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A pay-by-the-hour greens fee is genius. And slightly diabolical

January 10, 2017
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A resort in Missouri believes it can mitigate slow play, one of golf's systematic, destructive issues. The answer is genius. And slightly diabolical.

The Lodge of Four Seasons, located in Lake Ozark, will feature dynamic pricing at its courses this season. Rather than a traditional flat green-fee rate, golfers instead will pay for the time spent on the course.

"This is definitely a first for The Lodge," said Matt Tausig, director of golf, to the Lake News Online. "I've worked in the golf industry for 25 years, and I've never seen another golf course offer this kind of pricing."

Resort guests and the general public will be charged $10 per hour. The hope is that golfers will be more inclined to speed up play to avoid a higher rate. Additionally, it will spare those who can only fit a few holes of play into their schedule from a full green fee.

"Meeting attendees can and have time constraints but would love the opportunity to play one, two or more holes of golf in one hour just to decompress," said Frederik Houben, director of sales. "This new hourly price structure fills that void during their limited downtime."

We think this is an innovative pitch. However, there is an upshot. Can you imagine a slow morning group wreaking havoc on an entire day's tee sheet? Not only would your round be miserable, but you'd have to pay extra for the experience. True, if pace is paralyzingly slow, you could always walk off. But for many with the golf bug, they're only walking off after the 18th hole.

Nevertheless, we applaud the Lodge resort for its novel -- and devious -- proposal.