Rymer Bites: The Two-Fold Issue with Slow Play

In this edition of his weekly rundown on the game, PlayGolfMyrtleBeach.com’s Charlie Rymer offers his take on the hot-button issue of slow play, and what should be done about it. As Charlie explains, he thinks it goes beyond what you’re seeing now on the PGA TOUR.



So, I’m in a very nice Uber in Cleveland, Ohio, headed over to Shaker Heights Country Club to do an outing for PNC Bank today. Got nice weather here in Cleveland. I hope the weather’s good wherever you are.

Slow play on a PGA TOUR seems to be a hot-button issue for a lot of folks right now. Here’s my take on that. Two completely different issues. Slow play on the professional tours is one issue. Slow play where you might play golf is another issue.

First and foremost, on the PGA TOUR a lot of fans don’t understand the actual pace of play guidelines. The PGA TOUR relies on a group timing policy, so if your group is not out of position, which is defined as if you’re the first group out as being on or under your time par, or a hole is open in front of you on a par three, a par four, or a group on the green on a par five … if your group is in position, you can take your sweet time. It doesn’t matter if you’d take 10 minutes to play a shot. You’re not going to be timed. This is something that the PGA TOUR needs to look at. Obviously there’s a lot of frustration out there. The other thing that exacerbates it is that a lot of the streaming coverage features groups. They don’t have other groups they can go to while a player is dropping anchor and taking too much time. So, amateurs out there get very confused.

Now, to the part of slow play that probably has an impact on you. It’s a complex issue, but I’m going to call on my fellow PGA professionals, owners and golf course operators. You’ve got to make some hard decisions. What kind of solution are you going to put out there? Is it gonna be something radical? Is it just gonna be status quo? I think the answer is probably somewhere in the middle, and that answer involves getting people of authority out on the golf course, a PGA professional out on the golf course – educating, monitoring, letting the people that use their facility know this is a facility that’s not gonna tolerate slow play. We’re going to push you along a little bit. Maybe if you’re slow and you’re holding people up, you can come back in the afternoon when nobody’s out in the golf course and finish your round.

That’s gonna rub some feathers wrong, but that has to happen. If you are going to have a facility that promotes quick pace of play, you’re going to have to upset a few folks for it to happen. I’m not sure what the best answer is. If I’m an owner-operator, I’d probably operate somewhere right there in the middle. This is an argument that is not going to end anytime soon. It’s a big deal, always has been, in the world of golf and always will be, but hopefully we can make some improvements, starting with the professional tours, maybe making some changes and hope, ultimately, maybe that will lead to golf course owners and operators with PGA professionals making some changes as well.

All right. Have a great day, everybody!