You probably know the feeling of walking into a bar full of members who are grumbling because of a round of golf that went horribly over time. And there’s worse to come with the last two groups to finish in the dark. Some will blame management or match committee for the lack of ranger presence and many may identify one or two groups of their fellow golfers as the source of the problem, but it may well be a combination of tee and pin positions, the speed of greens, thick rough or the tee time intervals that are the root of the problem.
The R&A has just produced a pace of play manual following an international survey that found 60% of golfers would enjoy golf more if they played in less time.
The manual delves into the factors that impact pace of play within three sections; management practices, the golf course and player behaviour. The manual also includes some handy resources such as a course ranger sample guideline, guidance on call-up procedures and a time par guideline whereby the time it should take to play each hole is established.
The manual suggests that overcrowding the course with short starting intervals means that other efforts on improving pace of play become futile. The pressure on clubs to fit extra groups into the field often sets them up for a long day on the course. To have the best results, club administrators should consider implementing tactics from all three sections of the manual, but get the tee times right first. More and more clubs are realising their options as to providing multiple tee locations that separate the high markers from the low markers, ensuring more enjoyment for all.
A healthy pace of improves the enjoyment of golf and in an environment where consumers have more choice than ever for their recreational time, it’s something all clubs can take an active interest in. A read though the manual will allow clubs to consider whether their current practices can be improved.
The can be downloaded at http://www.randa.org/RulesEquipment/Pace-of-Play/Overview.