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Implementing a Pace of Play Policy for Your League

The Problem

In a previous post (linked here), I talked about pace of play and some simple things you can do. In this post, I'll talk about a more detailed pace of play plan for your league which I personally implemented in my league.

We had a problem -- our league plays on a fairly difficult golf course. Pace was becoming a LARGE problem in my league. I had some players come to be privately and said that if something wasn't done, they wouldn't be returning to the league. This is something I definitely don't want to hear, and a solution had to be applied.

Our official posted course pace of play is 2:15, but we were entering the realm of 2:30, 2:40, and one time, 2:50. We also start our league at 5pm, and while daylight is abundant in the summers of Michigan (you can often play until 9pm), the last month of the league in August/Sept, the minutes of daylight are lessening quickly. The last couple of groups were always finishing in near dark conditions later in the season. We were having gaps between some groups -- large gaps -- 20-25 minutes. Completely unacceptable.

The Solution

So I set out to create an objective measure of pace of play which could be applied equally to all teams, and here's the basic rundown:

  • You have 2:20 from the starting time on your card, to when your scorecard had to be handed in to me (or photo taken and texted).
  • OR you had to be 15 or less minutes from the group in front of you
  • If you failed at both of these, you were deemed "out of position" and you were given a warning. BOTH teams were given this warning
  • If a team received a warning two weeks in a row, you were put at the end of the schedule the following week.

While 3 or 4 warnings were given out during the course of the season, we never had a team violate the policy two weeks in a row.

League Rules to Improve Pace of Play

There are some other league rules I have in effect which affect pace of play:

  • Max score on a hole is  Double Par +1. Once you reach "double par" on a hole, pick up, and add 1 to your score. The points fall where they fall.
  • We have a lot of hazards and forced carries off the tee. Besides the typical drop options, you have an additional option if you hit a ball into any hazard off the tee (and in fact, after ANY shot off the tee): You can take a penalty, and drop at the start of the fairway (on par 4s and 5s). You'd then be hitting your 3rd shot. On par 3s, you may take a penalty and drop anywhere on the forward most tee box, again hitting your 3rd shot.

Things to Consider

A couple of times during the season we had cart path only in effect due to rain, and during those rounds I eliminated the official pace of play rule, but still encouraged everybody to keep it moving. Cart path only has a HUGE effect on pace. I personally avoid courses which are routinely wet and seem to always have cart path only in effect. Also, some courses are better "cart" courses than others. One top course in my area is terrible to play when cart path only is in effect, as the paths are quite a distance from your playing area. 

Setting up Pace of Play in Golf League Tracker

Golf League Tracker helps in the pace of play by allowing you to set a pace of play time for your league in your league settings, and when doing so, the expected "end time" will be printed on your scorecard. Setting #237, "Pace of Play Time". Enter the number of minutes which is your accepted pace of play. In my case, 2:20 is 140 minutes.