USGA Pace System
Setting Up Your Course To Play To Its USGA Pace RatingYour Pace of Play Committee may wish to consider the following course management ideas in designing your course's pace of play program:
Allow 10-Minute Intervals Between Starts
The USGA Pace Rating is designed to operate on courses that are filled to capacity, but not beyond. Don't overcrowd your course by starting groups too closely together.
Generally, intervals between start times should be no less than 10 minutes, particularly if there is a par 3 hole among the first five holes on the course. For example, if your layout starts with a par 5, followed by a par 3, and you have less than 10-minute starting intervals, you will most likely have two groups waiting to tee off on the second hole when the course is full. Directing players to pick up the pace will not alter the situation.
Proper spacing of groups assures a brisk opening pace of play. Such a pace is likely to be continued. Players who are backed up from the start generally continue to play slowly.
You may wish to consider open or starter's times, as well. These times can be used to allow backups on the course to be resolved, or to accommodate groups who arrive late for their scheduled starting times.
Allow Carts On Fairway
Restricting carts to cart paths adds 10-14% to the time par for a hole.
You can save this addition to time par by allowing carts on the course. Consider the 90-degree rule. Under this practice, a cart may enter and leave a fairway but only at a 90-degree angle.
Identify and Improve Holes Where Backups Occur
If you observe that players adhere to time par on all but a few holes, examine those holes for any physical characteristics that cause backup.
For example, one course identified poorly-placed tee markers on a dogleg hole. The tees were pointed toward dense underbrush. The majority of players hit into the underbrush and spent extra minutes hitting additional shots. When the tees were re-aligned toward a safer landing area on the dogleg, the pace of play on the hole picked up by several minutes.
Consider Changes in Course Maintenance
Other course maintenance items that may improve a hole's pace of play include:
Growing rough where appropriate to keep a ball away from an obstacle
Reducing speed of greens
Placing distance-to-the-green signs on the course and along cart trails
Marking the course (lateral hazards, etc.) prominently and according to the Rules of Golf so as to minimize delays caused by disputes
Consider Changes In Course Design
Further problems with pace of play may lead to changes in course design:
Adding or relocating tees
Adding or removing bunkers
Adding bulkheads to water hazards
Relocating cart paths
Consider Greeter, Starter, Marshal
Greeters, starters, and marshals who are knowledgeable about the pace of play program will keep players alert to the pace expectations of your course.
They may also advise players of improvements to the course that have been made to accelerate the pace of play. The greeter or starter may ask a player to act as group captain responsible for achieving time par and keeping up with the group ahead.
You may wish to employ additional marshals or forecaddies when a company outing or other tournament comprised of occasional players takes place.
Encourage Players To Select Best Tees For Them
Your greeter may wish to remind players that tees are no longer designated by gender. Each player should play from the tees that best fit his or her game and his or her ability to play to the Pace Rating of the course.
Remember that, under the USGA Handicap System:
A player can convert his or her USGA Handicap Index to a Course Handicap for any tees being played. The player multiplies his or her USGA Handicap Index by the USGA Slope Rating of the tees being played and then divides by 113. Round the result to the nearest whole number.
Example: A man with a USGA Handicap Index of 25.3 plays from the Blue Tees, which have a USGA Slope Rating for men of 118. The man's Course Handicap for the blue tees will be
25.3 X 118, divided by 113
or 2985.4 divided by 113 = 26.4, rounded to nearest whole number =
Course Handicap of 26.
Players can compete from different tees. The golfer playing from the tees with the higher Course Rating gets extra strokes, in addition to the difference in Course Handicaps. The extra strokes are equal to the rounded-off difference between the two Course Ratings.
Example: Player A plays from the Blue Tees, where the Course Rating for men is 70.9, and his Course Handicap is 20. Player B plays from the Red Tees, where the Course Rating for men is 73.5, and his Course Handicap is 13. Player B gets three strokes for playing the more difficult tees (73.5 - 70.9 = 2.6, or 3 strokes when rounded). In their match, player B will give Player A four strokes instead of seven.
A player's score from any set of tees can be submitted for handicap purposes. The player should turn in the score, the date, the USGA Course Rating for his or her gender and the USGA Slope Rating for his or her gender. Also, if this was a tournament, the score should be accompanied by the letter T for tournament.
As a matter of pace of play policy, some courses are restricting play on the back tees to
golfers with low USGA Handicap Indexes. Others are requiring players to move to the front tees if they do not respond to warnings about their speed of play.