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Thread: Slow Play Ranting: Golf Unfiltered

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    Slow Play Ranting: Golf Unfiltered

    In this episode Adam gets a few things off his chest after playing one of the longest rounds of golf in his career. What are the symptoms of slow play at public courses? What are the contributing factors, and are there solutions?

    Later, Adam also discusses the rising costs of practicing at driving ranges, including input from listeners on the topic.

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    Slow play pretty much ruined my round yesterday. I was on my way to a really good round and we were on pace for a sub 3 hour round. Ran into the back end of a scramble and what went from being a really quick round ended up being an almost 5 hour round

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    "Just playin golf pally" rollin's Avatar
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    There are a few things in what I heard there. Firstly, was the course ahead of the two or 3 groups ahead of Adam also waiting or was that lead group the sole issue? What were the tee time intervals? That's a big factor too. See....we just look at the group/s directly in front of us as a problem without taking in the entire course picture.
    You can only do that when you know for certain the course was playing in 4 or and a half hrs until some group ahead fell 3 or 4 holes behind and is now then cause of the 5 to 6 hr round.

    There is no doubt beginners or outright bad players who have no clue about pace etiquette can be a big problem. But then at times and places there are also a whole world of better players who can turn a would be 4 hr round into one that takes 5 via their slowness at everything and certainly around and on the greens. That happens too.

    Imo you cant use handicap to dictate tee times. Those people may only have given time slots (of free time) within their lives that they can play. If indeed the very poor play is the issue for certain (and it sometimes could be) then it comes down to those having to know about etiquette of pace. many beginners don't have it or even understand or know about it. This is one area where a place like Topgolf is a negative. Many beginners (from TG) who had a few drinks and hit some balls and had a blast at TG then think "hey. lets go play a round" But they havnt the slightest idea what its like nor how to go about it all. But hey, this has gone on long before TG existed so while TG may add to the problem its not like it wasn't always a problem anyway.

    I seen plenty beginners or those playing that badly keep a good pace. Move with sense of purpose, be ready, search little, even pick up when need be. Heck decades of playing and when I play really bad I still do these things too. I still pick up too.

    There is an education that is missing here for sure. But whats more disturbing than the lack of pace etiquette education of the beginners is when the avid better players who are suppose to have the pace etiquette knowledge then cause the slow play anyway. That imo is even more inexcusable.

    In the end huge contributing factors are any or any combo of…...tee time intervals, poorest play of those also not educated on pace, ball searching, selfish slow play by more experienced players who should know better especially around and on greens. They all work to be huge detriments towards pace. Sometimes that is an extra half hr and sometimes and places unfortunately its an extra 2 hrs.
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    Another point I wanted to make. I often mention my old residence area where 5 and a half was almost normal. The biggest reason was 7 min tee intervals. But what I wanted to bring up was that people living (like I did) in that environment begin to grow accustomed to it. Im not at al saying it didn't matter nor that it makes it ok. But only that when something becomes a norm you tend to expect it (by default) and so what happens is you really don't know any other way because you don't get to experience it any other way. And so many the people don't even realize that its an issue with how long its taking them to play. They by default don't develop any need to have much pace etiquette because well,....they are most always waiting anyway and there is nothing you can do with the etiquette. There is imo actually a good percentage of the folks playing all their golf in such an environment who never really learn a pace etiquette. They began and live all their golf in this very poor paced environment and is all they know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rollin View Post
    There are a few things in what I heard there. Firstly, was the course ahead of the two or 3 groups ahead of Adam also waiting or was that lead group the sole issue? What were the tee time intervals? That's a big factor too. See....we just look at the group/s directly in front of us as a problem without taking in the entire course picture.
    You can only do that when you know for certain the course was playing in 4 or and a half hrs until some group ahead fell 3 or 4 holes behind and is now then cause of the 5 to 6 hr round.

    There is no doubt beginners or outright bad players who have no clue about pace etiquette can be a big problem. But then at times and places there are also a whole world of better players who can turn a would be 4 hr round into one that takes 5 via their slowness at everything and certainly around and on the greens. That happens too.

    Imo you cant use handicap to dictate tee times. Those people may only have given time slots (of free time) within their lives that they can play. If indeed the very poor play is the issue for certain (and it sometimes could be) then it comes down to those having to know about etiquette of pace. many beginners don't have it or even understand or know about it. This is one area where a place like Topgolf is a negative. Many beginners (from TG) who had a few drinks and hit some balls and had a blast at TG then think "hey. lets go play a round" But they havnt the slightest idea what its like nor how to go about it all. But hey, this has gone on long before TG existed so while TG may add to the problem its not like it wasn't always a problem anyway.

    I seen plenty beginners or those playing that badly keep a good pace. Move with sense of purpose, be ready, search little, even pick up when need be. Heck decades of playing and when I play really bad I still do these things too. I still pick up too.

    There is an education that is missing here for sure. But whats more disturbing than the lack of pace etiquette education of the beginners is when the avid better players who are suppose to have the pace etiquette knowledge then cause the slow play anyway. That imo is even more inexcusable.

    In the end huge contributing factors are any or any combo of…...tee time intervals, poorest play of those also not educated on pace, ball searching, selfish slow play by more experienced players who should know better especially around and on greens. They all work to be huge detriments towards pace. Sometimes that is an extra half hr and sometimes and places unfortunately its an extra 2 hrs.
    All very good points. I played yesterday as well, and while I played the worst round of golf I've played in years (had the Sh*nks), things still moved at a quick pace UNTIL the 13th hole, when poor etiquette combined with two twosomes back-to-back contributed to a bottleneck.

    If I had to record that episode again, I'd focus more on etiquette and poor tee time management.
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    For amateur golf, slow play is mostly due to players standing (or sitting) around instead of going directly to their ball.
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    The public courses I play, the rangers (if there is even one on duty) do not instruct slower groups to increase their pace of play like they used way back in the day. I assume thats because they want any player, regardless of etiquette, to come back again and spend some money.

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    I try to take as many variables out of the pace of play when I'm going out for a round. This is why I try to book the earliest tee time they have available. I will wait for the grounds crew on a few holes, rather than someone on every hole. I like getting out early, getting done early, but then again I have 3 kids at home, so it works the best for me and my family. When I get out that early I also feel like I own the course, because I usually don't see a whole lot of other golfers besides those in my group. It's peaceful, relaxing, and fun, all things I look for in golf. This is why I just avoid the times when I know it will be busy, and I know it will make me angry. Of course I know sometimes schedules dictate that we play at other times, but I don't have the same expectation of a 3 hour round. I think too many people emulate the pros reading putts, getting yardages, etc, that really slows the game. People being preoccupied with their mobile devices also doesn't help, IMO.

    As for growing the game, it causes me concern about how I will get my boys out to begin their golf journey, once they are old enough. A small little course by us, that's now being turned into a sub-division, used to have family only tee times on Sunday's. Meaning parents taking out their junior golfers. They had Peanut tee box markers in the fairway of every hole for young kids. This, in my opinion, would be a fantastic option at more courses. Everyone there is trying to accomplish the same thing, getting their kids some work on the golf course. No rushing, no pressure, just helping kids learn the game. You still practice and teach proper etiquette to the youth, but the environment is different. I'd like to see courses, especially ones with 27 holes, try this out. Have 9 holes on Sunday evening dedicated to junior golfers, or even younger kids. Let them come out and enjoy a round with their family. Maybe we only play a few holes, maybe we play 15. Either way, we play.

    I want so badly to enjoy golf with my kids. How often do you get to do something you enjoy with them for 3-4 hours at a time. With the hustle of work, activities, etc, I see this as a chance to have fun with my kids, and share true quality time. My boys are only 3, haha, so I have a little while, and I'm not trying to rush to get there. But, give some clear time for families to get out and enjoy golf together. This would make me more apt to bring my kids out to a course.
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    It is a tough subject to tackle directly as there tends to be so many contributing factors as already mentioned here. Tee time intervals seem to be the start of it here. Then, mismanaging groups (allowing singles and twosomes out during a packed tee sheet). Then, the individual etiquette of the players on the course. The more traffic a course sees, the more prevalent these individual issues will be. It seems, in some rare cases, a public course will proactively address the pace of play with marshalls and starters. I have yet to see that locally here.

    I don't know what the perfect answer would be. A course could start by spreading out their tee times. But, that would directly impact their bottom line. There needs to be a bit of a culture shift I think. Since it can be very situational, there is no perfect answer.
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    The guy speaking on the podcast suggested "15 or higher handicap players should not be permitted to play during busy times, such as weekend mornings".
    He also proposed that high scoring players spend their money and time on practice ranges.
    The two above ideas are not new.
    For decades I believe European states have required a "playing ability certification" to play a course.
    And in the 70's Lee Trevino proclaimed that slow play could be avoided if beginners were required to spend their first year in golf at driving ranges and par 3 courses.
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    Slow Play Ranting: Golf Unfiltered

    Quote Originally Posted by DG_1234 View Post
    The guy speaking on the podcast suggested "15 or higher handicap players should not be permitted to play during busy times, such as weekend mornings".
    He also proposed that high scoring players spend their money and time on practice ranges.
    The two above ideas are not new.
    For decades I believe European states have required a "playing ability certification" to play a course.
    And in the 70's Lee Trevino proclaimed that slow play could be avoided if beginners were required to spend their first year in golf at driving ranges and par 3 courses.
    Handicap has nothing to do with slow play. I’m a 24, played yesterday with a 36 and we were on pace for a 3hr round. Got behind a scramble of “better players” and ended with a 5+hour round

    When I played in the Hogan Event with THPer’s much better than myself no one said anything to me about playing too slow and I didn’t feel like I was holding anyone up. Using handicap as a reason people play slow usually comes from better players that are slow but can’t fathom that it’s them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DG_1234 View Post
    The guy speaking on the podcast suggested "15 or higher handicap players should not be permitted to play during busy times, such as weekend mornings".
    He also proposed that high scoring players spend their money and time on practice ranges.
    The two above ideas are not new.
    For decades I believe European states have required a "playing ability certification" to play a course.
    And in the 70's Lee Trevino proclaimed that slow play could be avoided if beginners were required to spend their first year in golf at driving ranges and par 3 courses.
    In Germany you need a licence to play on a golf course. Over here at really posh places they can ask for your handicap certificate or number and they can turn you around.

    Most places don't ask for a handicap certificate, but you don't see beginners, or people with really high handicaps trying the more prestigious/more difficult courses.

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    Sometimes course layout can contribute to slow play. One local course I play at has a very short 280 yards par 4 and a long 190ish par 3 back-to-back coming in on 8 and 9... there is usually a bottleneck there as some people wait til players vacate the green on the SP4 (even if they can't drive it that far) and struggle on the next hole... i wondered if they backed up the par 4 30 yds and brought the par 3 up 30 on busy days if it would make any difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LLIB View Post
    Handicap has nothing to do with slow play. .
    Nonsense.
    Sure there is some slow play on Tour. Yes, some scratch level players are slow, no doubt about it.
    But at the amateur level the numbers of players shooting par or near par, even just routinely breaking 80, is a very small percentage of the people on a golf course, maybe 5% at the most.
    Mostly courses are filled with high handicap players shooting 90 or worse. And with that high handicap usually comes a lack of knowledge about how to go directly to the ball (instead of standing or sitting around watching others), a lack of knowledge about club selection (choosing one that will reach the target instead of a club that falls 30 yards short of the target), lack of knowledge about how to let others play thru (when their are holes open ahead), lack of knowledge about where to leave bags, carts, or cars (so that one can move efficiently from shot to shot, green to tee box etc...).
    Contrary to popular opinion, it's not so much duffing shots that makes for slow play, among high handicap amateurs (90% of the people playing golf) it's the lack of golf knowledge and etiquette that makes for slow play.
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