The Loop

Knuth on Slow Play

November 29, 2007

While we're on the subject of slow play, we retrieved a 1994 piece Dean Knuth did for us that's the best yet at explaining the problem and offering solutions...for recreational golf anyway. For starters, Knuth's research revealed that while 58 per cent of us rate our own play fast and only 5 per cent of us think we're slow, we believe 56 per cent of other players are slow and only 2 per cent fast. Hmmmm. Thomas Hamlett suggested here that tees be restricted by handicap. Knuth offered another solution:

The biggest problem in course management is overloading the course. This happens when tee-time intervals are less than 10 minutes apart. A course using six-minute intervals is guaranteed to get more goand guaranteed to create more angry golfers. Overloading causes backups on the first par 3 or a short par 5, where better golfers wait for the green to clear before they hit their second shots. The biggest problem with overloading a course is the psychological aspect to slow play. If golfers get held up fairly early, they lose their expectation for fast play and will play deliberately. The difference is an hour or more in total time of play.

Worth a read.

--Bob Carney