A FRIENDLY AND REASONABLE PACE OF PLAY
With less time for leisure and an emphasis on spending time at work, with friends, family and taking part in other recreational activities; there is an overall sense within the golf community that golfers should be more aware of the importance of pace of play and how best to maintain a friendly and reasonable pace of play. Recent National Golf Foundation research indicates pace of play is one of the greatest concerns of golfers in the United States. Our goal is to share how we manage pace of play at Fossil Trace Golf Club.
Fossil Trace Starters share with each group that the appropriate pace for the golf course is 4 hours, 30 minutes, “maximum allowable pace” for the golf course is 2 hours, 15 minutes on the front and 2 hours, 17 minutes on the back with 8 minutes allotted at the turn for a total of 4 hours, 40 minutes. 10 minute tee-time intervals allow us to manage pace of play appropriately and keep pace under 4 hours, 40 minutes and wait times to a minimum.
Where did these numbers come from?
With use of the GPS system that was implemented in 2007, we take data from the 100,000+ rounds played during the summer season to determine how long it will actually take guests to play each hole and set our pace accordingly. The golf staff combines this data with other factors like course setup, beverage carts, distances from tee-to-green, signage, etc. to create a better pace, fewer waits and a better golf course “flow.”
We have implemented a proven pace of play strategy that has been recognized by the USGA. A 4 hour, 30 minute round with good flow, great conditions and breathtaking surroundings, all encompassing, CREATES the most memorable golf experience for all golfers on the course.
Once on the golf course, Fossil Trace Golf Club employs the most friendly, experienced and well-trained Player Assistants. These PAs are on the course to ensure that each and every guest has a memorable golf experience – not to simply monitor pace of play. “Marshals” or “Rangers” they are not!
These individuals are on the course from 6:30am until dark on most days from May thru October. They have “experienced” golf balls for guest use, root beer barrels, extra scorecards, band-aids, pencils, etc. They also act as forecaddies and on many occasions locate golf balls and return lost clubs to players.
HOW PACE IS MANAGED BY FOSSIL TRACE GOLF CLUB
From the time our guests first meet with our Starter, the pace of play of 4 hours, 30 minutes is shared with each group as a reasonable expectation for all guests, regardless of skill level.
〉 Should a group lose position for the first time.
The Player Assistant on duty will have a polite conversation with a group to inform them that they’re out of position. This is a friendly chat, allowing the group the opportunity to get back into position within a reasonable amount of time.
〉 Should a group remain out of position after the first conversation.
This group has been given a reasonable opportunity to get back into position, but is still lagging behind the group ahead of them. This conversation with the Player Assitant still allows the group to catch up on their own, but this is the final warning before the group may be re-positioned (skipping a hole or more).
〉 Should a group after (2) conversations remain out of position with the group directly in front of them.
This group has fallen further behind, causing a pace of play “backup.” The 3rd conversation may involve the Golf Shop Staff – the result is to either re-position the group back into a proper pace position or offer rain checks. In this case, the groups directly behind are made aware that a group that has been re-positioneed. On most occasions these groups are appreciative and able to continue playing at a friendly and reasonable pace. The 3rd conversation is one that is no staff member or guests prefers, but the opportunity to make up ground had been extended on (2) previous occasions.
A PACE OF PLAY SUMMARY at FOSSIL TRACE
- Have reasonable pace of play expectations – 4 hours, 40 minutes or less.
- Expect to play with groups directly in front of and behind you as the golf course will be busy on most days.
- The ability to simply “zip” around in 3 hours is rarely available.
- Play the appropriate tees – don’t simply go by yardage. Ask the Golf Staff for recommendations or see the Fossil Trace scorecard.
- Drop your partner off with a couple of clubs and proceed to your ball. Hit when ready.
- Play from the teeing ground should be faster than any other position.
- If waiting for green to clear on Par 4 or 5, allow shorter hitters to play first.
- If players in your group are playing from different tees, drop off a player or players and proceed to your tee and be ready to play.
“The group behind us is not pushing us.”
Playing golf, especially on a busy course is a one lane road, or a climb up a ladder. You can only travel as fast as the person or car ahead of you.
- MAINTAIN PACE WITH THE GROUP DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF YOU.
- NO NONSENSE ON THE GREENS.
“I’m not a very good player/high handicapper.”
Score or handicap has less to do with pace of play than most think. Players and groups who are aware of pace of play and the techniques used to allow them to maintain pace with the group in front of them, often have a great pace, regardless of score.
- WATCH YOUR SHOT(S).
- PLAY THE APPROPRIATE TEES.
- LIMIT TIME SEARCHING FOR GOLF BALLS.
Fossil Trace Player Assistants “recycle” lost balls, making them available to players as they travel the course. If you’ve lost one or two, chat with a PA and grab a couple.
“We’re only a few minutes behind.”
Groups that are behind are behind “maximum allowable pace.” It is important to understand the ladder concept – if the group in front of you is slightly behind pace, each and every group behind them is now slower and expected and pace of play nears 5 hours quicker than you think. Each group is responsible and in control of their pace, and groups that fall behind will have a chat with our courteous Player Assistants.
- PREPARE TO HIT WHILE OTHERS ARE HITTING.
- DROP OFF YOUR PARTNER WITH 2-3 CLUBS BEFORE HEADING TO YOUR BALL.
- PLAY FROM THE TEE SHOULD BE FASTER THAN ANY OTHER POSITION.
“We’ve paid our money and will play however we want.”
Yes, we do receive this statement from guests. ALL of our guests have paid for a memorable golf experience and deserve the opportunity to play in a reasonable amount of time.