Last May, The R&A published their Pace of Play manual – a 72-page document giving guidance to clubs and golfers on ways of speeding up the game. It was framed around three key areas – management, course set-up and player behaviour. Here are just 7 ways The R&A have set out in their manual to improve the speed of the game.
1) Alter Starting Intervals
If tee times are too close together overcrowding can result. Widen intervals – sending two-balls out in at least eight-minute gaps, three-balls in 10 minute and four- balls in 11 or 12.
2) Introduce Ready Golf
Ask players to take their shot when they are ready to do so, rather than sticking to“farthest from the hole plays first”as laid down in the Rules of Golf.
3) Talk to players
Communication can be a key part of ensuring good pace of play. Educating new members and juniors, along with making players aware of what is expected of them, can have great results.
4) Get golfers off the right tees
The tees that players pick can have a big impact on pace of play. Those who take on a course too difficult can not only affect their enjoyment but also affect the time they take. Offer a reasonable variety of tees for members and guests.
5) Consider height of rough
A lot of time can be spent looking for balls in rough. Increasing fairway widths, or generally reducing the severity of the rough so it is less likely to conceal a ball can help. Extending the width of the first cut can be more cost efficient than widening fairways.
6) Factor in green speeds
The faster the greens are, the harder it is for less-skilled players to putt. It is more important that greens are smooth and true than fast. For context, at The Open, The R&A sets a maximum green speed target of 10.5 feet on the stimpmeter. This is reduced to well below the maximum when strong winds are forecast.
7) Look at hole positions
The positions in which holes are cut has an impact on pace of play. If holes are cut too close to slopes, this makes it more challenging to stop the ball close to the hole. Positions can also have a significant impact on approach shots.
The full Pace of Play manual is available to download from The R&A website.
This article was first published in The Golf Club Manager – the official journal of the GCMA. If you would like to receive the journal, either join the GCMA today, or subscribe to the magazine.
Image source: Golfible