From The Inbox

A potential wake-up call for Tour slowpokes

From the Morning Read Inbox readers respond to recent articles surrounding the PGA Tour pace of play policy or lack there of

A potential wake-up call for Tour slowpokes
Pace of play comes down to how a golfer is introduced to the game (“Hawk & Rude,” Aug. 16). It has to do with etiquette and sportsmanship.

Being conscious of your pace of play and its overall effect on the play of others is the most critical element in a well-played, not necessarily well-scored, round of golf.

I learned this lesson from buddies in high school. I was slow and was reminded of it often. I took stock in this and watched how my friends played ready golf. You know why? I didn’t want to be a drag on the round, and I enjoyed their friendship.

Today's touring pros have to be reminded of this. Professionals actually should be playing at a faster pace than most amateurs, and it should have nothing to do with money or shot clocks. It should be quietly monitored by the PGA Tour.

You must make life harder for those who cannot play normally. Send the slowest players off each nine before 6 a.m. More than likely they will start missing cuts and will get the message. Missing cuts affects their income and sponsorship value. They would clean up their acts until the 5:45 a.m. starting time no longer would be needed.

Daniel Cahill
Santa Ana, Calif.

‘Time par’ sets pace for group to meet
Yes there is a fair and equitable way to enforce a pace of play policy on the PGA Tour (“Hawk & Rude,” Aug. 16). It involves two elements:

1. A “time par” per hole, with four timing stations in an 18-hole round (e.g., holes 4, 9, 13, 18), is determined by the Rules Committee. Typically, an 18-hole time par allows a threesome to complete play in 4 hours and 15 minutes. This time par differs on whether the playing group is a twosome or threesome, and the difficulty of the course. If a group misses its time par at one of the timing stations and is more than 14 minutes behind the group in front of it, then that group is put on the clock. This group is given a warning that if it misses a second timing station with a bad time that the players will be given one-stroke penalties. If they miss a third timing station, they are given two-stroke penalties. If they miss a fourth, they are disqualified.

2. A member of the rules committee armed with a digital stop watch times each player in the group and records the time that it takes for each player to make a stroke when it is his turn to play. Times are recorded for each stroke (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.). Also, a record is kept of any delays caused by lost balls, penalties, illness, etc.

The timing record is kept to determine the slow player(s) in the offending group. If it is determined that any group is to be penalized, before the players enter the scoring tent, a rules official meets them and advises that a player is going to be penalized, and why. If necessary, the timing sheets are shown to the offending players.

This system or a variation of it has been used by the USGA, the Western Golf Association and regional golf associations in many events since about 2005, and has reduced 18-hole rounds from more than five hours to about four hours. It will work on the PGA Tour, if officials choose to use it.

Chris Seyer
Crystal Lake, Ill.

1 golfer per cart would hasten pace of play
Here is another idea on slow-play reduction among amateurs: One golfer per cart.

Time and time again, we've witnessed a cart going to the first guy's ball, and he selects a club after consulting his phone, GPS device, rangefinder, sprinkler-head markers, etc. Or, maybe after having checked all yardage systems, he then argues with himself about which is the accurate one. He confirms the yardage, hits the shot, gets back into the cart, and drives over to his partner's ball, which lies 25 yards away, on the other side of the fairway.


Craig Libhart
Bainbridge, Pa.

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