Speeding up Pace of Play with Time-Based Greens Fees
I recently published a story, In Search of Answers to Pace of Play, that has received significant feedback from avid golfers in the Golf WRX community. The article examines various pace of play campaigns such as the USGA's #WhileWereYoung and the AJGA's card-based policy. My goal in writing the piece was to spur a conversation on how we can speed up pace of play.
While I received a handful of emails about the article, one stuck out in particular which offered a twist on the standard greens fee that might help pick up the pace #WhileWereYoung and motivate people to play #ReadyGolf. Below is what he wrote:
I can offer a solution, that while not universal, would greatly enhance pace of play for recreational golf and I think could go a long way in addressing participation. It is simply this: Change the structure of greens fees. Imagine, for the sake of argument and simple math, that your course charges $100/round of 18 and that it generally took 5 hours to play. You are de facto paying $20/hour to play golf.
#ReadyGolf: NCCGA's New Pace of Play Policy
Now, take the same course and instead of greens fees, you charge me $20/hour to play. I get to the starters shack for my tee time, punch the clock and off I go. Now that I'm "on the clock" I am going to be aware of dawdling in my group. "Hey Joe, pick a club and hit it! At this pace you are going to owe the first round at the 19th!" "Bob, stop looking for balls in the weeds. We can buy you a box of Pro V's with the time you're wasting."
Second, now there is no penalty to play 4, 6 or 12 holes. Prior you were charging me for 9 or 18, but this way I can play for an hour and a half or for three hours and quit when I'm done. Have time for 2 hours of golf? Play two hours instead of getting ticked that you are only through 8 holes. Now you don't worry about being late getting home from the course because it took you too long to play 9. Or worse yet for the industry, don't go because of time constraints.
I understand that there are logistical issues, but none are too difficult. Many, many courses have an outer loop for carts and a 90 degree rule. You don't need to drive through fairways to get back. Walker? Have a couple cruising valet carts. The beverages sold on these alone would pay the cost.
And finally think about how it would stop the traffic jam. The way it works today you are paced by the starter and play smoothly until invariably the course bunches up and delays set in. Now, as players opt-out after X number of holes you have a natural clearing of the damming effect.
What do you think about this idea? Send an email to Mike@nextgengolf.org if you'd like to share your #ReadyGolf idea or better yet, tweet it @NCCGA
**Mike Belkin is a Co-Founder of Nextgengolf and NCCGA Director of College Golfer Happiness
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