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.
Did you know?
The faster the speed of the greens, the longer a round of golf is likely to take.
Top Tips - Course Set-Up
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.
Very few golfers would admit to being slow players but we can all do our bit to play a little bit faster. For example, use your time wisely so when it is your turn you are ready to play and consider shortening your pre-shot routine.
Good management practices can assist with pace of play and enhance the enjoyment of golfers. For example, do not overload the course by using short starting intervals and encourage players to play from tees that suit their ability.
When setting up the golf course, one of the most important things to do is to think about who is going to be playing the course, i.e. what is the level of ability for the majority of golfers playing the course.