We have been plagued by how much time it takes to play a round of golf and this very issue has had the greatest influence over the decrease in participation over the last decade or more. (see Growing the Game report)
There have been hundreds of suggested fixes regarding how to resolve the Pace of Play problem (see our recent article Slow Play: Causes and Fixes) including trying to find a solution through mathematical models, but in most cases, these are only short-term fixes.
It is a fact that asking golfers to leave the course when they are playing slowly is unpopular for the slow-playing golfers and the operators of golf facilities are not willing to do this because they don’t want to lose the income or potentially lose these golfers as customers.
However, it has been proven that by ejecting golfers from the course who continue to play slowly and reimbursing their green fees has had beneficial results in the increased income derived from those who want to play faster and are attracted to the course known to be a fast play course.
Fast cart golf play, no (or only one) practice stroke, ready golf, putt it out, and hundreds of others are very helpful suggestions which should be part of an education program, that will soon become the norm and easy to promote, especially to those who have only one choice i.e. play faster or don’t play.
A suggestion to encourage nine-hole golf, in the same breath as encouraging fast play, is equivalent to suggesting that we can save money on shoes if we cut off one leg OR we can halve our commute time if we moved closer to our work place. If we only walk half the distance at the same or slower pace we have not solved the problem, only shortened it. The frustrations still exist but for a shorter time.
I think nine-hole golf is a wonderful idea but in and of itself does nothing to speed up play.
Let’s find out WHY the slow car is driving slowly and side line it until the driver finds a way to speed up his/her driving using some side roads or better designed layouts appropriate for their skills.
Read my book “Just Hit It” for an in depth look at why we play this silly (but wonderful) game.
Share your thoughts regarding nine-hole golf by replying below.