Slow Play: The Bane of Golf
By Nancy Storey
MSGA Executive Director
Ever since golf made its way to America, one of the largest problems the game has faced is pace
of play. The two biggest detractors of golf are that itís too expensive and it takes too long. While
we, as players, donít have any control over pricing, we do all have control over Pace of Play.
When the MSGA, the SMWGA and the WMSGA merged earlier this year, one of the reasons
was in an attempt to adapt best practices across the board Ė financially, in governance, and in the
way we promote and support the game. We looked at all of our policies and revised them to
include best practices.
What we found when we did this was the SMWGA had developed a really good, measurable,
achievable method to control pace of play by instituting the 20-plus club, which identified a
groupís slow play by its position of being more than 20 minutes behind the group in front of it.
In order to properly administer this policy, groups are now REQUIRED to indicate starting time,
time at the end of nine holes and ending times on the scorecard before all four players sign the
card and turn it in. This not only allows us at the MSGA to determine who the slow players may
be, but it also gives us average time of rounds.
BUT the system only works if every group does this.
AND it only works if we are reminded of it.
It took a while for the SMWGA to fully embrace this policy, but once they did, they saw average
times of rounds decrease by as much as 45 minutes to an hour. And more people came back to
the game because now it wasnít so frustrating. Thatís the goal of the MSGA and why we adopted
this best practice.
As we move into the busier part of our season, where field sizes are going to be very large, we
ask all players to review and be aware of our new policy, the link for which is below. We also
ask your help in following the policy.
And finally, if you DO get a warning letter about your pace of play, please know that you are not
being singled out individually. We at the MSGA are following the best practices policy in an
effort to make the game more enjoyable for everyone. We hope that you will adopt a positive
reaction to any communication from us about your pace of play and take steps to improve.
Thank you very much and happy golfing for the rest of the season.