Last week we talked about ways golfers can help control the Pace of Play within their group. Now technology is helping with monitoring Pace of Play on the golf course.
The USGA is currently testing a new Flagstick Monitoring Tool equipped with technology that is designed to help with Pace of Play. Once the flagstick is pulled from the hole and returned, the timing information or “cycle time” (the interval between groups) is captured. As groups play each hole, the cycle time between groups is easily monitored by the golf club staff to manage Pace of Play for the day. Any change in cycle time shows which groups are not playing within the allowed time and can be addressed by staff before creating a substantial backup on the course.
Other ways you as a golfer in your group can help ensure a smooth Pace of Play includes being prepared. Think ahead and get the yardage within 5-10 yards while others are playing their shots. Bring other clubs with you – including your putter – so you are ready for your next shot. If you are walking, leave your bag on the side of the green closest to the next teeing area.
Having a good understanding of how to play your short game will help save shots as well as time on the course. Focus on your short game when practicing as we know the goal of finishing the hole with fewer shots will improve one’s score as well as time on the course. Some short game tips include:
1. Putt whenever possible since it’s best to keep the ball on the ground.
2. Get comfortable executing a chip shot – one that has some loft and will run up to the hole or intended target.
3. Finally, hit the pitch shot – a higher lofted shot as your third option around the green when putting or hitting a chip shot aren’t possible.
A final way to help your group with Pace of Play includes practicing and timing your pre-shot routine. It should take less than 20 seconds from start to finish. Begin by selecting your club, take one practice swing, picture the shot in your mind then commit and hit the shot. There is no need for multiple practice swings or to stand over the ball too long before starting your shot. Remember your action between your shots help improve the overall Pace of Play as well – so do your part to keep your group moving along and enjoying your day.