Is speeding up the pace of play the fastest way to grow the game?
A quick test of the concept showed promising results.
The experiment took place Saturday at Deer Run Golf Club in Victoria, Minnesota, where twosomes were dispatched with a simple mandate: play 18 holes in two-and-a-half hours or less.
“A common complaint about golf is that it takes too long,” said event organizer Kevin Unterreiner, owner of TwinCitiesGolf.com, a local golf website. “It’s not when you play in less than two-and-a-half hours.”
Unterreiner first proposed his plan for an uptempo outing on Hackgolf.org, a TaylorMade-backed open source initiative aimed at generating ideas for making the game more affordable and fun. He found a ready partner in Deer Run head pro Tom Abts, a longtime advocate of fast play.
The event featured 12 golfers of varying skill levels. Riding in shared carts, they went out in twosomes as the first groups of the day, spaced at four-minute intervals. Triple-bogey was the maximum score allowed per hole.
By morning’s end, golfers who normally shoot in the 70s completed their rounds in 2:04; 80s golfers wrapped up play in 2:15-2:20; and 90s golfers finished in 2:20-2:27. According to Unterreiner, none of the golfers reported feeling rushed.
“Something else we learned is that a course can send players out as twosomes and not lose any revenue because you can still get the same amount of golfers out in an hour,” Unterreiner said. “Instead of foursomes playing at eight-minute intervals, you have twosomes at four minute intervals.”
The only difference, he added, is that the groups get around nearly twice as fast.
With this first trial-run behind him, Unterreiner said he hopes to build on the idea by staging similar events throughout the summer at 10 to 15 other courses around Minnesota. To find out more about the outings, visit www.2hourgolf.com
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