to the game slowing down too much. I politely disagree and think you've got this all backwards. Slow play is a major concern for most golfers, and something like 50% of golfers have walked off a course in response to slow play. One of the problems is that most slow golfers don't think they are slow golfers. Very, very few golfers will admit to being slow golfers.

55 minutes ago, fburns said:

I wonder if paying by the hour, like some people do for a bowling lane for instance, would make a difference?

I think it would make things worse. People would feel even more justified by their 5 hour rounds, since they're paying for it.

Slow play isn't going anywhere, because most courses refuse to acknowledge that it's a problem. But fast play simply isn't a problem to begin with. The numbers are what they are... more people would play more golf if pace of play was sped up.

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I big factor is that people just need to have self awareness as well as situational awareness. I watched a lot of golf on TV before I started playing, so I thought thats how slow everything went on every course. I always felt rushed, and would let everyone pass just because I wanted to take my time. After a while I just started to pick up the pace when people were nearby. If they are right on my group for a hole or 2 then I will let them pass, but most of the time I can just speed up if I think I am holding another group up. 

Also it really matters on my group because if I am with certain people we can finish a round in 3.5 hours, but with others it will easily be close to 4.5. I think it goes along with the ego thing to not want to put away driver and make the better play just in case you kill one. I have friends who will go through a whole box of balls just on tee shots, and that just kills the pace.

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1 hour ago, TRUCKER said:

What about "you get what you pay for." I just thought of something. I hope people aren't complaining about slow play at a course the costs $35 w/cart. I would never show up to a public course and expect to get the same service and play with the same people I do at a private club.

I totally disagree that price has anything to do with pace of play, nor should it.  I'm a member at a Country Club and we have slow play issues frequently, especially on the weekends.  You should be able to play any hole in under an average of 15 minutes (which is a 4.5 hour round and I'm sorry if it offends anyone but that is a snails pace).  Our pace of play is supposed to be 4:15, but that is a struggle on the weekends in the morning.  

Unfortunately most people are just not ready to play when it's their turn.  Just think of it this way: a brisk walk is about 3 mph, so lets say on the course, you're carrying clubs and you walk 2 mph.  At Springfield G&CC, the back tees are almost 6,800 yds, which is about 3.8 miles of golf holes and then we tack on another half a mile for walking between tees, etc.  So that's about about 4.3 miles.  At a slow walk, this should take you a little more than 2 hours, which then gives 4 people two hours (or about 18 seconds each to hit 400 shots (100/person).  And if you are in a cart, the time should drop dramatically.  And if you don't think 18 seconds is a long time to pick a club and hit it, have someone time you, its a long damn time.  And just think, it you're the closest to the green, you have the other players 18 seconds to figure it out.  And if you have to wait for them to hit before you even start you're routine, I'm sorry, you're slow.

1 hour ago, BaconNEggs said:

Slow play isn't going anywhere, because most courses refuse to acknowledge that it's a problem. But fast play simply isn't a problem to begin with. The numbers are what they are... more people would play more golf if pace of play was sped up.

i don't think most courses refuse to acknowledge there is a problem, they just don't know how to handle it in most instances.  It's hard to make paying customers want to come back if they are telling them they are too slow and they have to move a hole.   We have this problem with our marshall's and we are a private course.

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5 hours ago, fburns said:

It is clear that some believe that beginners should not be on a golf course but should be at driving ranges or par 3 courses. I can see how that would help slow play perhaps. But I don't think I would have fallen in love with this game if my introduction to it was just hitting balls at a range. It was the challenge of finally hitting it over the water or getting it out of a bunker. We all know that it only takes one moment where we hit "that shot" to bring us back. We have a par 3 course here in Sarasota and that may have been a better choice for beginners.

I don't think most people said that. I think most people said that if you're gonna play on a golf course when you're just learning, choose the right course and choose the right time.

5 hours ago, fburns said:

I personally believe that we have brought our fast paced world into a game that was originally an escape into nature and an opportunity to get some exercise, hang with friends and get some time to relax.

A four hour round is not "fast paced."

Taking 4 hours to play 18 holes is plenty relaxing.

5 hours ago, fburns said:

But it seems that along the way, we have focused on speed rather than the experience.

4 hours is not "speed." 4 hours is slow, IMO, but I know not to try to push for three hour rounds, because it's just unrealistic for too many people.

Hell, I played from 6900 yards once last year in a walking twosome with another guy. I shot 70, he shot 73. We waited on the last four holes on a single. It took us 2:45. We weren't rushing. We were walking at a normal pace. Using our range finders. The works.

Walking 7500 yards should take about 1:20. So we spent 1:25 doing "golf things." We were just efficient, and not slow players.

5 hours ago, fburns said:

I know why golf courses want us to play faster ($ for them) but I don't understand why we are in such a hurry to get off the golf course. We don't pay by the hour.

Time is still money. Do you have a honey-do list? Even if you're single, you've got other things to do… even if those other things are "Hey, awesome, now I have time to play another nine or eighteen holes!"

5 hours ago, fburns said:

Honestly, I don't see a lot of people who are experiencing nature, exercise or relaxation. It seems golf for many is not an escape from a fast paced world but rather it is becoming much like rush hour traffic with everyone in golf carts rather than cars. It doesn't look to me like people come off of the course having enjoyed the experience. They look miserable.

:sigh:

5 hours ago, fburns said:

Is fast play really the goal or is it our impatience that we are wrestling with?

Again, four hours - all anyone really asks for, generally speaking, on a standard par-72 type course - is not fast at all.

5 hours ago, fburns said:

I long to return to the game I knew as a child. But I am not sure it really exists anymore, except in my mind.

The game was likely faster when you were a child.

I played 54 holes - all walking - sometimes as a kid 20-25 years ago. With lunch and hanging out in between.

You're seemingly defining anything faster than "glacial" as "racing around the course."

4 hours ago, BaconNEggs said:

You can still do all of that without it being a 5 hour round. And as has been mentioned multiple times, when the rounds start getting that long, it removes the ability for some people to play at all. A lot of people don't have the time to play 5 hour rounds-- that can easily be a 6 or 7 hour day when you factor in commuting, warm up time, etc.

 Which would you rather, a 3:30 round, or no golf at all? Because that's the option for a lot of golfers.

Bingo.

4 hours ago, BaconNEggs said:

To be honest, I think you and others are being a bit... selfish, or lacking empathy for other perspectives here. It's clear that you don't mind slow rounds, or that perhaps that your definition of a slow round is different from my definition of a slow round. That's fine. What's not fine is your inability to understand that a 4 hour round to some people is a snail's pace.

Right.

4 hours ago, BaconNEggs said:

Again, as to the question of whether faster play is hurting the game? The answer is an unequivocal no. The percentage of golfers who are driven away by the game because it's too fast is probably just north of 0%, while according to the USGA, slow play is one of the reasons some golfers are golfing less.

YES!

SLOW PLAY is hurting the game. I've known exactly ZERO people who have given up the game because it's "too fast."

4 hours ago, BaconNEggs said:

I've been playing for 20 years. Sure, not nearly as long as some of you, but I think your recollection is ass backwards. I remember the game being faster, not slower. I don't remember any 5 hour rounds from my youth. Now, I play more 5 hour rounds than 4 hour rounds... and yes, they are quite prohibitive and cause me to play less golf than I would like to.

Yes, the game has continually gotten slower. I have no idea how people think the game used to be slower than it is now. No way. Maybe at the peak of the golf boom, 15 years ago or whatever, when courses were just packed and a bunch more newer players were out there, but generally speaking, no… golf has always been faster in the past: it was faster in 1890 than in 1940, and faster in 1940 than in 1990, and faster in 1990 than in 2018.

3 hours ago, fburns said:

I agree with you about rounds being shorter "back in the day". The overall length was shorter, most people walked directly to their ball, greens were not nearly as fast or undulated, sand traps were at least half as many and half as deep, and it seemed that the course was more reward than risk.

@fburns, you're just making stuff up at this point.

3 hours ago, fburns said:

I am just concerned that in our effort to speed up the game we may be taking something wonderful out of it.

I'd be happy if we could just get BACK to what the game was in the 1990s. Old timers would be thrilled if we could play as quickly as they did in the 60s.

The game is slower now than it has ever been. Our efforts are not being made to "speed up the game" - the efforts are being made to get the game back to where it was before. (Which, yes, is faster than it is now, but it's not "faster" overall, if you take a longer view than the past year.)

3 hours ago, fburns said:

To me the issue of slow play can be found partially in  course design (all the things mentioned), people playing the wrong tees, the speed of the greens. modeling the slow play of professionals, and beginners playing stroke play to get a final score.

I think that the bold is vastly over-stated. Most people play the tees that are pretty well suited for their game.

And I disagree with your entire list, really: the single biggest cause of slow play? Slow players. Players who don't do almost anything to play efficiently. They park their carts in the wrong places. They watch their cart buddy hit their shot before even going to look for or prepare to play their ball. They mark two-footers. They leave their clubs on the wrong side of the green. They don't hit provisionals. They don't get yardages or read their putts while others are playing. They don't know when to just get in the cart with their clubs instead of going back to the back, cleaning them, putting them in the bag, and so on.

The leading cause of slow play is slow players.

3 hours ago, fburns said:

I wonder if paying by the hour, like some people do for a bowling lane for instance, would make a difference?

Not gonna work. People will be even angrier at the slow people holding them up in front of them.

3 hours ago, fburns said:

I wonder if paying by the hour, like some people do for a bowling lane for instance, would make a difference? Probably would just cause more tension out on the course. Thanks for responding. I don't want to beat this issue to death. I am sure it has been talked about many times. I just hope we can balance speed of play and still keep the "wonder" in this wonderful game.

https://www.google.com/search?q=slow+play+site:thesandtrap.com

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4 hours ago, TRUCKER said:

Most of the rounds I play are 3/12 hrs. I don't get the "4 hour round to some people is a snails pace." Really 1/2 hr. is the difference between a steady pace and snails pace?

It's not exact, but if you had to sit on every tee box for two minutes waiting for people to get out of your way, that's largely what it amounts to.  I barely watch golf except for the majors and the 3 minute highlights posted on YouTube, and they're pros doing things I can only dream of doing.  I don't want to spend half an hour watching amateurs that I don't know playing golf from a distance of 150-250 yards.

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33 minutes ago, jsgolfer said:

i don't think most courses refuse to acknowledge there is a problem, they just don't know how to handle it in most instances.  It's hard to make paying customers want to come back if they are telling them they are too slow and they have to move a hole.   We have this problem with our marshall's and we are a private course.

I don't want to discount your experience, but according to the USGA (https://www.usga.org/content/dam/usga/images/pace of play/trackingresearch.pdf), based on a study from 2013-2014, only 7% of course operators believe slow play is a problem at their course.

However, one interesting tidbit is that both golfers and operators agree that the majority of the responsibility for speeding up play is on the players. To me, that's just... unrealistic, pie-in-the-sky thinking. Slow golfers don't think they're slow. There's nothing that is going to make slow players speed up, short of course operators forcing them to.

As for paying customers being told to speed up, and leaving... good! I'd wager that it would end up being a net positive or revenue neutral at worst. Faster players who are currently choosing to not play will return, and shorter rounds should theoretically allow for courses to actually fit in more players, thus generating more revenue. And apart from a few crybabies, I don't think many people would quit over being told to speed up. I've been told to speed up when playing with a slow group, and as long as it's done in a courteous manner, I've got no problem with it.

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To OP:

Sorry for your poor interaction with some jerks. A part of the population is just unlivable with and not just on a golf course. Hope your friends shrug it off and come back.  

4:15 at most busy courses and you are letting people through not terrible but I for one, try to avoid busy times when I am out with the wife/kids or other beginners who are relatively impressionable. Of course, for the sake of my own sanity, it's automatic best ball for them.. 😊  

  

Edited by GolfLug

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Faster play, as in ready golf, is hurting slow players. If you suggest they pickup up the pace, they tell you to stop rushing them.

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Short of the course manager telling 4-5+ hour golfers they are not wanted, the only way slow play is going get controlled is for slower golfers to play faster, and faster golfers to play slower. Both groups meeting in the middle so to speak. 

Obviously that is not going to happen because both groups are being taken out of their comfortable pace of play. You take a golfer out of their normal pace of play, and their game goes south.

No, there are just too many golfers who play at different speeds, and who, after paying their fees are entitled to play at their own pace of play. 

I too prefer less than 4 hour rounds, but I also know that I need adapt to what ever the pace is, that day, on that course, at that time. I have found that adapting to a situation is much better than allowing that situation to manipulate me, and what I am trying to accomplish.  

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54 minutes ago, Patch said:

 

No, there are just too many golfers who play at different speeds, and who, after paying their fees are entitled to play at their own pace of play. 

 

That is not true. Totally wrong. Sorry. They might THINK they are, but they aren't. In every other way I agree with you.

You pay your green fees and adapt to the mores and norms of the game. That means anything but playing at your own pace of play. Paying green fees does not give you the right to be selfish.

Imagine being behind a group on 6 hour pace, commenting on it and them saying "we are entitled to play at this pace because, like you, we have paid our green fees."

By the same token, a pair on their own on a 3 hour pace is not entitled to hustle their way through the whole field.

Also, no-one has to "play faster". They have to start being aware of their surroundings. Go straight to the next tee and stop doing the ridiculous pre shot routine and standing around without MOVING. One thing I have noticed is that the slow groups NEVER EVER look behind them. They don't have to speed up their play. They have to be moving when they aren't playing. Be ready to put. Have a chat WHILE you're walking, not digging around in your bag after you've putted with your cart in front of the green.

Edited by Shorty

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Compulsory education (with suspension/revolution of play privileges possible for non compliance) on the specifics of proper pace of play (ready golf, taking clubs, moving to ball immediately when safe, not waiting excessively for others to play, proper use and parking of carts, etc.. and etiquette would go far, but of course would be nearly or completely impossible to institute, require and enforce. 

I guess the best we can do is teach everyone we can the right way to play as we meet and play with them. 

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6 hours ago, sofingaw said:

but of course would be nearly or completely impossible to institute, require and enforce. 

I guess the best we can do is teach everyone we can the right way to play as we meet and play with them. 

Agree...We want new golfers and we don't need a Czar of the Pace of Play. It's just education in courtesy and etiquette on the course, for ALL types and ages of golfers, the slow and the speedy. The USGA and PGA do reminders from time to time but could make it a focus. So could individual courses and instructors and mentors. An example is educating folks about using their correct tees. I gave up caring about which tees anyone else uses. Also, a round of golf consists of only a few minutes actually playing golf. What are we doing the rest of the time? I love the visits and jokes, but I'm ready to hit when it's open. This is really a good topic. Best, -Marv

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On ‎5‎/‎31‎/‎2018 at 12:40 PM, fburns said:

We played 18 holes in 4 hours and 14 minutes not exactly a snails pace. So here is my question...

That's 9 holes around Yuma in the winter. :-D  Seriously, you bring up a good question about speed of play and impact on those new to golf or higher handicap players.  I too like to play fast but really don't mind a 5 hour round so long as folks aren't being exceptionally inconsiderate; like standing around shooting the shit when they should be playing or taking excessive time on lost balls, etc.  As mentioned, really high handicap players should simply limit their strokes per hole - the 2x par rule seems to work.  Short of those glaring taboo's I just remind myself that we all went through that period of the game and if we had been scorned excessively by those playing behind us at that time it may have moved us away from the game.

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