Slow Play numbers


    Randy - As I was reading your response, I started to think, you can't penalize players if they show up to a timing spot late because of another player.  Then I thought more about it, and that might be the best idea.  Peer pressure might be quickest way to get players to play faster.  No one wants to face a fellow player in the locker room if your slow play just cost them some money.

    That is the problem now.  The tour is hoping the players work it out among themselves and take the corrective measures on the course and speed up play and it is not solving the problem.  Peer pressure is not the answer.  Taking away points, money or setting out a tournament just might be the answer.  It all starts at  junior level and continues through college and then into the pros.  I play in interclub league and it normally takes 5 and one-half hours and we complain to the committee and have even come up with solutions but they refuse to act.  Actions by the committees that rule is the answer.  


    Zach Johnson was interviewed after the Valero Open --

    He had some interesting viewpoints that were not limited to just speeding up the slow players.

    I'm glad that times are being published, even if informally.  Loupe was painful to watch.


    So this is a lively and interesting topic. Appreciate all the dialog. One thing I see is very common; EVEYONE complains, yet no one does anything about it, with the caveat that it's someone else's responsibility.

    Happens at my course all the time. One group gets slow and the whole course goes into gridlock. Marshall takes the 5th, while the course has people walking off in disgust. All levels of golf have it happen, and as evidenced here, people talk about 6-7 hour rounds without any repercussions.

    Well here's the deal. This is a professional sport with a governing body. Said governing body needs to step in and grow a pair and simply state, here are the rules on this course and here are the times allotted to complete each hole. Only exception is if there is a ruling that takes time (which happens), and then the timing adjusts per hole through the field.

    Heck, racing has timing loops with electronics set up all over the place. The PGA has all manner of electronics on course to chart the drivel that's put up on their web site so people can track driving distance and all the other stats that people obsess over. Well here's a new one; time to play a hole! Add that one in and start publishing how long it takes to play a hole for each round. I bet you that as more and more becomes know and we separate fact from fiction, it will become very obvious who the offenders really are. And then there will be an actual chance to address this.

    Look, this is not an easy deal. But it has to start someplace. And people need to not only accept responsibility, but also be willing to dole out the punishment for the crimes.


    Randy, that is a terrific suggestion that I have difficulty seeing the PGA Tour implementing.  Perhaps the USGA could set something like this up for its competitions.  If amateurs playing for big national titles can play at a decent pace, then perhaps the colleges can, too.  If nothing else, this would be a great way to gather data for a detailed study of time and golf.  Do I hear a PhD dissertation topic?


    First, the PGA Tour, European Tour, USGA, and R & A must get together on a unified solution.  If they aren't all in together, it'll be a mess.

    I think a solution would be, number 1, start publishing numbers.  But not until a certain number of rounds have been timed.  There will always be outliers and they need to be weeded out.  And I would do it like strokes-gained putting.  I'd have an average time for the course and who was faster and who was slower.  I would do this for both full round times and per shot times for showing how long it takes you to hit a shot once it's "your turn."  This should help weed out the players with higher per round numbers simply because they play in the last few groups each week.

    After that is started, I would strictly enforce penalties.  But the penalty structure needs to change.  If you fall behind because a playing partner needed a ruling and then you lost a ball (spending five minutes looking only to have to go back to the tee), that shouldn't be penalized.  If rulings are taking too long, add rules officials.  If it takes too long to look for a ball, shorten it from 5 minutes to 2.  But you shouldn't be penalized or put on the clock for following the rules and protocols.  And your playing partner shouldn't be on the clock because you needed a ruling.

    I think if the public knew exactly who was fast and slow and what the differences are, that would help a lot.  They say Furyk is slower, but how much slower?  Is he 1 minute a hole slower or 5 minutes a hole slower?  If the fastest and slowest players are only 5 minutes/round apart, then the problem isn't the players.


    I was watching golf central and they were talking about how on the European tour (I believe it was) you don't get warnings, you just get docked.  

    Imagine if the PGA tour didn't tell you that you were on the clock and you get to the trailer to sign your card and they tell you that you need to add two strokes because you were out of position for a few holes.  I bet you that the pros would complain, but very quickly modify their routines.  The current money penalty isn't a big deal to them, but if they start missing cuts, or losing out on significant pay days it would really start to matter.

    This would only work if you had folks out there monitoring every hole so that you could assign penalties appropriately per person and not per group.


    Oh, and I forgot to mention.  Apparently Furyk is one of the slower players out there, you'd just never know it by watching them on TV.  The producers know his routine and know when to cut away so we don't see it nearly as often on TV.