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A.G._Crockett

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Pace of play laboratory
« on: September 10, 2023, 09:14:08 AM »
Consider the following three rounds, played on consecutive days on the same golf course (Mooresville GC in NC).  Fyi, the front 9 at Mooresville is Ross, while the back 9 was added much later.  The rough was relatively heavy, and the greens were average or above speed, maybe running 10?  There were several holes that were cart path only, but it was mostly 90 degrees.  It is a relatively easy course on which to have to search for a ball because there is very high fescue on the borders of many of the holes, and especially on the back 9.  One qualifier to this is that the guys in this tournament were pretty good, and I think old guys in general tend to play faster than average.  So it wasn't exactly an average group.

Day One, 3 hours and 44 minutes:This was a practice round the day before a tournament (NC Super Senior Championship).  Playing as a threesome, hitting a few practice putts to the pin positions for Day 1 and Day 2 of the tournament, which were marked.  We did NOT spend a lot of time looking for balls that had gone into the very high fescue on the borders of the holes, and we didn't really "grind" over short putts.  The golf course wasn't crowded at all, and I don't think we waited on anybody in front of us even once.  Tee times were 12 minutes apart.

Day Two, 4 hours and 21 minutes:This was a tee time fairly late in the times for the first round, with four players.  One guy played really well, one guy really struggled, and two of us were just ordinary.  I don't think any of the four of us would be considered slow in any respect, and one guy plays FAST.  But this was tournament golf; carefullly calculating distances, no "max" score, putting out, looking for potentially lost balls, not using alternate stroke and distance penalties, etc.  We could always see the group in front of us, but didn't have to wait, and the group behind us wasn't pushing us.  Tee times were 15 minutes apart. 

Day Three, 4 hours and 57 minutes:The tournament committee changed the format for the second day to a 10 am shotgun start, due to both the extreme heat and the possibility of afternoon storms.  There were 9 holes that had an A and a B group, and we waited on the tee on every hole, and in the fairway on most holes.  (Fwiw, Mooresville has 5 par 5's, plus one VERY long par 4, so 9 A and B groups isn't quite as bad as it sounds.) Same situation as Day Two; three players who were at least average in terms of playing fast, and one guy who is way faster than average.

I think there are obvious conclusions to be drawn here; tournament play is slower than casual play for sure; it just takes a long time to grind over a two foot putt that really matters, and to try to find a ball instead of playing the provisional or returning to the tee or previous spot.  I play a lot of tournament golf, and honestly anytime I get in under 4:30, I feel like we've played pretty fast.

But the real killer in terms of pace of play is a too-crowded golf course, without a doubt.  When courses don't space the tee times enough, or when they allow the next group to tee off as soon as the group ahead of them hits their second shots instead of at the posted tee time, etc, play WILL be slow.  This is far more important that anything to do with GCA, or format, or anything EXCEPT individuals who just don't care.
"Golf...is usually played with the outward appearance of great dignity.  It is, nevertheless, a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul."      Bobby Jones

Tim Martin

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Re: Pace of play laboratory
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2023, 09:23:26 AM »
Can you really compare actual tournament rounds to the practice round?

A.G._Crockett

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Re: Pace of play laboratory
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2023, 10:04:10 AM »
Can you really compare actual tournament rounds to the practice round?


I think so, which is at least part of my point.  The practice round was played much more like standard, casual golf.  In that case, pace of play is determined by proper spacing of groups, and the individual habits and practices of the players themselves. 


The first tournament round was slower, simply because ďrealĒ stroke play golf is slower, regardless of spacing or players.  That gets lost here at times; tournament rounds, especially on TV with a great deal at stake, are going to be slower.  Complaining about slow play without factoring the format in is myopic. 


The third round was really SLOW, but it was slow not because of the individual players or the format or the GCA, but because the course was bunched up with too many players.
"Golf...is usually played with the outward appearance of great dignity.  It is, nevertheless, a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul."      Bobby Jones

Tim Martin

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Re: Pace of play laboratory
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2023, 10:07:36 AM »
Any comparison of casual play to tournament play where everyone has to hole out is an apples to oranges scenario. I donít think the threads dealing with slow play are focusing on medal play scoring.

A.G._Crockett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pace of play laboratory
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2023, 10:36:34 AM »
Any comparison of casual play to tournament play where everyone has to hole out is an apples to oranges scenario. I donít think the threads dealing with slow play are focusing on medal play scoring.


Ok, Tim.  Thanks for the information.  I wonít try to rewrite my greater point about a crowded course again, since itís already sailed over your head twice.
"Golf...is usually played with the outward appearance of great dignity.  It is, nevertheless, a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul."      Bobby Jones

Tim Martin

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Re: Pace of play laboratory
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2023, 10:41:33 AM »
Any comparison of casual play to tournament play where everyone has to hole out is an apples to oranges scenario. I donít think the threads dealing with slow play are focusing on medal play scoring.


Ok, Tim.  Thanks for the information.  I wonít try to rewrite my greater point about a crowded course again, since itís already sailed over your head twice.


I donít see how the thread has any relevance to casual play which appears to be the focus of the slow play threads currently on the board. Sorry I canít keep up. ;)

Niall C

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Re: Pace of play laboratory
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2023, 02:09:06 PM »
Tim


Fair point, well made.


Niall

Brian Finn

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Re: Pace of play laboratory
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2023, 06:48:52 PM »
For anyone actually interested in golf course architecture, Kris Spence redesigned the course roughly 8 years ago. The front nine, which was originally Ross, was totally redone, including re-routing, new greens, and other work. Itís pretty open and quite good, particularly for the modest cost to play. The back nine, routed through the woods and some residential areas, offered Spence less room for change (i.e. corridors unchanged), but the design work is solid. Mooresville is a worthwhile course to play, easily one of the best public options near Charlotte.
New for 2023:  Cheraw SP, Grandfather, Clyne, Tenby, Pennard, Langland Bay, Southerndown, Pyle & Kenfig, Royal Porthcawl, Ashburnham, Rolls of Monmouth, Old Barnwell...

Jim Sherma

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Re: Pace of play laboratory
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2023, 07:31:11 PM »
Any comparison of casual play to tournament play where everyone has to hole out is an apples to oranges scenario. I donít think the threads dealing with slow play are focusing on medal play scoring.


This is where pace of play and the US- now world handicap system collide. Arenít all rounds to be posted and played under USGA/R&A rules? This clearly implies finding balls and putting out. If one is to do this your choices are either play slowly (ala the tournament round where everyone is putting out not being comparable to ďnormalĒ play), post consistently higher scores than you would if you played slowly due to not grinding over putts and not finding all balls you might find otherwise, or you post scores not under USGA/R&A rules due to given putts and other casual niceties. Regardless, the CONGU system of only counting attested medal scores remains the only legit handicapping system where rules are followed and daily pace of play is acceptably sacrificed for the sake of tournament golf.

A.G._Crockett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pace of play laboratory
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2023, 07:43:43 PM »
Any comparison of casual play to tournament play where everyone has to hole out is an apples to oranges scenario. I donít think the threads dealing with slow play are focusing on medal play scoring.


Ok, Tim.  Thanks for the information.  I wonít try to rewrite my greater point about a crowded course again, since itís already sailed over your head twice.


I donít see how the thread has any relevance to casual play which appears to be the focus of the slow play threads currently on the board. Sorry I canít keep up. ;)


Ok, Tim, try this:


Round 1 approximated ďcasual playĒ.


Round 2 was competitive play, and 30 minutes slower.


Round 3 was on a crowded golf course, which added another 30 minutes to the pace of play.


I didnít put this on one of the other threads PRECISELY because it wasnít strictly about casual play only, but rather a comparison of several variables and how they might impact pace of play.  Iím sorry if I went too fast for you; I wonít overestimate your reading comprehension again.
"Golf...is usually played with the outward appearance of great dignity.  It is, nevertheless, a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul."      Bobby Jones

SB

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Re: Pace of play laboratory
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2023, 09:40:11 AM »
Shotgun starts are always MUUUUCH slower.  If it takes 15 minutes to play a par 4, and you put two groups on it, you've created 7.5 minute tee times.  For your typical charity outing with two groups on every hole, it works out to less than 7 minute tee times.  That's why those outings take 6 hours, even as a scramble.  The only reason it's done is because everyone finishes 6 hours after the start.  If you ran regular tee times, you may be playing 4 hour rounds, but at 10 minute tee times the last group is still teeing off 6 hours after the first, and THEN you add the 4 hours to that.  The golfers are playing slower, but the overall time is faster.

A.G._Crockett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pace of play laboratory
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2023, 05:17:51 PM »
For anyone actually interested in golf course architecture, Kris Spence redesigned the course roughly 8 years ago. The front nine, which was originally Ross, was totally redone, including re-routing, new greens, and other work. Itís pretty open and quite good, particularly for the modest cost to play. The back nine, routed through the woods and some residential areas, offered Spence less room for change (i.e. corridors unchanged), but the design work is solid. Mooresville is a worthwhile course to play, easily one of the best public options near Charlotte.


For the most part, I liked the golf course, especially the front 9.  The back 9 is a much, much smaller piece of land, and I agree that Kris Spence was limited in what he could do there.


What I didnít like or understand was the maintenance practices. It is perhaps the most overwatered course Iíve ever seen, or close to it.  When I drove in on Thursday morning, the fairway sprinklers on the holes by the road were going full blast, and the course was lush and soft and anything but firm and fast. 


Additionally, there are a number of holes that are bordered closely enough by VERY tall fescue so that searching for lost tee shots was a constant, even in a tournament where every player was single digit; I can only imagine what that means on a Saturday morningÖ


But I agree with you about the value.  Good course, very good practice facilities, and GREAT price.
"Golf...is usually played with the outward appearance of great dignity.  It is, nevertheless, a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul."      Bobby Jones

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