A Friendly and Reasonable Pace of Play
With less time for leisure and more time at work, with friends, family, and other recreational activities, it is agreed that golfers should be more aware of a friendly and reasonable pace of play. Recent National Golf Foundation research indicates golf 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. The “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.
COMING UP WITH THE NUMBERS
Using GPS tracking (implemented in 2007), we use data from the 100,000+ rounds played during the summer season to determine how long it takes guests to play each hole. 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.
Managing Pace at Fossil Trace Golf Club
Once on the golf course, Fossil Trace Golf Club employs 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 most days May-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. The pace of play of 4 hours, 40 minutes is shared with each group as a reasonable expectation for all guests, regardless of skill level.
〉 Loses 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.
〉 Remains out of position after the first conversation.
This group has been given a reasonable opportunity to get back into position but still lags behind the group ahead of them. This conversation with the Player Assistant still lets 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).
〉 After two (2) conversations) remains out of position with the group directly in front of them.
This group has fallen farther 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-positioned. 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.
“The group behind us is not pushing us.”
Playing golf on a busy course is like 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.
- Avoid chatter and stay efficient on the greens. Clear it quickly when finished.
“I’m not a very good player/high handicapper.”
Score or handicap has less to do with pace of play than most think. Players aware of techniques used to help them maintain pace with the group in front of them often have a great pace, regardless of score.
- Watch your shot(s) as long as possible.
- Play the appropriate tees. Ask the Golf Shop staff to help you pick tees.
- Limit time searching for balls. Our 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.”
It is important to understand the ladder concept – if the group in front of you is slightly behind pace, every group behind them is now slower and expected 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.
- If waiting for a green to clear, let shorter hitters play first.
- 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.