If you watch golf on tv, you will find that a round of golf on the PGA Tour or the LPGA takes quite a long time to complete. But it is important to take under consideration the following facts:
Depending on the golf course, players take at least 5 ½ hours to complete those two first rounds. In group of 3 players, we have a 07H00 start on both tees and the last group is at 2 hours and 12 minutes later. That means that the first group to make the turn will start the second 9, only two hours and 20 minutes after their original tee time and this is only the first group. It is easy to see that in the afternoon everything is set up to be a long day.
We don’t see very often a group being out of position on those two days. Too many players on the course.
DISCUSSIONS BETWEEN THE PLAYER AND CADDIE
The player on a pro tour, is very dependent on the caddie and his notebook. Most of the decisions are taken after a consensus is reached. Also, many golfers have a coach that teach them not to make a stroke unless they are really ready….
GREEN READING MATERIAL
This small booklet that is available in all the PGA tour events, is very valuable for players. It contains all the yardages and also all the slopes on every green. A player does not have to look at the green anymore. He has everything in his booklet. Those booklets are really very complete, and players take a lot of time to process all the data.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY BECAUSE OF THE COURSE SET UP
Ordinary players don’t have an idea on how good those players are. For us, professional referees, it is difficult to find a way to challenge them properly. We can’t put any pins behind trees. The most difficult condition for a PGA Tour player is wind. Unfortunately, the Tournament Committee does not control this element, so some pin placements are very tough.
GOLF QUÉBEC, GOLF CANADA, ECPT
At Golf Quebec, Golf Canada or East Coast Pro Tour, we have a check point system to take care of Pace of Play, and it is working quite well. Most of our tournaments take 4 ½ hours. When a group is out of position at a check point, all the players from the group are subject to be penalized. The group is self-regulating. Since we introduce that system, we almost never use a stopwatch, and we seldom give any penalties for slow play.
During the first round of the Bank Hope Championship on the LPGA Match Play tournament two players were all square after the 17th hole. Carlota Ciganda won the last hole, but a referee told her she had lost the last hole because she took to much time to complete the 18th hole. She is known to be a very slow player.
The LPGA rule is simple. When a group is out of position, they receive a warning. If after 2 more holes they are still out of position, they will be timed. They have 30 seconds in average per shot to complete a hole. If they exceed the time, they lose the hole.
Other tours have a similar system, but the expected time is per shot. The player has 40 seconds to make a stroke. After a warning, penalties may be given to players.
On the PGA Tour, when a group gets a warning, all the players are subject to a fine, but they will be timed individualy. Those fines are distributed to charities. We saw, two weeks ago a penalty to a player in the PGA Championship.
Some players pay in advance a certain amount of fees. They don’t want to be disturbed during their work because they know they are slow players!
We must all accept that when we play in a competition, it will take more time than when we play for fun. In tournaments we don’t have any gimmies.