Now we all know how frustrating a slow round of golf can be and are always ready to blame players or a group in front of us, but player behaviour may not always be the reason for Slow Play.
The R&A and USGA are championing the use of Ready Golf in order to deter Slow Play and many Golf Clubs are following their recommendation in the misguided belief that it will encourage golfers to play more frequently, attract more individuals to play golf and overnight turn round their falling revenues.
I do not see how the R&A and USGA can promote this action when their own findings from their Pace of Play Global Survey (2015) clearly demonstrated that Player behaviour did not play a major part in increasing the time to play a round of golf.
Their Global Survey clearly showed:
- That less than 18% of golfers said Slow Play prevented them from playing more frequently
- Over 75% of golfers said they had no issues with Slow Play and did not feel it affected their membership or impacted greatly on the Pace of Play
Meaning that Player Behaviour was not a major factor in increasing the Pace of Play of a round of golf.
What the R&A and USGA did find from their Global Survey, and I do not know why they are not asking Clubs to put these issues to the top of a Pace of Play agenda was that the three major factors affecting Pace of Play were:
Many policies that Golf Clubs have already in place create a slow pace of play even before a golfer has teed up his/her ball on the first tee.
Surely Clubs must be encouraged to address these issues if they want to thrive and improve revenues, rather than covering them up by blaming player behaviour for the problem – which Ready Golf only emphasises.
Ready Golf as it is being introduced at the moment, like the previous ‘keep up with the group in front’, will not work alone.
To have any effect it will require marshalling, which is expensive both in time and manpower and the need to have a strict pace of Play Policy in place so that players, both members and visitors, know what is expected of them out on the course or in a competition.
Enjoy your golf!