The Loop

Slow Play Revisited

April 30, 2007

These greens are so fast I have to hold my putter over the ball and hit it with the shadow. Sam Snead

After the discussion of slow play here a few days ago—it is a topic that frequently ignites our readers—I came across this data from a poll we did of superintendents a few years back. "What factors contribute to slow play?" we asked the supers. Their responses:

__Increased course traffic 33%

High rough, fast greens 26%

Decline in etiquette 23%

Reduction of monitoring

by course personnel 11%

Cell phone usage 3%

Increased tree growth 2%__

And, we asked further, what course grooming techniques had they used to successfully reduce slow play? (The supers were to choose one):

__Shortening of rough 46%

Widening of fairways 25%

Slowing of greens 14%

Faster/firmer fairways 7%

Shorter tees 5%__

Then, about a year ago, we did a survey of average golfers on what they wanted most in a golf course. Essentially, the response was: Give us a course that is not difficult but well manicured.

Developers, with our ratings and rankings encouraging them, I'm afraid, have been driven to build what they call "country clubs for a day". Judging by these studies, what we really need are munies for a week, well-conditioned courses that you can afford to play more than once a week—afford in terms of money, ego, and, yes, time.

—Bob Carney