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Idea - Guaranteed 4 hour Round or your money back.


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1 hour ago, Superbrit said:

And i hope the marshals resemble heavyweight boxers because the garbage they would get from groups would be unbelievable, a marshal going over to a group of 4 and saying sorry guys pick up your balls and move to the next Tee, yeah right

Unfortunately this is the reality in todays world. 

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Collect a $20 fast play premium up front and give it back if they make the 4 hour goal and don't hassle the rangers.

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I think it's pretty hard to control human behavior. The ratio of jerks seems to be climbing exponentially.

 

I don't see how an elapsed time of 3:59 or 4:02 can be differentiated with a carrot or a stick. Three minutes is waiting at a stoplight or two on the way home from the course.

 

There are still other unknowns. Do you have any groups with regular weekend morning tee times? Why not? These people are usually the fastest groups and you get them out early. This has been successfully done at some public golf courses since before most people here were born.

 

Trying to pin your image on an idea that may not work, why not start with something small? How about your marshals give out some poker chips with a smile as a reward to groups playing at a good pace? They can turn it in for a non-alcoholic drink with the cart (insert preferred pronoun) or after the round.

 

People respond better to positive reinforcement than someone telling them to hurry up. They'll just get defensive and say it's the groups in front holding them up. Then you'll get bad reviews online.

 

Binary solutions, all or nothing, take it or leave it, usually hurt more than help.

 

It costs nothing to have a pleasant clubhouse staff, starters, marshals, etc. who keep people moving along without punishment. I say spend the time worrying about the course conditions, have your marshals fix ball marks and fill divots and you'll make more money and have happier customers.

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19 minutes ago, Soloman1 said:

I think it's pretty hard to control human behavior. The ratio of jerks seems to be climbing exponentially.

 

I don't see how an elapsed time of 3:59 or 4:02 can be differentiated with a carrot or a stick. Three minutes is waiting at a stoplight or two on the way home from the course.

 

There are still other unknowns. Do you have any groups with regular weekend morning tee times? Why not? These people are usually the fastest groups and you get them out early. This has been successfully done at some public golf courses since before most people here were born.

 

Trying to pin your image on an idea that may not work, why not start with something small? How about your marshals give out some poker chips with a smile as a reward to groups playing at a good pace? They can turn it in for a non-alcoholic drink with the cart (insert preferred pronoun) or after the round.

 

People respond better to positive reinforcement than someone telling them to hurry up. They'll just get defensive and say it's the groups in front holding them up. Then you'll get bad reviews online.

 

Binary solutions, all or nothing, take it or leave it, usually hurt more than help.

 

It costs nothing to have a pleasant clubhouse staff, starters, marshals, etc. who keep people moving along without punishment. I say spend the time worrying about the course conditions, have your marshals fix ball marks and fill divots and you'll make more money and have happier customers.

 

It really is kind of a culture change to get a good pace of play.  The course I'm at now is a resort that also has a private membership.  One of our courses is really hard so we aim for 4:30 pace of play.  We have GPS in all the carts and the Pro Shop monitors them constantly.  They're really good about sending a message to a group if they are out of position and if they don't catch up someone from the shop will ride out and try to get them moving.  

 

I really think the best way is to just monitor the pace of play and be friendly about helping slow groups catch up. I think if you have a good ranger you can get it done.  Our guys will stay with the slow group to help them look for balls, rake bunkers and pull pins until they catch up and it seems to work out really well but our resort fee is pretty high so they're not necessarily dealing with typical daily fee golfers.

 

The public course I mention earlier that did the under 4 or it's free did it on Fridays and it bombed after a couple months.  They called it fast pace Fridays and it seemed like a good idea at the time but it just didn't work.

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57 minutes ago, Soloman1 said:

Trying to pin your image on an idea that may not work, why not start with something small? How about your marshals give out some poker chips with a smile as a reward to groups playing at a good pace? They can turn it in for a non-alcoholic drink with the cart (insert preferred pronoun) or after the round.

 

This idea is likely to work a thousand times better than what the OP is suggesting. If you penalize groups for slow play, it's going to get bad, and fast:

 

- if a group is honestly playing fast, but they get stuck behind a slow group that will not let them through, what are they expected to do? Someone is going to get angry, and tempers will probably flare. You already have people getting ticked off at slow play where these extra rules aren't in effect. You add this in and it's gonna amplify the tension a hundred fold. 

 

- if you and a buddy are paired with another twosome, and that twosome is inefficient and slow. Now you and your buddy are going to be penalized by association. Is that fair? How would you expect someone to marshal that?

 

- like someone said earlier, you better be ready to hire UFC fighters as your marshals, because they're going to catch a lot of crap from golfers if they have to tell them to pick up their ball and move to the next tee. "I paid for 18 holes!"

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This has the potential for cheap golfers to cheat you.  A better plan (that I have seen on a couple courses) is if you finish your round in under four hours (weekends only) you get a discount or other compensation.  No need for a weekend ranger - the golfers will be flying around the course.  Lots of gimmies on the back nine.   😄

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The posts that suggest rewarding fast play rather than providing refunds for slow play are spot on. The hot dog idea might work. But I think this could work better:

 

I don't know what kind of IT system you have, but if you have the ability to track "points" or "credits" by customer name, I'd suggest granting a point to each player who finishes in under four hours. When the customer accumulates four points they get a reward. Something like $X credit in the pro shot or toward their next round. That way you are incenting them to play fast and to play more often. The more fast rounds a customer plays the greater the credits they earn

Edited by sabram
to correct typo
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1 minute ago, Chilidog said:

What happens if it’s the group in front of them that is holding them up and they get angry about it and you end up having altercations on the course?

 

This is the problem with this sort of policy. The only way I see around it is to have extremely aggressive rangering to either speed up the offending slow group as soon as a gap opens, or kick them off the course entirely, early enough that the group stuck behind them can still finish within the time limit.

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Super easy to do this. 

 

Take a deposit of $50 per golfer. If you finish under 4 hours or 15min behind the group in front of you you get your deposit back. Use a punch a clock to run the program. 

 

Even better use the same system and charge a bit more for your green fee and give people a Gift Cert for $10 (or whatever) if they meet the pace number. 

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39 minutes ago, 2bGood said:

Super easy to do this. 

 

Take a deposit of $50 per golfer. If you finish under 4 hours or 15min behind the group in front of you you get your deposit back. Use a punch a clock to run the program. 

 

Even better use the same system and charge a bit more for your green fee and give people a Gift Cert for $10 (or whatever) if they meet the pace number. 

Are you willing to lose another $50 on a round of golf if the group in front of you holds you up all day?

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10 minutes ago, Chilidog said:

Are you willing to lose another $50 on a round of golf if the group in front of you holds you up all day?

No, but I would not lose $50 as I would finish within 15min of the group in front of me.

 

That is the key - I said you finish under 4 hours OR within 15min of the group in front of you. If the group in-front is slow, you should have no trouble finishing with 15min. If they are fast then you have to make sure you are under 4hrs. Either way you are in control wether you meet the pace requirement. 

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As other have covered, you're giving out free golf for slow play: Bad idea. 4:00 is not free but 4:01 is free? I can do that! 

 

Conversely, rewarding fast play can also be gamed. Skip 18, make it in time, free stuff, refund? Great.   How do you track "time", GPS carts? You'll need someone to man the helm to let marshals know. Punch card? Again, I can skip holes, or punch late on 1, etc... Many ways someone can take advantage of a system when "free/discounted" comes into play. Also, marshals, "oh, you guys are my pals, just tell them...." 

 

Bad idea all around. Best way to make a round quicker? Remove/reduce obstacles on the course. Balls in trees? Trim trees up, clean underneath (or if thick enough, mark as environmentally sensitive no play penalty area). Balls in fescue/brush? Can you trim it down? Nothing worse than "ball should be here" and it's sitting 1" down in heather/clover completely covered in greenery. Got water? Trim the fescue/grass short to the edge, make it clear the ball made it to the water. Nothing takes more time than "I could be here, and not in the water" as they search up and down 50yds swinging clubs back and forth in the crap "you playin' a XYZ???" 

Help them find the ball and play it and that's all on the course.

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It sounds like a great idea but there are courses already that I have played where rounds end up being 4 hours. There was no need by the golf course to punish themselves if it doesn’t happen. What I did remember at those course was a couple important things. First thing was at check in, it was already made known that the expectation is 4 hours for the round, there will be marshals on the golf course keeping the pace of play and slow playing groups will be warned once before they will have to pick up their ball and catch up to the group they are following. Second thing was having Marshals who actually did their job and didn’t just drive around not doing anything. There was a zero tolerance for slow play and rarely did I see it. I think slow play happens when golfers think they can play in 5 hours because that is how long they usually take. The course has to set the standard and expectations. 

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Slow play and public golf go hand in hand. This is why die-hards go off early on weekends so they don't get stuck playing a 5 - 6 hour rounds. It's part of the territory. Public golfers are like country club golfers, they paid their money and think they can do whatever the hell they want.

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I've been playing for 50 years, and I can't remember a time when people didn't complain about slow play. Some people are slow in everything they do, and they just are not going to be sped up. Putting gimmicks and heavy handed marshals in place will insure I would never come back to this course. Also, there have been many times I've been held up by marshals riding down the cart path when we have been ready to hit. 

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As a result of COVID, all of our courses have gone to 10 minute tee time intervals.  It seems to have made a pretty big impact on speed of play.  Perhaps an example of "low-impact" solutions.  A second COVID "change" is that two courses that historically have been on the slower side now require "pre-payment" of rounds.  In conjunction with the 10 minute tee times seems to have had an impact.  

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Nice idea. Way to much risk on your part. One medical emergency, one broken down cart or a thousand other reasons, etc. you are on the hook for every group after. 
 

I like the idea of encouraging by beer at the turn and post round, but…… now I see fights breaking out as the 8:43 group is pushing / hitting into and screaming at the 8:30 group cuz they want their free beer. I see your wait staff taking a beating as well. Everyone serving on course or at the turn, the marshals, etc cuz everything is going to be someone else’s fault.

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First thing that struck me is giving away a beer. No way I would do that. And I drink.

 

As for the giving refunds or discounts, I'm not sure this is needed. Why not just promote your course as a no-slow-play course. Then figure out ways to get that accomplished.

 

One thing being to encourage play from the more forward tees.

 

Is your course rough dense rough? It makes it hard to find errant shots if so. Clean it up and speed up play.

 

You could also have a starter who gives a little 20-second speech on tips to speed play.

 

What about... everyone who finishes their round in 3:45 or less gets free entry into a "thank you" outing/dinner at end of season. A "we did it" atmosphere, including the golfers in the success of the average round time being less than four hours.

 

Just riffing on some thoughts.

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I'd love to see this, but you're gonna get a lot of guys trying to hit over that 4 hour mark to get their free round.  On this site alone, full of avid golfers, we have guys who think a 4 hour round is blazing fast. 

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3 hours ago, playit said:

First thing that struck me is giving away a beer. No way I would do that. And I drink.

 

As for the giving refunds or discounts, I'm not sure this is needed. Why not just promote your course as a no-slow-play course. Then figure out ways to get that accomplished.

 

One thing being to encourage play from the more forward tees.

 

Is your course rough dense rough? It makes it hard to find errant shots if so. Clean it up and speed up play.

 

You could also have a starter who gives a little 20-second speech on tips to speed play.

 

What about... everyone who finishes their round in 3:45 or less gets free entry into a "thank you" outing/dinner at end of season. A "we did it" atmosphere, including the golfers in the success of the average round time being less than four hours.

 

Just riffing on some thoughts.

Another problem is that you can’t give away a free beer in NC unless you make it for everyone and put it as a special all day per ALE. You would have to make it a round of golf and a free beer special when they check in for the day and then pace of play has nothing to do with it. 

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