The USGA is making their stand with their “while we are young campaign”, the PGA Tour is pretending they care, and although slow play is not as rampant as it once was when golf was healthier, it still can be an issue from time to time. Analytics is a popular word these days, what about the analytics of slow play?
While watching football last winter and hearing all the concussion discussion, an argument arose about player’s playing overtime and how that was just another quarter to get a concussion, so therefore overtime is dangerous. Then a pundit made a valid point. He said, it’s possible that in some games, teams are running more plays in a four quarter game, than they are in a four quarter game plus overtime. Since you can only get a concussion during a play, how can you argue overtime is dangerous? Plays are dangerous; not overtime…right?
Golf’s Analytics of Slow Play
I took that theory and applied it to golf, maybe slow play is looking at the wrong determinant. We think people are slow, but maybe it’s the course that makes it slower. How can you play two different courses in the same 4 hour predicted time span? One might have faster greens than the other, causing more putts. Another might have longer walks from green to the next tee than the other. One might create more lost ball scenarios, etc. One might space out their tee times differently.
Next time you arbitrary deem a round “slow”, maybe consider the way the course plays. Each course should set their own pace, much like they set par. If every course in the U.S. was pace calibrated, maybe the perception of slow play would be just that. RSPGL has taken a serious look at our “factors” and we have set our rounds at 4 hours and 18 minutes. You might think that is slow, but analytics say it’s just right.
I never complain about a 4 hr 18 minute round. But I have had too many 5 hour rounds. RSP has them frequently on weekend afternoons.
Now that the world offers no recreation except golf, it doesn’t take much of an imagination to see that not everyone playing… is a “golfer”. Now that we are in extraordinary times, it’s kind of hard to hold courses to ordinary expectations. We will adapt, it just takes a bit of time…