Le temps de jeu fait couler beaucoup d’encre, c’est le moins que l’on puisse dire.
Voici une lourde pièce à conviction à ajouter au dossier: une étude rigoureusement scientifique, menée sous l’égide de la Columbia University (cliquez ici pour la télécharger dans son intégralité).
Si la lecture de sa version intégrale est sans doute à réserver aux longues soirées d’hiver, je vous recommande néanmoins de prendre connaissance de ses conclusions (ci-dessous).
Bringing Back the 4-Hour Round
So what will it take to bring back the 4-hour round? What will it take to make that four hour round a maximum, not a minimum? Who has to be involved to get this done? To answer the last question first, everyone! If you play golf, if you manage a golf course, if you design golf courses, if you run tournaments or club events, you are part of the problem, some more so than others. But we are all part of it.
But the models do give us some guidance on what has to be done.
First, tee intervals have to be set to match course and golfer characteristics to increase the chances that a four-hour pace is possible. As golfers get better at pace of play behaviors, the interval can be shortened.
Second, all golfers have to be instructed, trained, encouraged, and rewarded for moving directly to their own ball at a pace of at least 3 mph, hitting every shot in less than 45 seconds and getting their group to clear the green within three minutes every time.
Third, reduce the variability of play by reducing the time to look for a lost ball (no more than three minutes), picking up when out of the hole, and giving short putts when pace is an issue.
Fourth get course management to understand the pace consequences of their course’s set up conditions, to monitor pace of play status at all times using modern technology, and reward “fast play” golfers.
The model, when run with a 3 mph pace, an average of 30 seconds to hit and no more than three minutes to clear the green, predicts 4 hours or less rounds for everyone even with a modest amount of variability. Together these factors will create an environment receptive to fast play and to golfers who would now be capable of playing quickly. All of these factors, when put into the models, lead to the creation of four hour rounds.
Theoretically there is no reason that we cannot play in three hours. As crazy as that might seem, it is not only possible but some people regularly do it. Think about it. In an 18 hole round, a typical golfer walks four miles. At 3 mph that’s 80 minutes of walking. If a golfer takes 100 strokes to complete the round and no stroke takes more than 45 seconds (not too terribly fast), that’s another 75 minutes.
The total of those two is 155 minutes, just over two and one half hours! So why does it take so long to play? All the rest of the time is spent waiting. Waiting for the group ahead to clear, waiting for others in your group to play, waiting to find a ball, etc. Although waiting for others in your group is sometimes necessary (like on the tee or green), it can be minimized. Some things can be done simultaneously, especially for shots in the fairway. Play Ready Golf whenever you can, and “give” putts when they do not really matter. Why is one factory productive and another not? Although the workers are usually blamed, most often it is a combination of factors. Often it is the set up of the factory itself, the processes, the machines, the materials that the workers have to contend with. Sometimes the workers haven’t been trained properly and do not know they are doing things wrongly. Sometime it is management not taking charge. In the golf course as factory, we have all of these. Someone has to take charge of this issue and improve each of the factors. For example, why cannot courses give preferred tee times to “fast/low variability” golfers? The models confirm that sequencing golfers from fast to slow would improve the pace significantly. Of course the models also show that even “fast” players who exhibit too much variability will hurt this strategy, so the pace will still have to be monitored. Individual golfers have to recognize how they contribute to slow play.
They have to speed up. As mentioned earlier, Mateer (2010) is probably the best bible for individual golfers to follow.
Superintendents have to understand the specifics of the pace problem they face and set up their courses recognizing those issues. Yates (2011) and Southard (2010) provide probably the best guides for management to begin understanding the pace problems they face. Managers have to decide whether they want a tee interval that guarantees a five-hour round, or to choose an interval that gives the golfing public a chance at a decent pace of play. Kimes and Schruben (2002) are perhaps in the best position to explain to management the relationship between interval and pace.
The information needed to “pick up the pace” now exists. We just need the will.