American Society of Golf Course Architects: Golf carts are the main cause of slow play
I began to comment on Kiel Christianson’s blog post, “American Society of Golf Course Architects makes design recommendations to speed play“.
Then I realized I was about 400 words into my rant (probably because this Saturday at Tidewater we teed off a half hour late, played in over five hours and barely made it in before dark) and figured I may as well post a more thorough response.
This is a critical issue, because if golf is going to stay healthy, its time frame needs to adapt to our busier schedules.
There are numerous causes for slow play. The biggest, bar none, is the golf cart.
The problem is many golfers don’t know how to effectively use golf carts. When player A gets to their ball, Player B should grab a few clubs and walk to theirs. Don’t just sit in the cart until player A hits - unless he duffed it and you’re 200 yards ahead.
Also, from 100 yards in, just grab two wedges, your putter and hoof it in while the other player who is on the green pulls the cart around. It shouldn’t matter who the driver is.
I also can’t stand when I see carts weaving between sides of a hole. Park your cart smack dab in the middle and you can both walk to your ball from there.
The problem is that most weekend golfers don’t play enough to really learn how to be efficient with their golf cart. There is also the perception that if you paid for a golf cart in your greens fee, you shouldn’t have to do ANY walking.
My dream for American golf is that we scrap golf carts all together (the exception being golfers with physical handicaps), and instead use those remote controlled power pull carts instead. It would dramatically speed up play and us gluttonous, lazy Yankees will all shed a few pounds too. Walking 18 holes burns over 1000 more calories than riding.
It would also take off $20-40 in your greens fee that already includes the cost of your golf cart. Remove the golf cart and suddenly golf takes less time, it’s cheaper and you get a better workout. Problem solved.
The secondary cause for slow play is the courses where each hole is lined with forest or marsh on each side of the fairway, so each hole has at least one person of your foursome looking for a ball in the woods. I love, LOVE the classic courses where holes are divided by one little line of trees where it’s easy to find your ball under them - or you can play back to your hole from another fairway. King’s North in Myrtle Beach comes to mind first. It’s hard to lose balls there unless you see a splash. Most classic Donald Ross-designed courses are like this too and I usually enjoy them.
I understand that golf courses are now almost solely built with real estate components these days so it’s less of a possibility for architects to route a course in this manner. But I would hope it’s taken into consideration if at all possible.
I semi-agree with the ASGCA’s call for more yardage markers. What would be even better however, is scrapping the expectation that courses must have numerous yardage markers. Play courses in the British Isles, and many of them simply have a little birdhouse in the rough from 150 yards in, and you’ve got to use your eyeballs to accurately judge it. I like that a lot. Your depth perception becomes another skill - then people will also stop using the excuse “I don’t think that was really 168…” when they airmail the green.
I’d also like to see starters stop giving ten minute course introductions at the first tee and spend more time policing the course, threatening slow groups with a can of bear mace.
When B Tuck G.C. opens in about 20 years we’ll all see how right my strategy is.
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pics for a review (and still feel guilty).
And I agree about the yardage marker: Doesn't have to be a lot of them, but a clearly visible vertical marker would be a big help.
Wish I could say I walked a lot, but usually I only do when I'm overseas.
The last time I walked a golf course in the southeast (Hilton Head), I stumbled upon the biggest alligator I've ever seen and nearly soiled myself.
The reason your round started late and took over 5 hours was the fault of the course management team, not people using carts.
The guys runnung the course need to learn how to establish and control the flow of play on their course. If they do, you'll be surprised how quickly and how far the round times will drop and how they will never fall behind on the starting times they contracted with you to provide.
ineptitude. I have a nickame that I stole from Stephen
Colbert for what seems like 75% of the people on the course
We call em clock gobblers.
Poster Bill Yates hit it on the green in one - it's COURSE MANAGEMENT that's at fault. Courses need to set expectations - if they are going to condone longer time rounds then they need to sell less tee times. Then everyone can take their time, enjoy the scenery, and play at Steve Strickland's pace.
Well, then there's the yutz who takes 5 minutes to 'line up his shot' and then takes a half-dozen 'practice swings' - all to move his ball a total of 40 yards in the fairway...IF he did that well! We NEED golf carts....to RUN OVER idiots like THAT! ;)