The R&A - Working for Golf

Course Design & Set-Up

It can be difficult and expensive to address inherent pace of play problems caused by the course design once the course has been constructed so it is important to have pace of play in mind during the design phase. Who will be playing the course? How long do you really need the course to be? How difficult? Can long walks between greens and tees be prevented?

Course set-up (i.e. the way the course plays once it has been built) is also vitally important for pace of play.

Top Tips - Course Set-Up

General Considerations

When setting up the golf course, one of the most important things to do is to think about your “customers”, i.e. the golfers. What is their level of ability?

  • The average handicap for golfers in the UK is around 16 for men and 25 for women (the figures are slightly higher in other parts of the world).
  • The course should be set-up with the ability of the majority in mind.
  • The course can be set up to be more difficult for competitions involving elite golfers than it is for general play.

Fairways and Rough

  • Do not make fairways too narrow.
  • Deep rough means there will be lots of ball searches and lost balls.
  • Deep rough is a common cause of slow play and it spoils the enjoyment of the game.

Hole Locations and Green Speeds

  • Hole locations for daily play should not be too severe and the green speeds should not be too fast.
  • Difficult hole locations and fast greens add significantly to the time it takes to play and negatively impact on enjoyment of the game.
  • A speed of around 8-9 on the Stimpmeter is perfectly adequate for general play.
  • Review The R&A’s recommendations for establishing hole position in Guidance on Running a Competition.