In Colorado, I will play about 10 times per year at the Troon Managed, Weiskopf/Morrish Course: The Ridge at Castle Pines. I live very close to the golf course.
The pace of play this year, even with an 8:00 a.m. tee time has been over 5 hours. On August 27, with a 10:30 tee time, it took 5 hours and 30 minutes to play.
The picture below is the backup on the 10th tee:
Management is placing the responsibility for the slow play on golfers in their 20s and 30s who are not schooled in the traditions of the game, are not accomplished golfers and who view golf as an outdoor recreational opportunity to drink with their friends.
While everyone in the golf industry is thrilled about the surge in rounds, up 13 percent since 1999, the question becomes how we make everyone cognizant that a four-hour round is a standard to which everyone should adhere to?
Do you think Troon Golf is at fault for not being more aggressive in communicating that standard and removing players from the course who do not comply? Or, are the golfers to blame for not being cognizant of their pace on this difficult golf course?
Please comment your thoughts on this dilemma. Thank you.
Recently has the pleasure of playing the Kidd course at Kanaskis Golf here in Alberta. It’s a 36 hole public play faculty located in the frontal range about 1 hour west of Calgary. Spectacular golf in a spectacular setting. They have worked hard to make four hour golf a priority there and to that end have numerous course Marshall’s continually circulating the course and very politely reminding people of pace of play and what the individual groups position is in relation to that. At first it seems a bit annoying but after a short while you realize that it really works as the pace is indeed maintained. Suggest you contact the GM there for more information on the details of the program. It works and ultimately makes for a very enjoyable round on a very busy. course. I would suggest that if other facilities made the commitment Kananaskis Golf does to pace of play the game would be more enjoyable for all.
It is the responsibility of the course to keep people moving by having a ranger on the course but there is also personal responsibility of the golfer because they have to keep it moving. The course should have a sign on the first tee about pace of play. You must keep up with the group in front of you. Five and a half hour rounds forces people to look to play elsewhere. I do not mind people having fun but if you are there to only drink beers and goof around, please do that in the bar and remain there for your round.
Slow play on the golf course is usually blamed on the clueless golfer ahead of us. That may in fact be true. However, slow play can be the result of many things besides clueless golfers. Things to consider include, course design, is the course more difficult than it needs to be? Are greens unnecessarily fast for slope and conditions? Course set-up, tee marker placement, hole locations, ball washer and trash dispenser locations impact pace of play. Beverage cart policies, how fast are transactions, when and where is the beverage cart? Are course staff out helping golfers maintain pace of play, providing helpful tips on faster play? Golfers need to be educated on which tee locations to use. If a golfer seldom reaches the green on a par 4 in two, they need to move to a tee that helps them play faster and have more fun. I am sure there is more, but for now, “this is the end of the story.”
While the rounds and revenue are way up for most, you are spot on, this is a dilemma. This new customer has no real interest in much structure, rules or expectations of others at a golf course. Here are a couple quick traits many probably can relate to: Late for the tee time, (like the 3rd inning of a ball game) needing a small bucket (goes in golf bag), needs time adjusting the big speaker on the frame of the golf cart.
They deserve the best customer service you can provide, but just don’t try to tell them it’s time to go get started, keep the cart at 90 degrees, no driving through bunkers or let others play through. That will get you an immediate negative review on the web. Mostly we are talking about “non mentored” players, never had any guidance or coaching. Right to the golf course and tee it up. While course operators and staffs must make every effort to inform the new customer, this person also has some responsibility to
comply and listen to requests made by staff and management. “Yes, you paid your fee, and we appreciate it very much., but there are rules and you can’t upset other customers wanting to have a good time.”
Usually if a customer doesn’t comply with management policies, requests, etc. at any entertainment venue, the outcome is not positive. So, a blend of both is needed. Hopefully this new wave will learn and hang around a while and mentor other newbies themselves.