How Golf Course Accessories Speed Up The Pace of Play

For years, the chief complaint among many regular golfers has been the pace of play. Both the USGA and National Golf Foundation have found that new potential players have not tried golf because of the length of time required to play the game.

The typical round of golf in America lasts 4 hours and 17 minutes, according to Lucius Riccio, Ph.D., who has analyzed over 40,000 rounds of golf.[1] The study revealed that in over 10% of cases, this number extends to over 5 hours. Riccio also found the average length of play was higher in public courses, during the afternoon, and on weekends.

This problem has proven important enough for the USGA to create an annual Pace of Play symposium, where experts meet and determine ways to speed up the game.

In a recent survey of players by the National Golf Foundation and Golf Channel, over 90% said pace of play was their biggest factor in dissatisfaction, and over 50% have walked off the course at one time or another over slow play.[2] This year, the PGA also handed out their first slow play penalty in over 20 years to Rookie Brian Campbell and partner Miguel Angel Carballo.

It is clear golf has a problem, and industry leaders are doing everything they can to combat the issue.

“People don’t want to spend five hours doing something anymore,” Jack Nicklaus said. “So, you really need to play the game in three hours or less, and we’re not there. We need to have changes within the game of golf — not only for us and the (PGA) Tour.”[3]

With all of the sport’s stakeholders wanting more players, pace of play has been at the forefront of discussion. Signage and equipment directs and aids players; their absence unnecessarily extends games. With this in mind, here are 10 key ways the right golf course accessories facilitate quicker rounds of golf.

Top 10 ways accessories help to speed up the pace of play

1.     Ropes, Stakes, and Sprinkler Markers

Adequate roping and stakes are the easiest way to direct golf carts and insure carts stay on their paths. These strategies help reduce the wear on turf, which is beneficial for golfers and maintenance staff alike.

Marking sprinkler heads with yardage also helps golfers, especially course first-timers, avoid potential obstacles. If your course has cart paths and expects golfers to use them, mark them with cart path yardage markers coinciding with those on the fairways to speed up play.

2.     Adequate Numbers of Bunker Rakes Insure Usage and Speed of Play

Providing players with the necessary tools to clean up after themselves helps insure courses stay in good condition. Having these tools readily accessible ensures there is no time lost walking from bunker to bunker looking for a rake.

3.     Pin Placement Indicators Help Golfers Take Better Shots

Front, middle, and back pin placement indicators using red, white, and blue pin flags or pin sheets speed up play by reducing guess work. This leads to better quality shots, which reduces time spent looking for errant shots.

4.     Clocks to Keep Players Mindful of Tee Times

One of the best ways to ensure games move along at the proper clip is for players to start on time. Clocks placed on the driving range and near the clubhouse help players anticipate when they should head towards the first tee.

5.     Broken Tee Caddies Make Clean Up a Breeze

These caddies make it simple for golfers to clean up broken tees. Along with keeping the tee box clean, the real ROI is the decreased wear on the bed knives and reels of a course’s mower, and the reduction in man hours for maintenance staff.

6.     Fairway Yardage Markers Improve Speed of Play

Placing yardage markers along the fairway gives golfers a better indication of what club to use next. This helps reduce the number of guesses and consequent slow play that emerges from over-analysis or bad shots.

7.     Tee Box Markers Eliminate Confusion

Well-kept and bright tee markers direct golfers to the right area and make group play much more streamlined. Tee box signage with hole number helps to direct golfers to the next hole and speed up time from green to tee.

8.   Trash Receptacles Create a Better Field of Play

Trash receptacles should be properly placed to insure use. Too many are an eye sore. Too few or in wrong locations make for mess on the course. The proper number of trash receptacles also make it easier and quicker for a course to clean up.

9.    Hazard Stakes, Marking Paint and Putting Green Paint Eliminate Confusion

Ever hit your ball too close to a hazard? It can be frustrating if you do not see any markers to indicate out of bounds, lateral, or water hazard. A properly marked course with marking paint will allow a golfer to know exactly if they can re-hit from this area, or if they must go back to the location they hit the ball. In addition, when Superintendents mark the golf cup with marking paint, the cups are easier to see. A final target that is easier to see typically means better putting—which helps to increase the pace.

10.   Force Flex Yardage Marker Speeds Play

New in 2017 is our Force Flex Yardage Marker. Not only does this help to speed up play so golfers can see yardage at 200, 150 and 100 yards, but they also bend completely to the ground. This is great for the crew when mowing the rough or fairway as there is no need to stop and remove the markers.

These are just a few of the ways in which great golf accessories can help make the game more fun for players and more profitable for courses. If you are interested in learning more about how golf accessories can improve your course, view the Standard Golf Catalog.