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Sean_A

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Re: Teaching Pace of Play (architecture related)
« Reply #25 on: January 05, 2015, 06:26:33 AM »
Jon

I think you are right.  When I first alighted the shores of GB&I to play golf I was very impressed by how golfers managed themselves on the course. If there was going to be a ball search and guys came on the tee...no questions asked...group called through.  Of course this meant many golfers wouldn't bother to continue the search (the importance of matchplay!) because they knew it meant their playing partners would be standing about for at least five minutes...that was considered poor form.  Now golfers (if they are minded to call a group through) all search for a ball before hitting and then when a group hits the tee they then stomp off to their balls to hit.  This can take 3-5 minutes!  Now think of two balls lost!  The game should carry on with one player hitting while the others look.  There is nothing more stupid than to watch a golfer walk to his ball, stand there waiting for the shorter ball to be found, then walking over to help look without hitting their shot! I see this time and again and the problem is compounded by 4balls...every hole somebody is looking for at least one ball.  This type of playing seems to escalate quickly into 5 hour rounds on challenging courses...which many travel destinations are.  Of course, the drastic reduction of fairway width and increased rough length has only increased the problem...more courses are very challenging for golf tourists whose numbers have increased. 

I guess my point is teaching pace of play can take place among friends...even among golfers who have played the game for years. 

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Iona, Tobermory, Minehead & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Carl Johnson

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Re: Teaching Pace of Play (architecture related)
« Reply #26 on: January 05, 2015, 09:53:34 AM »
Playing at a reasonable speed has nothing to do with ability but rather is a conscious decision to maintain a decent pace. There is absolutely no reason why a three ball playing in a PGA Tour event should not complete 18 holes in three and a half hours. As for the rest of us it is down to us to ensure that we and the other players in our group and that in front allow a decent pace of play.

Jon

Jon, my question here -- thrown out for discussion -- what's the best way for those who think like you (and me) to make our way of thinking a solid piece of the golfer subculture, which in my opinion it is not now?  Who and how?  Well, you can have your pro drive around the course and ask the slow pokes to speed up.  Not what I am talking about.  How does the community instill in players the idea that speedier play is good for the game and teach them techniques (e.g., Sean's hint about looking for lost balls) to play more economically?  Then you won't have to turn your pro (or whoever) into a police officer.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 09:58:44 AM by Carl Johnson »

Brent Hutto

Re: Teaching Pace of Play (architecture related)
« Reply #27 on: January 05, 2015, 10:05:43 AM »
At a private club or maybe a semi-private with a large proportion of rounds being played by "regulars", it's a matter of trying to exert maximum peer pressure.

As for the larger world of golf, there ain't a thing in the world you or I could do to have any meaningful influence. If one were a teaching pro then sure, it ought to be possible to work some good influence on beginners who take lessons. But we're talking a social context in which the prevailing speed of play is determined by the slowest minority of players. In a situation like you're faced with changing not just the majority preference for speed of play but with changing darned near every individual.

To get back to architecture, when I visit courses here's one thing that a) drives me crazy personally and b) reinforces the idea that golf is an activity that takes a huge portion of the day to undertake. The entire property is often soooooo spread out, with zero regard for the flow of golfers from their car to clubhouse, practice green, driving range, first tee, last green, then retracing their steps back to their car.

There's one course I play from time to time with a friend of mine and you can tell from one glance at the layout that the expectation is for everyone to be brought a golf cart the moment they get out of their car in the parking lot and then to drive for hundreds of yards in several different and/or overlapping and/or backtracking directions multiple times before they ever start their round. With more hundreds of yards of travel if they want to make a bathroom or snack break at the turn. Then more of the same after the round. Honest to god I think most people probably drive their golf carts the better portion of a mile in addition to the driving they do actually on the course.

When faced with a layout like that, the entire experience reinforces the idea that you're there to waste time. For people introduced to the game in such an environment or who play there every week you're going to have a hell of a time convincing them there's a benefit to shaving 30 seconds here or 2 minutes there off the time they waste out on the course. It's a cognitive disconnect with their entire "playing golf" experience.

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Teaching Pace of Play (architecture related)
« Reply #28 on: January 05, 2015, 10:08:59 AM »
Carl,

I want to make clear that this is not a personal poke at you. I think the default attitude in your last post is at the root of much of the problem. Players need to take responsibility for their own play as was the case until quite recently in GB&I instead of a 'nanny state' let some other poor sod do the work. It is not the pro's (or anybody else's) responsibility to ensure that people allow a decent pace of play.

Jon

jeffwarne

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Re: Teaching Pace of Play (architecture related)
« Reply #29 on: January 05, 2015, 10:17:46 AM »


To get back to architecture, when I visit courses here's one thing that a) drives me crazy personally and b) reinforces the idea that golf is an activity that takes a huge portion of the day to undertake. The entire property is often soooooo spread out, with zero regard for the flow of golfers from their car to clubhouse, practice green, driving range, first tee, last green, then retracing their steps back to their car.

There's one course I play from time to time with a friend of mine and you can tell from one glance at the layout that the expectation is for everyone to be brought a golf cart the moment they get out of their car in the parking lot and then to drive for hundreds of yards in several different and/or overlapping and/or backtracking directions multiple times before they ever start their round. With more hundreds of yards of travel if they want to make a bathroom or snack break at the turn. Then more of the same after the round. Honest to god I think most people probably drive their golf carts the better portion of a mile in addition to the driving they do actually on the course.

When faced with a layout like that, the entire experience reinforces the idea that you're there to waste time. For people introduced to the game in such an environment or who play there every week you're going to have a hell of a time convincing them there's a benefit to shaving 30 seconds here or 2 minutes there off the time they waste out on the course. It's a cognitive disconnect with their entire "playing golf" experience.

well said Brent
Compact got a bad name in the past 20-30 years.
Self conscious players like the first tee away from the range and clubhouse, the range away from the pro shop, 10 tee away from 9 green/practice area.
Marketers sell this as "each hole as its own entity".
People began to see seeing others on the course as a bad thing and spread out was further rewarded.

Some courses/places just can't be played/ridden quickly without a lot of extra effort which simply slows down the pace of everything and creates traffic problems when mixing walkers and riders.
Otherwise slow playing rider groups can make up large amounts of time on these epic drives between facilities/holes. The walker lets them through because they're on their arse on the tee, and then proceeds to watch them play a 25+ minute hole in front of them while another group comes up their arse again.
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Jud_T

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Re: Teaching Pace of Play (architecture related)
« Reply #30 on: January 05, 2015, 11:08:09 AM »
For people introduced to the game in such an environment or who play there every week you're going to have a hell of a time convincing them there's a benefit to shaving 30 seconds here or 2 minutes there off the time they waste out on the course. It's a cognitive disconnect with their entire "playing golf" experience.

This is the real issue on this side of the pond IMO.  The majority of weekend warriors have never experienced a quick walking round at a course designed for the purpose.  It's like trying to introduce the joys of eating top quality raw sea urchin to someone who's only eaten fried fish for 30 years.  Or banging your head against a brick wall...
Golf is a game. We play it. Somewhere along the way we took the fun out of it and charged a premium to be punished.- - Ron Sirak

Carl Johnson

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Re: Teaching Pace of Play (architecture related)
« Reply #31 on: January 05, 2015, 12:18:58 PM »
Carl,

I want to make clear that this is not a personal poke at you. I think the default attitude in your last post is at the root of much of the problem. Players need to take responsibility for their own play as was the case until quite recently in GB&I instead of a 'nanny state' let some other poor sod do the work. It is not the pro's (or anybody else's) responsibility to ensure that people allow a decent pace of play.

Jon

Jon, no problem.  I just don't think all but a few understand the question I posed, which is, for the last time: "Players need to take responsibility for their own play as was the case . . . ." - as you say.  Agreed 100%.  But, how does the golf community bring this ethos to all golfers (or at least to a heck of a lot more than have it now)?

Repeating what I said above: "What's the best way for those who think like you (and me) to make our way of thinking a solid piece of the golfer subculture, which in my opinion it is not now?  Who and how?  Well, you can have your pro drive around the course and ask the slow pokes to speed up.  Not what I am talking about.  How does the community instill in players the idea that speedier play is good for the game and teach them techniques (e.g., Sean's hint about looking for lost balls) to play more economically?" In other words, what process should the game's leaders - however you want to define them - follow?  Just saying folks need to take responsibility is not the kind of answer I was looking for -- rather, it had to do with how do you change mindsets so they'll do it.

E.g., being still and quiet when another player is putting or making a shot is deeply ingrained as part of golf etiquette or culture.  How do can pace of play be made part of the golf etiquette or culture in the same way.

At the outset I proposed that teaching pace of play should be one of the responsibilities of teaching pros.  The consensus so far is that that won't work.  But, shouldn't (at least in the USA - not sure about other countries) the PGA recognize that it is their best interests, at least for the long term, to incorporate pace of play into teaching?  And why couldn't private clubs demand that their teaching pros incorporate pace of play into their teaching.  If the the pro resists, then I'd say to fire him or her and get someone else.

Another alternative would be for a club committee to undertake a serious educational effort for its members.

Pros, cons, other teaching ideas?  "It can't be done" is not the sort of answer I'm looking for.  That may be the answer, but let's start with the attitude that it can be done and see what we can come up with.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 01:58:08 PM by Carl Johnson »

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Teaching Pace of Play (architecture related)
« Reply #32 on: January 08, 2015, 02:10:58 AM »
Carl,

it is down to the club's and course owners. The problem is NOT slow players per se but rather slower players not letting quicker players through. Its a question of culture in players being considerate and not wanting to hold up others as well as quicker players not wimping out of asking to be allowed to play through.

Jon

K Rafkin

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Re: Teaching Pace of Play (architecture related)
« Reply #33 on: January 08, 2015, 03:54:11 AM »
Carl,

it is down to the club's and course owners. The problem is NOT slow players per se but rather slower players not letting quicker players through. Its a question of culture in players being considerate and not wanting to hold up others as well as quicker players not wimping out of asking to be allowed to play through.

Jon

On a busy day when the course is backed up for multiple groups letting a quicker group play though just contributes to the problem.  By slowing down to allow a quicker group play though you are effectively slowing down the slowest group on the course.  This is great for the group that gets to play though to an open course, however it slows all other groups down for the benefit of one.  Slow play is so much more than a willingness to let quicker groups play though.

Sean_A

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Re: Teaching Pace of Play (architecture related)
« Reply #34 on: January 08, 2015, 04:04:52 AM »
Carl,

it is down to the club's and course owners. The problem is NOT slow players per se but rather slower players not letting quicker players through. Its a question of culture in players being considerate and not wanting to hold up others as well as quicker players not wimping out of asking to be allowed to play through.

Jon

On a busy day when the course is backed up for multiple groups letting a quicker group play though just contributes to the problem.  By slowing down to allow a quicker group play though you are effectively slowing down the slowest group on the course.  This is great for the group that gets to play though to an open course, however it slows all other groups down for the benefit of one.  Slow play is so much more than a willingness to let quicker groups play though.

BUT, we must remember that the issue is slow play and who is causing it.  Too many people seem to want to blame quicker groups for this issue.   

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Iona, Tobermory, Minehead & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Teaching Pace of Play (architecture related)
« Reply #35 on: January 08, 2015, 04:42:50 AM »
Carl,

it is down to the club's and course owners. The problem is NOT slow players per se but rather slower players not letting quicker players through. Its a question of culture in players being considerate and not wanting to hold up others as well as quicker players not wimping out of asking to be allowed to play through.

Jon

On a busy day when the course is backed up for multiple groups letting a quicker group play though just contributes to the problem.  By slowing down to allow a quicker group play though you are effectively slowing down the slowest group on the course.  This is great for the group that gets to play though to an open course, however it slows all other groups down for the benefit of one.  Slow play is so much more than a willingness to let quicker groups play though.

Mr K,

Slow play is so much more than a willingness to let quicker groups play though

sounds like a crappy slogan in an advert promoting slow play. So you seem to think that the slow players have the right to play at exactly the pace they wish to whilst causing all others to play slower than wished? If the SLOW playing group does not like being made to play slower then maybe they should play a little faster.

Jon

Ed Tilley

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Re: Teaching Pace of Play (architecture related)
« Reply #36 on: January 08, 2015, 04:44:01 AM »
To me it is all about education and enforcement of positive behaviour. Too many people just don't appreciate they are slow, largely because they don't feel they are delaying, and feel they are going as fast as they can. The biggest thing for me is BE READY TO PLAY.

I used to play regularly with someone who would get up on the tee, for example, on a par 3 after some or all of the group had played. He would say - "Right, what do we have here". It used to drive me mad. In all other respects he was reasonably quick but he was just never ready. I eventually told him and he actually was quite appreciative. This one simple thing probably took 15-20 minutes off the round.
This extends to going up to your ball in the fairway and preparing if there is someone behind you, lining up putts on the green while others are putting - all with the obvious proviso that you shouldn't be a distraction.

I would personally like to see a sign on the first tee of every course along the lines of:

"Slow play is not acceptable, and affects the enjoyment of the game for the majority on the course. Expected hours of play are below. If you are taking longer than this then YOU ARE SLOW. It is your responsibility to speed your game up to acceptable levels. Please see the website for advice on slow play and common areas which cause this that you may be unaware of - it is not necessary to rush to play within the accepted time frames

2 ball   - 3 hours maximum
3 ball   - 3.5 hours maximum
4 ball   - 4 hours maximum"

Obviously time frames need to be adjusted for the length of course and distance between tees but why don't courses do this? Slow play is a blight on the game and is actually unnecessary. People who think slow play is acceptable should try driving behind someone doing 30mph on a 60mph road where you can't overtake - that is what you are doing to everyone else!

I am going to a captain's meeting shortly due to joining Frilford. It will be interesting to see if the issue of pace of play is even mentioned? I certainly hope so and would expect it as Frilford is traditionally very good on this issue.

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Teaching Pace of Play (architecture related)
« Reply #37 on: January 08, 2015, 07:06:07 AM »
Ed,

spot on except it should be

2 ball   - 3 hours maximum
3 ball   - 3 hours 15 minutes maximum
4 ball   - 3 and a half hours maximum

Jon

Paul Gray

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Re: Teaching Pace of Play (architecture related)
« Reply #38 on: January 08, 2015, 10:17:08 AM »
Carl,

it is down to the club's and course owners. The problem is NOT slow players per se but rather slower players not letting quicker players through. Its a question of culture in players being considerate and not wanting to hold up others as well as quicker players not wimping out of asking to be allowed to play through.

Jon

Hallelujah. This is exactly what I've been saying for, well, ever, as have many other people that are used to a culture where this actually prevails and prevails successfully. Leading on from this, I've always thought, although well meant, it's actually a step in the wrong direction when clubs start putting times on their scorecards, i.e. 1:20 at the 7th tee, 2:40 at the 13th tee ect. It really isn't about quick or slow, simply about consideration for your fellow golfers.
In the places where golf cuts through pretension and elitism, it thrives and will continue to thrive because the simple virtues of the game and its attendant culture are allowed to be most apparent. - Tim Gavrich

Ed Tilley

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Re: Teaching Pace of Play (architecture related)
« Reply #39 on: January 08, 2015, 11:04:37 AM »
Carl,

it is down to the club's and course owners. The problem is NOT slow players per se but rather slower players not letting quicker players through. Its a question of culture in players being considerate and not wanting to hold up others as well as quicker players not wimping out of asking to be allowed to play through.

Jon

Hallelujah. This is exactly what I've been saying for, well, ever, as have many other people that are used to a culture where this actually prevails and prevails successfully. Leading on from this, I've always thought, although well meant, it's actually a step in the wrong direction when clubs start putting times on their scorecards, i.e. 1:20 at the 7th tee, 2:40 at the 13th tee ect. It really isn't about quick or slow, simply about consideration for your fellow golfers.

But a lot of slow players don't think / realise that they are slow. As a result they don't feel the need to let anyone through. It needs to be spelt out to them from a negative perspective, and from a positive perspective there needs to be information about simple ways to speed up - "Be Ready". Most slow play does not come about from 3 rather than 2 practice swings, or a pre shot routine, or time over the ball. It comes from stupid things that could easily be eliminated. If there is a culture of discussing slow play, and information readily available and communicated, this will almost certainly lead to people being more considerate - and letting faster groups through.

Thomas Dai

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Re: Teaching Pace of Play (architecture related)
« Reply #40 on: January 08, 2015, 11:18:23 AM »
Where I played years ago 2 guys were very slow. All singles comps, medals and stablefords were played in 3-balls. Not for these 2 guys, they were told to play together in a 2-ball. They got the mesage soon enough and picked up their pace of play such that they were allowed to play in 3-balls again. Private members club though.
Atb

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Teaching Pace of Play (architecture related)
« Reply #41 on: January 08, 2015, 12:30:07 PM »
But a lot of slow players don't think / realise that they are slow. As a result they don't feel the need to let anyone through. It needs to be spelt out to them

Ed,

this is where the faster player needs to have the gumption to politely inform slower players of this and the need to let faster players play through. The funny thing with beginners is generally they play better if the play faster.

Jon

Paul Gray

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Re: Teaching Pace of Play (architecture related)
« Reply #42 on: January 08, 2015, 12:32:52 PM »
Ed,

You're absolutely right. That's very much what I was getting at in my original post when I said that no one thought they were slow. Equally, it's why slow and fast isn't so much the issue but, rather, an issue of a basic courtesy towards other human beings. If you and I are flying around a course and likely to get round in less than three hours, we should still have the common sense and goodwill to get out of the way of the single golfer that catches us up. Who are we to dictate how he goes about his day? Conversely, I really don't mind seeing a couple of REAL beginners taking four hours to get round the course, just so long as someone has told them that the moment you and I catch them up is the moment they stand aside. On the few occasions that I've actually caught up REAL beginners and they haven't been aware of the etiquette required of them, I've never found them hostile to the advice I've provided. Actually, they're far more likely to not only be pleased to learn but also pleased to not have the pressure of a better golfer watching them.

This thread started by asking how we actually enforce this and, again, I can only really return to what I originally wrote and say that clubs have to breed a culture where it's just the norm. It may sound somewhat draconian but the only may I know to achieve this is to have the balls to stand fast and, if it comes to it, issue warnings to anyone that doesn't comply. Is anyone keeps offending, clearly he or she is not, as one of the dear old secretaries at my club would have said "at harmony with the ethos of the club" and needs to find somewhere more befitting to play golf at. As I wrote before, some people seem to think this is wishful thinking but it's still perfectly operational and perfectly successful at a great many clubs. It isn't about one club official imposing this but about the whole club having a clearly stated policy of not accepting ignorant behaviour. It's always struck me as quite amusing that the most desirable clubs tend to be the ones with the most blunt of signs.

Just to give a little compare and contrast, only this very afternoon I was out playing five holes at my course. It was quite and I had what could have been a misfortune at many clubs to find two ladies had teed off just in front of me. The however caused me exactly no delay as they called me through from the second fairway as soon as I reached the second tee. Now, a friend of mine was at his home course the other day when, after following a fourball for a few holes, he thought he'd get through them on the tenth tee, particularly as they popped into the halfway house. But a completely unnecessary scenario occurred whereby one of the four decided to 'guard' the tenth tee. Upon my friend arriving, he was told that they weren't playing slowly so they'd be carrying on in front of him. Now, however you want to look at that, surely that is just rank bad manners?
In the places where golf cuts through pretension and elitism, it thrives and will continue to thrive because the simple virtues of the game and its attendant culture are allowed to be most apparent. - Tim Gavrich

Carl Johnson

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Re: Teaching Pace of Play (architecture related)
« Reply #43 on: January 09, 2015, 05:50:04 PM »

Paul, I'm going to move a couple of your thoughts around to make my point -- not to change what you say (I don't think), but to help me clarify something.  (Excuse the dreaded green.  It's just a color -- no inferences, please.)

This thread started by asking how we actually enforce this [play that is not slow play] . . . .

I started the thread, and so I must have not been clear, because that's not at all what I intended to ask.  So for what it's worth to anyone, here was my intent.  I was not asking how to enforce faster play.  I was asking (1) whose responsibility was it to teach golfers what I'd rather call "efficient" play, that is, play that doesn't waste time and (2) how should they go about teaching it.

. . . On the few occasions that I've actually caught up REAL beginners and they haven't been aware of the etiquette required of them, I've never found them hostile to the advice I've provided. Actually, they're far more likely to not only be pleased to learn but also pleased to not have the pressure of a better golfer watching them.

This addresses my question.  You are saying that one way to teach golfers about efficient play is for other, experienced golfers, to approach them on the course and give them advice of some sort.  That's a worthwhile idea, although it is not something I, personally, would choose do.  What kind of advice have you provided to these folks?  That's an important part (though only implied) of the question, too.

It may sound somewhat draconian but the only may I know to achieve this is to have the balls to stand fast and, if it comes to it, issue warnings to anyone that doesn't comply. . . .

O.K., but from my perspective, I'd back up and ask this question.  Why to some folks play so slow?  My sense is that just telling them to play faster, or to "complete your round in 3.5 hours" (or with "while we're young" promos on TV) are not useful ways to go about it.  I believe that many do so because they don't understand the techniques necessary to play faster (or, efficiently).  So, how should those techniques be taught, and who should teach them?

Just to give a little compare and contrast . . . a completely unnecessary scenario occurred whereby one of the four decided to 'guard' the tenth tee. Upon my friend arriving, he was told that they weren't playing slowly so they'd be carrying on in front of him. Now, however you want to look at that, surely that is just rank bad manners?

Now, this is not "rank bad manners" as you call it.  To use a kind word (rather than the a--h--- word), these guys are jerks, pure and simple.  There are those who revel in being jerks.  I'm not sure what can be done about them at daily fee courses.  (Of course, the premise of private clubs is that you don't admit jerks as members.  Ha!)  But, it may be that they actually believe they are not playing slow.  Education might work on these guys.  Still, regardless of whether they were slow or not, and in the end isn't it all relative, they were "jerks" or "a--h----" for speaking to your friend that way way and not allowing you to play through (assuming a reasonable opening).

Moving away from the "who should do it and how should they do it" question I had intend to pose initially, what fast play tips would you give to novice golfers, golfers who are open minded and eager to learn all aspects of the game, including how to play efficiently?

Ed Tilley, above, mentioned the importance of being ready to play.  That could be broken down to more specifics.  E.g., you're play cart golf and you're the rider, the driver comes to his ball first.  Don't just sit in the cart.  Get out when he does, pull the clubs you might need and advance with reason to your ball so you can hit when it's your turn (or sooner in ready golf).  Obviously, this isn't always practical, but quite often it is.  Another e.g.: begin reading the green as you approach it.  You can learn a lot by looking at the broad contours an setting.  Assuming you like to read from behind the pin, approach the green so you can get to that spot fastest, take a read, then move over and mark your ball (if appropriate).  Again, won't always work, but worth keeping in mind.

How many "tips," related to "being ready" or otherwise would you tell a beginner about how to play efficiently?

« Last Edit: January 09, 2015, 06:35:58 PM by Carl Johnson »

Paul Gray

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Re: Teaching Pace of Play (architecture related)
« Reply #44 on: January 09, 2015, 07:26:37 PM »
Carl,

Good post.

Well, let me just reiterate what I feel is at the very heart of WHAT needs to be taught, although I appreciate that what you really want to get to is WHO and HOW to teach it. Anyway:

1) It is your responsibility to care about other people.

2) Understand that you benefit from all of this.

But moving on.....

WHO:

The simple but inconclusive answer is everyone, much as I've already suggested. I'm not usually one to avoid specific roles and responsibilities but I really don't believe it's ideal to be designating a specific 'pace of play' role to a specific member of staff, thereby apparently exonerating the rest of us from taking responsibility. Ultimately, it's cultural. And anything cultural, by definition, is defined by a collective of people that define a certain culture. So, every club pro, every club secretary and every junior organiser has a part to play but, more importantly, we all do.

HOW (and WHAT):

Formally and informally. If you're a junior organiser, repeatedly tell your kids NOT to take a lead from TV. Tell them NOT to take a lead from the middle aged men that constantly hold them up when they're out there with they're mates. Tell them to avoid turning into those selfish pr!cks if they can possibly help it. Tell them to call people through that catch them up and to equally EXPECT (yes, EXPECT) to be called through if they catch others up.

You asked me what advice I've given to beginners. The simple answer is that I've told them what the etiquette of the game entails. There's too much nonsense by way of initiatives which promote everything except what the Rules of Golf actually says about the subject. There's always someone or somebody trying to address the issue whilst simultaneously dodging it with some rubbish which doesn't make it clear to some people that their behaviour if unreasonable. The rules say:

It is a groupís responsibility to keep up with the group in front. If it loses a clear hole and it is delaying the group behind, it should invite the group behind to play through, irrespective of the number of players in that group. Where a group has not lost a clear hole, but it is apparent that the group behind can play faster, it should invite the faster moving group to play through.

Be Ready to Play

Players should be ready to play as soon as it is their turn to play. When playing on or near the putting green, they should leave their bags or carts in such a position as will enable quick movement off the green and towards the next tee. When the play of a hole has been completed, players should immediately leave the putting green.

Lost Ball

If a player believes his ball may be lost outside a water hazard or is out of bounds, to save time, he should play a provisional ball.

Players searching for a ball should signal the players in the group behind them to play through as soon as it becomes apparent that the ball will not easily be found.They should not search for five minutes before doing so. Having allowed the group behind to play through, they should not continue play until that group has passed and is out of range.


Sorry if simply quoting from the rule book seems a bit dull but teaching people this is just the same and as important as teaching them about any other section of the book. The common usage and acceptance of the above is all it takes. If that means slapping it up on every wall and every tee, so be it. We think, quite rightly, that it's perfectly reasonable to expect golfers to have some level of understanding of the other X number of pages but, quite inexplicably, we seem to think it's a bit of a push for people to grasp the one little bit I've quoted above.

Everyone teaches everyone else, thereby defining a culture. And it's no great stretch to have the marshal on the 1st tee at a public course make the situation absolutely clear to every golfer. It's only the fear of lost revenue that prevents this from happening and yet such concern is only short sighted since golfers are leaving the game in their droves due to the game taking too long. I actually once put that very section from the rule book up on each of the noticeboards at a particularly club I was working at. I hadn't added anything else to them, simply quoted from the very book which everyone should be aware of. Most people approved but a vocal minority complained, seemingly offended by the very notion that they were obliged to think of others. Someone lost their nerve and took the signs down.  

But I digress.

To address your last point, I'm not sure I'm too well placed to give any specific fast play tips, simply because I don't really know any other way of playing. I struggle to understand how some people take so long. Certainly I've never had to make any effort to get around a golf course in three hours. It's just a natural pace. But, thinking about it, I suppose I have instilled in kids and beginners before the importance of being ready, not having more than one practice swing, being ready when it's not your turn, leaving your bag at the correct side of the green. Of course, just get out of people's way EVERY time you get caught up and you can take eight hours for all I care.

Further to that last point, and as I've already said before, it really isn't about fast or slow. It always has been, still is and always will be about respect for others. Like I said, fast or slow is ultimately only subjective and holding someone else up because you perceive yourself as fast doesn't make you any less selfish. Sorry I can't give any more conclusive an answer, or some sort of A,B,C on exact steps or specific people which produce an ideal outcome but, again, it's about a million and one little actions which go to define accepted norms of behaviours, accepted standards if you like.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2015, 07:29:24 PM by Paul Gray »
In the places where golf cuts through pretension and elitism, it thrives and will continue to thrive because the simple virtues of the game and its attendant culture are allowed to be most apparent. - Tim Gavrich

Carl Johnson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Teaching Pace of Play (architecture related)
« Reply #45 on: January 14, 2015, 09:47:26 AM »
Surprisingly(?), the USGA has some pretty good stuff on pace of play: http://www.usga.org/MicroSite.aspx?id=21474856307  . . . including a section of course design and pace of play issues.  As best I can tell, the PGA of America, not so much.  In addition to taking a quick look at the PGAA website, I spoke with a young club pro who has been through the full PGA certification curriculum.  I asked whether, when the PGAA teaches aspiring pros how to teach golf, there was any emphasis on how to teach pace of play.  He said there was not.

One would think the PGAA to be interested in teaching this subject.  Is it not in the interests of the PGAA to "grow the game" (and therefore create more job opportunities for its members)?  And isn't there a sense that the slowness of the game discourages many potential players?  So, why wouldn't the PGAA be interested in having their members take teaching pace of play seriously?  I think that's a legit question.

Matt Day

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Teaching Pace of Play (architecture related)
« Reply #46 on: January 15, 2015, 12:33:17 AM »
My 13 year old daughter has just got her handicap (32) and is now ready to start to play in some club competitions. One of the things that is noticeable as a dad and short term caddy is that the simple things to keep play moving aren't always intuitive to new golfers, and even more so for 13 year old girls  :)

Every time we play a few holes we've worked on simple things like where to leave you buggy when you get to the green, having your glove on and being ready to tee off, watching a tee shot going into the bush instead of turning your back etc. This combined with "learning" a new rule each time we play has seen an improvement in Ashleigh's readiness for golf.

As others have said, we need to teach new players the things many of us take for granted to keep play moving.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2015, 12:37:08 AM by Matt Day »

Carl Johnson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Teaching Pace of Play (architecture related)
« Reply #47 on: January 16, 2015, 11:42:03 AM »
My 13 year old daughter has just got her handicap (32) and is now ready to start to play in some club competitions. One of the things that is noticeable as a dad and short term caddy is that the simple things to keep play moving aren't always intuitive to new golfers, and even more so for 13 year old girls  :)

Every time we play a few holes we've worked on simple things like where to leave you buggy when you get to the green, having your glove on and being ready to tee off, watching a tee shot going into the bush instead of turning your back etc. This combined with "learning" a new rule each time we play has seen an improvement in Ashleigh's readiness for golf.

As others have said, we need to teach new players the things many of us take for granted to keep play moving.

Glad to hear that.  Yesterday in post-game chit-chat at my club a new member said that when he had previously been a member at a very high end club in our city, no new member was allowed to play until he'd had two courses given by the pro, one on rules and another of etiquette and pace of play.  That pro has moved on, and I don't know if said club still has such a policy.

Paul Gray

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Teaching Pace of Play (architecture related)
« Reply #48 on: January 16, 2015, 12:26:12 PM »
My 13 year old daughter has just got her handicap (32) and is now ready to start to play in some club competitions. One of the things that is noticeable as a dad and short term caddy is that the simple things to keep play moving aren't always intuitive to new golfers, and even more so for 13 year old girls  :)

Every time we play a few holes we've worked on simple things like where to leave you buggy when you get to the green, having your glove on and being ready to tee off, watching a tee shot going into the bush instead of turning your back etc. This combined with "learning" a new rule each time we play has seen an improvement in Ashleigh's readiness for golf.

As others have said, we need to teach new players the things many of us take for granted to keep play moving.

Glad to hear that.  Yesterday in post-game chit-chat at my club a new member said that when he had previously been a member at a very high end club in our city, no new member was allowed to play until he'd had two courses given by the pro, one on rules and another of etiquette and pace of play.  That pro has moved on, and I don't know if said club still has such a policy.

Good to hear that from Matt.

And Carl, that's very much the kind of approach at my club, although it comes down to all of us really to enforce the culture. But any beginner has to have playing lessons with the Pro where all aspects of the game are covered. The only time there is a probelm is when a new member joins that is an experienced player, since they aren't required to take the lessons. Even so, because of the prevailing culture which I've spoken of before, they soon get the message. I've seen a litle bit of resistance before but people tend to be quite quick to adjust when they realise that stamping their feet simply won't wash.  ;)
In the places where golf cuts through pretension and elitism, it thrives and will continue to thrive because the simple virtues of the game and its attendant culture are allowed to be most apparent. - Tim Gavrich

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