Following the lifting of pandemic restrictions, beginning with the Two-Day Jackson Classic in June, JPMGC Pace of Play rules were phased back into effect for weekend events. Consequently, we began accumulating pace of play data – so far five rounds have been recorded. (For reference, see our rules in the JPMGC member handbook, page 9.)
Purpose and benefits of Pace of Play rules and data.
- Conform to the rules of golf, see rule 5.6b – Prompt Pace of Play.
- Speed up play for all members – no more five plus hour rounds.
- Reduce impact on the golfing public playing after our tournaments.
- Provide feedback and visibility – the focus of this email.
Reid Swick and I have created this Pace of Play spreadsheet Click Here with data from the five rounds. (The spreadsheet works on a PC, may not may not be viewable as a continuous spreadsheet on a smartphone.)
The spreadsheet has columns for each event and these player totals on the right:
- Count – number of rounds played.
- Avg tee time – showing whether a player tends to play early or late.
- Median round – median duration of the rounds played.
- Average gap – how long the player finishes behind the group ahead.
- Total delay minutes – accumulated minutes greater/lesser than the 10-minute starting interval. This can be positive or negative.
- Following players delayed – see more detailed explanation below. Briefly:
o Only gaps greater than 10 minutes are used.
o Delay minutes are multiplied by the number of following players divided by the number of players in the player’s group.
o First groups have no gap, so their average gap from other rounds is used.
o Early players can accrue large following player delay times.
- Ever penalized? – whether a player has received a pace of play penalty in any of the 5 rounds.
The spreadsheet is filtered to only show players who have played in at least one of the 5 rounds.
Sorted in descending order of “following player delay”.
Click on the down arrows to filter or sort by a given field.
There are some hidden columns used in calculations.
The 6 fastest players – the players who give the most minutes back to the field by keeping up are: Mel Wattula, Doug Jones, Reed Johnson, Mark Persinger, and Jack and Hans Robel.
Please review the spreadsheet to see how you and other members are doing.
We were amazed to see how much slow play near the beginning of a tournament slows pace of play for the whole event. Any following gap greater than the 10-minute starting interval adds that delay to every player for the rest of the day. The spreadsheet highlights this as “following players delayed” for each player – calculated as the amount of time a player and his group are over the 10-minute gap multiplied by the total number of following players, divided by the number of players in the group. This metric is shown for each round, with a total at the far right of the spreadsheet. It can be a large number. The total player hours delayed for all five rounds and players was 115 hours(!).
Early players have an added responsibility to play quickly. As mentioned, a slight delay by an earlier group has a great delaying effect on the whole field. At the same time, early slower players have been immune to penalties either because they have the first tee time so there is no recorded gap, or they have a large gap, but they are under the 4:30 total time limit. Ironically, by having a large gap, they bring everyone after them closer to the 4:30 maximum round time, and more in danger of receiving a penalty.
Pace of play is improving: Median round times in chronological order – 4:47, 4:31, 4:40, 4:13, 4:16
Notes on penalties:
- Penalties are incurred when the round time is greater than 4:30 and the gap is greater than 15 minutes. (See our rules link above.)
- No penalties were assessed for the first two rounds after Pace of Play rules were put into effect during the Jackson Classic.
- Subsequently, penalties were rare: 8 rounds were penalized out of 309 total rounds played (including the Classic)!
- The first group is never subject to penalties because no following gap is recorded.
- The starter punches scorecards after all the players hit on #1. In effect, that adds a couple of minutes to the 4:30 maximum round time.
New Scorecard Times: The printed scorecard hole times correspond to a 4:30 round pace. In future, we will be using a 4:12 pace instead – a reasonable pace we should be striving to beat (instead of 4:30, which is slow). The maximum round time that may trigger a penalty is still 4:30. But we would like to see actual round times well under that, and are striving for a 4:00 “standard”.
Since restoration of pace of play rules, we have seen significant improvement. Rather than penalize slow play, we believe this spreadsheet feedback will further improve pace, making penalties unlikely. To that end, players are encouraged/expected to focus on their following gap and keep up and catch up, regardless of pace.
Please forward comments or questions.
Jeff Schoening – Tournament Director
Reid Swick – Rules and Greens Committee chairman
Pace of Play links
JPMGC member handbook – see page 9 suggestions on how to play faster.
R & A Pace of Play Manual. Overall systematic guide. “Futile mimicking of elite golfers should be avoided!”
Pope of Slope Pace of Play website. Lively reading. “I’ve never been told that I’m slow, and I don’t believe it!”
Three/45 Golf Association. In depth theory of slow play and practical suggestions. See “The 3/45 Principles”.
USGA Pace of Play Resource Center. Official source.
WA Golf championship policies – see “Pace of Play Policy” for guidance and rules at their events.
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