Is Pace of Play Destroying Our Game?


What are we doing about the pace of play which is destroying our game? There is a focus on rules changes but this is not the answer. Carts have hurt the pace of play and have destroyed the caddie program which has been a very effective introduction to the game. Thoughts?

–Michael B, Sarasota


Yes, pace of play is one of the problems we face but it is not the only problem. I have been writing about solutions to the problems the game faces for over 10 years.

There is no question that the game needs to be revitalized and it will require the problems to be clearly defined and a multi-pronged solution developed rather than a piecemeal approach.

Carts have detrimentally affected the game by changing course design and, YES removed an effective avenue into the game via the caddie program. But this is hard to fight because of the revenue stream generated by carts. Let’s also recognize that carts have helped golfers who otherwise would not be able to play but in many cases are now over-used.

Michael, rules changes are necessary but we need to focus on simplicity, rather than perpetuating comprehensive complexity. Rules should be simple with the intent of the rules clearly stated wherever possible. Relying on the player’s interpretation of the intent of these rules – which worked for hundreds of years — would help get more golfers playing by the rules and possibly even speed up play.

More important, however, is to make the game less intimidating and focus on course design and setup to accomplish this. Most courses can be an appropriate challenge – which attracts us to the game — if we played from the appropriate tees. This should also help speed up play.

Michael, thanks for your concern which most of us share but let’s attack with adequate forethought and recognize what we are trying to protect and how we are going about it.

Please share your thoughts by replying below.



22 thoughts on “Is Pace of Play Destroying Our Game?

  1. 1) At my UK club we do not allow carts except for medical reasons – but more importantly:-
    2) I went to the Masters this year and on the 16th, I watched Jordan Spieth take 2 minutes to hit a six foot putt. Even worse – he missed! The pros have to take responsibility for their actions and the Rules people need to take proper proactive action to stop this nonsense.
    3) the Rules of Golf need to change to allow a partner or opponent to call a player for slow play if they take more than 40 seconds to hit a shot – once is a friendly warning – twice is a shot penalty or loss of hole. Currently there is no sanction in the rules unless there is a referee.

    • Historically, the USGA’s position has been that “lift-clean-and-place” violates rule 13-1, one of golf’s fundamental principals, and therefore shouldn’t be allowed. It wasn’t until 1960, having already allowed balls to be lifted as a result of the abolition of the stymie rule, that it incorporated a local rule to allow players to lift and clean their ball on the green, regardless of position…let’s go back and get rid of all of the cleaning/placing..’Play it as it lies’..and get on with the game.!!

  2. It is about time that across the spectrum of golf we woke up to the stereo types Regards which tee we play off, GENDER tees need to go!
    There needs to be an opportunity to choose which tee you play and use the slope rating to allocate shots, hence I applaud the move to a world wide handicapping system.
    At the resort type club it can be made clear that on certain days at specific times Play will be from tees x y z and handicaps abc must play from those tees. Allowing choice plays to ‘we must play off the back tips’ ego.
    Why put yourself through hell every time you play, my wife and I have pleasure of being members at a championship course and frequently play late so we can play the course shorter and quicker than the course we are dictated to in competition.
    I policy is never walk backwards.

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