PACE OF PLAY – Part 1
Pace of Play – Part One
Here is the scene. It’s Saturday morning and your group has one of the first tee times of the day. A few people in your group haven’t touched a club in six months. A couple of the new guys in your group have never been on a golf trip before and just started playing golf last year. You all arrive at the first tee and the starter tells everyone that he expects a four and a half hour pace of play. Everyone nods confidently as if a four and a half hour round is “no problem”.
Your group tees off excited for a fun day of golf without a second thought about the pace of play. Everyone starts out having fun but only two holes into the round the ranger shows up and looks concerned. It feels like you just got started and he is already asking you to “pick up the pace”. Next thing you know the rangers are asking your group to “pick up the pace” every hole. It seems like your group is moving OK but somehow you have been on the course for two hours and you’re only on the 7th tee box! Four and a half hours is starting to look more like a pipe dream than a reality.
The course is getting back up behind you and the rangers are getting more and more urgent with their requests. Next thing you know they want your entire group to pick up your balls and skip two holes in order to catch up with the group ahead of you! After your round, everyone in your group is frustrated because they felt rushed and nagged the whole round. You look at your watch in the parking lot and then realize it took your group almost six hours to play your round of golf.
I have seen this scenario happen to countless golf groups. They come out excited to play some good resort golf but don’t’ consider how important it is to keep up with the expected pace of play. They don’t think about pace of play until it’s too late.
If you know that your group is a little rusty or has some beginners, make sure you have a plan for keeping up with the pace of play. Book your tee times later in the morning so you’re not the first ones out. The first groups out have the pressure of setting the pace for the whole day. Establish games or rules that encourage your players to pick up after so many shots. Remind your group to always be aware of their pace and keeping up with the group directly ahead of them through their round. If you have a plan and your group is proactive about keeping a good pace of play, your group will have a much more enjoyable day of golf.