Slow play - golf club options

dronfield

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Hi
Just wanted forum input re possible solutions for slow play issues now being experienced at our club.

We have several "fiddle" groups that play Sat mornings and these generally all play at the same times in club comps. Throughtout the year we have regularly experienced slow play from two of the early groups - when the issue has been raised, the club has acted by simply putting a comment in their next communication, that there have been complaints received regarding the pace of play.

On Saturday the issue came to a head - we had taken 2 hours 40 mins to play 12 holes, and one of my fellow competitors decided enough was enough (fear of being late for a post round commitment), and walked in to make a complaint in the pro shop. A 3 hole gap had developed between the 1st group out and the 2nd (the 3rd group play in the same fiddle as the 2nd group and so were not putting any pressure on them to speed up etc).
When we got to the clubhouse the asst pro advised that words had been had with the offending group, who had apologised and explained that they were slow due to one of them having just come out of hospital, and had struggled to walk (why the individual considered it acceptable to try and play in the 2nd group out on a Sat morning wasn't explained).
Ignoring the reasons given this week, these groups are slow every week and so i wondered what actions a club can take to address these regular offenders?

In discussions afterwards, it was suggested that every group sign in/out in pro shop re each comp, or someone from the club makes spot checks on the course to ensure everyone is up with pace of play.
Not really the pro job to police the course or challenge members, but what actual powers does the club committee have to act with - can specific members be banned from playing Sat morning etc?

Interested in what actions other clubs have taken - me and a colleague are going up to club tomorrow and seriously considering putting a comment in the suggestion book so that the committee is obliged to respond.

Rich
 
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Bunkermagnet

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Have a course Marshall who runs round and gees up slow groups, and controls the first tee. We have this from time to time and it seems to mainly work. I agree though that slow groups early in the day slows everyone up for the rest of the day.
 

IanM

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Between contracts in 2015, I spent the summer on the Golf Team at Celtic Manor. When doing Marshalling, I used to start with a polite "there's a wee gap appearing in front of you, please do you best to close it up." That escalated as necessary, rarely did it need any actual intervention when we made folk step asside....

and i learned what I already suspected...... it is always someone else who is slow! (and we had tracking sheets of tee off time and when a group got where! That's what the numbers on the buggies are used for!)

Driving round in a buggy, the gaps are obvious!
 

Lord Tyrion

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I know Bobmac has posted before from his time as a club pro, he may still be one, that he would put the slow groups out later on in the list so that they did not slow up the whole course. How you respond if those groups refuse later tee slots becomes trickier but that sounds like a good starting point. Hopefully he will pick up the thread and give you his experiences of how he managed it.

I like the idea that some of posted of putting on cards where you should be at hole 9, you could add more check times of course. That simple act can focus minds.

At some point the club may have to get severe, upset some people and accept they will leave. The alternative is that the silent ones get fed up of slow play and leave anyway. Either way people leave and personally I would rather lose the slow ones.
 

Backache

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A shotgun, first warning fired over the head, second bird shot in the bum, Third is the full Monty but rarely necessary.
 

GB72

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Sadly not a lot a club is willing to do. One of the main traits about slow golfers is the denial that it is ever them. There is always a reason or excuse or it was someone holding them up. By pressing the individuals, the club risks losing members and many will not risk that. The only ways I can think of dealing with it are by marshalling so as it can be addressed as it happens or by putting a member of the committee in the group or in the group behind. With both of those methods, the issue can be raised at the time with no excuses.
 

Capella

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Actually, 2 hrs 40 min for twleve holes does not sound that bad. If the holes are more or less evenly spaced that pace would lead to 4 hrs for 18 holes, which is an acceptable pace on most courses for a competition. The three hole gap is more of an issue, but it can also mean that the first group just happened to play very fast. Were they out as fourballs or threeballs?

One of the things the club could do is offer different time slots for people who want to play fast (and who from experience need a lot less than 4 hrs to complete 18 holes) and for people who do not want to rush things quite so much. That's no excuse for dawdling, but personal fitness varies greatly between golfers and as I said, normally 4 hrs for 18 holes is considered a good standard on most courses. (At my home course, everyone would be delighted with a 4 hr comp round, actually. Rounds between 4.30 and 5 hrs are more common when a comp is played in fourballs.)
 

SwingsitlikeHogan

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As @Capella - 2hr 40min for 12 is 4hr pace. That's not too bad to be fair. That they didn't let you through when there was a gap ahead is for me more of an issue than their pace of play - which was not particularly slow.

We have clocks after 6 and 12 hols set to reflect a 4 hr round - or we change them for any specific format where we might expect brisker (or indeed slower) pace of play. Every group from the word go can see how they are doing against the expected pace of play. So no group has any excuse for not knowing how well they are doing.

That said - being up with the expected pace of play does not relieve any group of their etiquette responsibility to let a faster group through.
 
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Hackers76

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We have a starters hut which also links to the 9th fairway to help gee up slow play but as it also sells refreshments they are not always on the ball and (as will be the case with most clubs) finances restrict having marshalls go round the course.

We also have a similar issue that the same slow fourballs are out early each monthly medal. What I would like as a first step is for them to be asked to tee off towards the back of the comp as they are regularly behind the course average. As a starting point could your club do the same?
 

Lord Tyrion

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As @Capella - 2hr 40min for 12 is 4hr pace. That's not too bad to be fair. That they didn't let you through when there was a gap ahead is for me more of an issue than their pace of play - which was not particularly slow.
That very much depends on the course though doesn't it? It would be great on many courses, slow on others. We have to assume on the OP's course that it is slow, certainly taking into account the 3 hole gap that had appeared.

I totally agree on your point about not letting through. Being slow can be partly excuse if players have the manners to let others through. If they don't do that either..............
 

dronfield

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Actually, 2 hrs 40 min for twleve holes does not sound that bad. If the holes are more or less evenly spaced that pace would lead to 4 hrs for 18 holes, which is an acceptable pace on most courses for a competition. The three hole gap is more of an issue, but it can also mean that the first group just happened to play very fast. Were they out as fourballs or threeballs?

One of the things the club could do is offer different time slots for people who want to play fast (and who from experience need a lot less than 4 hrs to complete 18 holes) and for people who do not want to rush things quite so much. That's no excuse for dawdling, but personal fitness varies greatly between golfers and as I said, normally 4 hrs for 18 holes is considered a good standard on most courses. (At my home course, everyone would be delighted with a 4 hr comp round, actually. Rounds between 4.30 and 5 hrs are more common when a comp is played in fourballs.)

Hi

We were out in 3 balls, waiting on every single shot - our 4th hole (par 5 ) had 3 groups playing it. The pace of play was completely unacceptable.

I can cut the 2nd group some slack falling a hole behind, because they are older golfers, and the first group might have been 3 x 20 year old single figure players hitting it miles etc. As stated, the group behind are from the same fiddle so not going to push or challenge them.

Again, if it was a one off, it would not have been an issue, but this year it was v slow all winter and the same 2-3 groups are holding people up every comp. A recent 4BBB round took 4 1/2 hours to play.

My 3 ball can get round the course in an evening in 3 hours (all mid to late teens h/c) - a medal should be 4 hours absolute max.

Rich
 
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I was 3hrs 30 minutes to play 14 holes in a singles matchplay on Sunday, I was playing away from home and the course we visited accepted a society of 4 balls on prior to our matchplay games.

I politely requested someone phone the clubhouse to ask get a marshall out them to hurry them up, or allow us through. We waited on every single shot, at one point 3 of our matchplay groups were all waiting on the tee on the same hole!

The members of this club said that if the club was willing to accept a society at that time, before a club match, then they want/need the cash and wouldn't have done anything anyway. The reality is, for a lot of clubs, they can't afford to say no or turn customers away. This is why they won't tackle slow play amongst members in comps, because it will cost them members.
 

Grant85

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As I've said before, a lot of people don't realise they are slow.

A little bit of chat, not having your glove on, taking 1 extra practice swing, taking a trolley right up to the next tee before going back to putt, spending an extra few seconds on yardage, club selection, marking a ball when not required, not looking at your line till it's your shot etc. Flag in / flag out is another one that should result in play speeding up a bit, but some people will create faff and slow it down.

You can easily take a lot more time (especially in a group of 4) than other groups without it really looking like you are playing that slowly.

Also, often the case that some people just aren't in a hurry. They are retired and / or don't have anything else to do, so spending 4.5 hours on the golf course, followed by some lunch and another hours worth of chatting is a day well spent. But for the guy with 2 kids, who has to get home for 1pm to let his wife go out for the afternoon, sees every minute as a prisoner.

I'm also amazed at the number of people who just refuse to play out of turn in a stroke play or bounce game, either on the tee or the fairway, even if you tell them to hit as you are delayed a few seconds for whatever reason.

I think the best thing that the powers that be can do is produce some kind of educational video. Show two groups, one taking 30 to 45 mins longer than the other. Show the differences between a group ready to play, who all get into position and without rushing or hitting every shot as soon as they get to their ball, can make great progress round the course, compared to other groups. Have a split screen, with a clock ticking and obviously speed up the videos at various points.

A group losing 6 or 7 minutes over 3 holes will likely lose well over 30 minutes on a 'normal' group.

Golf has definitely gotten slower - trolleys are a big factor in this (which will never be reversed) but the general bleeding of minor delays all adding up to an extra 30 or 40 minutes and the difference in perspective between different golfers is a big issue as well.
 

North Mimms

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Sadly not a lot a club is willing to do. One of the main traits about slow golfers is the denial that it is ever them. There is always a reason or excuse or it was someone holding them up. By pressing the individuals, the club risks losing members and many will not risk that. The only ways I can think of dealing with it are by marshalling so as it can be addressed as it happens or by putting a member of the committee in the group or in the group behind. With both of those methods, the issue can be raised at the time with no excuses.
Useful suggestion
 

SwingsitlikeHogan

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As I've said before, a lot of people don't realise they are slow.

A little bit of chat, not having your glove on, taking 1 extra practice swing, taking a trolley right up to the next tee before going back to putt, spending an extra few seconds on yardage, club selection, marking a ball when not required, not looking at your line till it's your shot etc. Flag in / flag out is another one that should result in play speeding up a bit, but some people will create faff and slow it down.

You can easily take a lot more time (especially in a group of 4) than other groups without it really looking like you are playing that slowly.

Also, often the case that some people just aren't in a hurry. They are retired and / or don't have anything else to do, so spending 4.5 hours on the golf course, followed by some lunch and another hours worth of chatting is a day well spent. But for the guy with 2 kids, who has to get home for 1pm to let his wife go out for the afternoon, sees every minute as a prisoner.

I'm also amazed at the number of people who just refuse to play out of turn in a stroke play or bounce game, either on the tee or the fairway, even if you tell them to hit as you are delayed a few seconds for whatever reason.

I think the best thing that the powers that be can do is produce some kind of educational video. Show two groups, one taking 30 to 45 mins longer than the other. Show the differences between a group ready to play, who all get into position and without rushing or hitting every shot as soon as they get to their ball, can make great progress round the course, compared to other groups. Have a split screen, with a clock ticking and obviously speed up the videos at various points.

A group losing 6 or 7 minutes over 3 holes will likely lose well over 30 minutes on a 'normal' group.

Golf has definitely gotten slower - trolleys are a big factor in this (which will never be reversed) but the general bleeding of minor delays all adding up to an extra 30 or 40 minutes and the difference in perspective between different golfers is a big issue as well.

I like the idea of comparative videos. You could actually do it for your own track and a variety of combinations of groups.

You could show difference between a 4 ball playing a hole using all common sense and readiness that supports good pace / brisk golf - and another not doing so - displaying all the things we moan about.

Then can compare a brisk (not fast) 3 ball with a brisk 4 ball - or indeed a slow 4 ball with a brisk 3 ball :) etc

The former would show up the difference in pace of play for a same size group. Might be 3-4 minutes over a hole. Multiply by 18 - no maths genius to work that out at least an hour over a round.

The second example shows up the difference that the additional player makes - and the impact of a slow 4ball in front of a brisk 3 ball.

Just to heighten awareness.
 

SwingsitlikeHogan

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Are you guys for real? Bringing all the golfers inside to watch an instructional video? That's hilarious. :ROFLMAO:

maybe just part of new member introduction evenings - we run these at the moment covering the rules of golf and etiquette.

Or maybe - like when you get done for speeding - the first time you can go on a speed awareness course as an alternative to 3pts - if a player is found guilty of regular and persistent slow play and the club normally penalises that with an exclusion from the next comp - you can watch some speed awareness vids instead :)

I think I am kidding
 

clubchamp98

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maybe just part of new member introduction evenings - we run these at the moment covering the rules of golf and etiquette.

Or maybe - like when you get done for speeding - the first time you can go on a speed awareness course as an alternative to 3pts - if a player is found guilty of regular and persistent slow play and the club normally penalises that with an exclusion from the next comp - you can watch some speed awareness vids instead :)

I think I am kidding
I would take the ban!
 

Grant85

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Are you guys for real? Bringing all the golfers inside to watch an instructional video? That's hilarious. :ROFLMAO:

I'm sure a golf club would just circulate a link to the video via e-mail and social media.

Ok, so not everyone would watch it, but enough might to make a difference and at least create more of a stigma towards the slower players.
 
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