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Ira Fishman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Pace of play—Is it a fair criterion?
« on: May 22, 2022, 12:48:12 PM »
My least favorite highly ranked/regarded courses in the past few years have been Kapalua Plantation, Castle Stuart, Kingsbarns, and PH4. In all of the cases, there is no question that a 5 or 5+ hour round affected my opinion. But on reflection, is it really fair to use that as a criterion? Other than perhaps Kapalua, there is nothing inherent in the architecture that caused the slow play. They are popular and therefore crowded courses.


On the other hand, our round at Ballybunion Old was slow, but it did not seem that way in part because I found the course complelling.


Ira


John Kavanaugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pace of play—Is it a fair criterion?
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2022, 12:56:55 PM »
You have named 4 courses that would not be famous if not for their neighborhood. You simply saw through the fog.

Mike Worth

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pace of play—Is it a fair criterion?
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2022, 06:13:50 PM »
My least favorite highly ranked/regarded courses in the past few years have been Kapalua Plantation, Castle Stuart, Kingsbarns, and PH4. In all of the cases, there is no question that a 5 or 5+ hour round affected my opinion. But on reflection, is it really fair to use that as a criterion? Other than perhaps Kapalua, there is nothing inherent in the architecture that caused the slow play. They are popular and therefore crowded courses.


On the other hand, our round at Ballybunion Old was slow, but it did not seem that way in part because I found the course complelling.


Ira


Ira - agree with you on pace of play affecting how one sees a course.  I just get so steamed that it would take anyone that long to play golf that I tend to lose focus and just want to leave.  It happened to me at Highland Links in NS last October.


Regarding your course criticisms, I was lucky my Castle Stuart round lasted < 3 hours. It was in 2009 right after it opened — it was mid October (after tourists are gone) and I was playing by myself (traveling with two non-golfing family members was a factor).


Totally agree on Ballybunion Old - it may have been a slow(er) round but what a course.  I don’t remember my round at Kingsbarn to be such an ordeal (lucky for me).


I think 5 to 5 1/2 hour rounds are offensive and rude — Both from the perspective of the group actually taking that long to play (rude and privileged) and also for the venue to allow that to happen
« Last Edit: May 22, 2022, 06:17:29 PM by Mike Worth »

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pace of play—Is it a fair criterion?
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2022, 08:05:52 PM »
Your personal experience with pace of play is going to be somewhat random.  If you're out in the afternoon at a famous course in the height of the season, it's going to be slow, almost anywhere.  If you're playing by yourself in the off season, it's going to be fast, and you'll enjoy that experience more.  But that doesn't have much at all to do with whether it's a great course.

jeffwarne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pace of play—Is it a fair criterion?
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2022, 09:15:31 PM »
It literally has only happened to me once, as I usually am playing relative unknowns at an off peak time-by design.
The only time it ever happened that I can remember was at a pretty well known course in Scotland where 32 Swedes went off in front of us and were painfully slow, causing our 4 ball to wait every-single shot, resulting in a 2:45 front nine.
That really wasn't that big a problem to us until a group of members came buzzing up and rudely insisted they had the right of way, then another group, then another, even though it was apparrent there was nowhere to go on the entire back nine.


I haven't returned nor would I ever recommend that course to anyone as there are many courses the equal of the one in question(and it was very good course).
If you're going to whore your course out to subsidize your dues, you as members have given up the right to play through groups piled on top of each other if you've not chosen to manage the play properly.


So yes, I guess it can have an effect on someone;)


Having been fortunate(spoiled) enough to play most "Big Guns" years ago, I am thrilled to play the so many great gems that I almost always prefer for their culture, price, smaller scale and low key"ness"
So I may not be much of an architecture critic, but I"m a pretty good source for trip planning, thanks to the heavy lifting done by this site and its contributors, the CG, Top100golfcourses etc.


These days I really only want to play a Big Gun with a member, or in an event or when I know someone on the staff. Just can't deal with all the baggage, show and frills.





"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

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pace of play—Is it a fair criterion?
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2022, 04:33:11 AM »
Regrettably pace of play issues including not letting faster groups behind play through seems to have spread to ‘Little Gun’ land these days, the more so around urban areas. More golfers, more pace of play issues. Less etiquette too.
Atb

Ira Fishman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pace of play—Is it a fair criterion?
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2022, 08:32:59 PM »
You have named 4 courses that would not be famous if not for their neighborhood. You simply saw through the fog.


JK,


I have now thought about this for a day, and not that should anyone care, but I agree with you regarding Kapalua, Castle Stuart, and PH4 based on architecture alone. I do think that Kingsbarns is better than my first and second reactions. In addition to the slow play, the whole schtick was off putting, especially getting chastised by the starter because I did not want to hear his scripted speech. He was only doing his job, but that is the problem—we were being treated as tourists at Disney. However, the course itself is quite good. The Par 3s are only okay, but there are more than a few good holes and a few really good ones. I would not go back even if the cost were far less, but it is worth a play. On the Doak Scale in the neighborhood, definitely lower than Elie, but higher than Crail Balcomie (which we loved).


Ira
« Last Edit: May 23, 2022, 08:36:46 PM by Ira Fishman »

Cal Carlisle

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pace of play—Is it a fair criterion?
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2022, 11:07:50 PM »
Ira,


I’ve never been. What’s the deal with the speech? Did you just walk away and rip one down the fairway?


-Cal

Phil Burr

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pace of play—Is it a fair criterion?
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2022, 11:13:10 PM »
jeffwarne,


As a travel planner, is there a reason you can't identify the Scotland course with the 32 Swedes?  It sounds like one I'd want to avoid if planning my own travel.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pace of play—Is it a fair criterion?
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2022, 01:57:56 AM »
My least favorite highly ranked/regarded courses in the past few years have been Kapalua Plantation, Castle Stuart, Kingsbarns, and PH4. In all of the cases, there is no question that a 5 or 5+ hour round affected my opinion. But on reflection, is it really fair to use that as a criterion? Other than perhaps Kapalua, there is nothing inherent in the architecture that caused the slow play. They are popular and therefore crowded courses.


On the other hand, our round at Ballybunion Old was slow, but it did not seem that way in part because I found the course complelling.

Ira

I don't think slow play should be a factor in one's opinion of golf course quality. Like you, we had a long day at Kingsbarns, but it was partly our fault for playing at the end of the day. Kingsbarns doesn't have a club attached so the culture is American tourist golf. Whenever I see stacks of 4balls with caddies I know it will be slow. The course is excellent, although not excellent enough for me to want to risk slow play at those prices.

It's funny you mention Ballybunion. Another great course, but I won't go back because of the stupid rough. Prices are so expensive and these days that I am looking for all round perfection to justify the cost. Its a setup for disappointment. Tourist bus destinations are less attractive with each passing year.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South & Crystal Downs

Kalen Braley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pace of play—Is it a fair criterion?
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2022, 10:48:58 AM »
I think a case can be made for this...

If you play a course, that is non-stop crowded, 365 a year...and there is no other way to evaluate it, (think popular muni's in year round good weather areas like San Diego or Hawaii) then perhaps its fair.  But if you just catch it on a busy day, that would be a bit unfair.

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