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Thread: Is pace of play *actually* hurting the game?

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    Sultan of Santa Monica

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    Is pace of play *actually* hurting the game?

    As we all hear, seemingly year after year, "How need to fix this problem?"

    Is it really a problem? I know a round of golf can take a long time, but it's golf! It wasn't exactly designed to be played quickly, or even in any set amount of time (I would think a play clock would have been included if it were intended.)

    I'm getting off track. Back to topic: Is it really a problem? Have you ever said "I don't want to play golf today because it might take 5 hours and 10 minutes instead of 4 hours and 25 minutes?"

    We're constantly being taught to take our time with our swing; to not rush things, in order to play our best game. Should we not? We invest a lot of time and money into this game.

    I feel like a lot of pace of play complaints come in the form about bitching about the group in front of you. Why does it bother you that the group in front you of you doesn't play as quickly as you do? Just play through. (full disclosure: it bothers me, too. I'm not being self-righteous here.) Pace of play isn't hurting anyone. Why is everyone complaining about it so frequently?

    I have never heard anyone new to the game say they didn't want to continue because it takes too long. I've never known anyone to quit the game because they don't want to give up an afternoon on a golf course. So how is this a problem that is hurting the game? I'm beginning to suspect this is a problem contrived by TV networks because advertisers don't want to pay as much for ad time in fear that people won't be glued to their screens for several hours in this age of extremely low attention spans.


    What do you think?





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    Major Champion NullNomad's Avatar
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    Slow play for me personally isn't a problem, as long as the pace is consistent. I really really dont like rubber banding.
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    Not an issue for me-- I'm aware of the time it takes to play, and yes it's frustrating having to wait on every shot. However I'm still a.) not at work b.) outside enjoying something that I love doing and c.) in my own world
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    Yes it is a problem. It’s less about the “I’m going to be gone for an extra 30 minutes” than it is the “I’m going to waste a day playing golf when half of the time is waiting for the group in front of me to speed up.

    People don’t like to sit and wait 5-10 between shots. If it took 5 hours but was steadily moving, the pace would not be an issue.
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    "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded"


    Yeah it's an issue, but not one that will stop people from playing, because there are ways to usually avoid slow play, like later tee times or quieter courses.

    I live 15 minutes from Bethpage and hardly ever play there anymore, 6 hour rounds are very common, it's a madhouse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    Yes it is a problem. It’s less about the “I’m going to be gone for an extra 30 minutes” than it is the “I’m going to waste a day playing golf when half of the time is waiting for the group in front of me to speed up.

    People don’t like to sit and wait 5-10 between shots. If it took 5 hours but was steadily moving, the pace would not be an issue.
    I have never heard of anyone not play because of this.

    Yes an annoyance, but a hindrance to the growth of the game? I don't see it.

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    Major Champion DataDude's Avatar
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    I just don't care. I think the people that do care fall into 3 buckets: The first is the fast golfer who just wants you out of the way. This is like the guy right on your butt when you're already going 75 or 80 in the fast lane. The second is the same as the person who gets overly angry when they hit a poor shot. This person just wants something to blame for their bad swing and a backup is good enough reason for them. The 3rd is the guy who ain't taking care of his business at home and has an unhappy wife. He probably told her an unrealistic time and now he is ticked because it is going to take longer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmm21 View Post
    I have never heard of anyone not play because of this.

    Yes an annoyance, but a hindrance to the growth of the game? I don't see it.

    Posted by my thumbs.
    You also live in a city that driving 6 miles on the highway takes 30 minutes haha.
    The time it takes to play the actual game is very much a hindrance to the growth. Every single survey done on golf over the last decade cites two main things. Cost and Pace.
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    Pace of play is a real problem. I have two close friends that pretty much gave up the game because of the time it takes to get around. There have definitely been times I've not played because of slow play awaiting me. I don't think it has to be a three hour round but play ready golf, respect others and hit the ball already.
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    I think 'problem' is likely in the eye of the beholder. In my experience things could be way faster if people understood proper cart etiquette at the courses around my area and didn't take 17 looks to line up a putt, but I'm sure when there's a backup the group behind me says the same thing about my group. Mind you most of these complaints arise when playing prime-time on the weekends. If you book sufficiently early on the weekends or have the ability to play during the week (I generally don't) pace of play is less of an issue. Any tee time after 9AM Sat/Sun around here in my experience is guaranteed a 4:15-4:30 round minimum. Do I think that's too long? At the rate courses try to pack tee times in, I think it's ok on a harder course, but anything over 4 hours encroaches on too long for the curmudgeon in my soul. Now, knowing that I can expect 4:30ish most weekends, I've learned to temper my expectations. Just means more time to chat it up with my buddies. Within reason of course.

    I have absolutely come across a couple courses that I won't play on weekends due to the round times. 5:30+ at one that's no longer open once, which is insane.
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    Sultan of Santa Monica

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    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    You also live in a city that driving 6 miles on the highway takes 30 minutes haha.
    The time it takes to play the actual game is very much a hindrance to the growth. Every single survey done on golf over the last decade cites two main things. Cost and Pace.
    Links to surveys? I'm really curious who is touting the information. I think if you use this thread as a "survey" you'd see different responses.

    And my house to rustic canyon (where I play often is 14 miles. It takes me 12 minutes.

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    I am used to slow rounds. I play a lot with my son, who is young, doesn't hit it too far, and makes mistakes. Plus he likes to talk a lot between shots. I also play a lot of rounds with buddies who are similar - mis-hits, drinkers, talkers. 5 hour rounds are not uncommon.

    However, yesterday I played in a twosome with a guy who is a good golfer, plays 3-4 times a week, has the first tee time in the morning every single Saturday and Sunday, and plays at a good pace. We finished in 3:21. IT WAS AWESOME. Never felt rushed, but also never like there was any wasted time.

    I love golf as much as the next guy, and I will never quit because rounds take too long. But if I can get 18 holes in in 3.5 hours instead of 5, I will take that every single time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmm21 View Post
    I have never heard of anyone not play because of this.

    Yes an annoyance, but a hindrance to the growth of the game? I don't see it.

    Posted by my thumbs.

    I've seen it be an issue. We would have groups walk off the course because of pace. It wasn't long after that we started to take initiatives to help pace.

    There's a difference between time of play and pace of play. I don't think people have an issue as long as they're moving, rather it be 3 hours or 5 hours. However, when it's time between shots and sitting and waiting, that's when it's an issue. It's going to vary what is ideal pace from course to course. Some tighter and short courses, anything over 4 hours will seem long if you're waiting. I've also played resort courses that have taken 5.5 hours, but was moving the entire time. We had two course and the pace of play time was an hour in the difference.
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    I can only speak for myself. If I had a good idea it would take even "4 hours 25 minutes" to play, I would not go there. That's just too slow.

    Now does that mean 4-1/2 to 5 hour rounds are going to be the death of the game? No idea. Some people seem to not mind being out there 5 hours just like some people seem to not mind sitting in a golf cart instead of walking between shots.

    I figure I'll play until there are no longer courses which will a) let me walk when I play and b) where I can expect to finish in under 4 hours. My over/under on that happening in my area is the year 2032.

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    The course we are playing Sunday says right on the card, 4hr, 20 minutes for 18 holes. Front 9 is all on one side of street and when you cross to back nine past the club house you swing thru neighborhood and cross multiple streets. It can be slow at times, but never snail like unless someone won't let you play thru. It makes for and 8 hour day though as it is 1 1/2 hour drive to get there.
    I have the hurry of to the ball and then wait 5 minutes to hit next shot though. If you can keep the same pace all the way thru I am fine with it.
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