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November 08, 2013

USGA 'finds religion' on pace of play

Posted at 1:42 PM by Josh Sens | Categories: Slow Play, USGA

Golf has been slow to respond to its slow play problem.

But at least its efforts are picking up.

Consider a recent gathering at USGA headquarters, where industry leaders met for an energized symposium called "While We're Young: Golf's Pursuit of a New Paradigm of Pace of Play."

You know things are getting serious when a fancy word like "paradigm" is tossed about. Sure enough, as Golfweek reported, respected stat-wonks were part of the discussions. They're trying to bring hard data to illuminate the many causes of slow play, from tee time intervals to course set-ups. That marks a broader way of thinking about a problem that has long been blamed largely on golfers alone.

As pace-of-play consultant Bill Yates told Golfweek: "Management has the largest responsibility. Players are second."

The USGA appears to be coming around to this way of thinking. Though its "While We're Young" campaign is directed at recreational golfers, golf's ruling body is also taking a hard look at how it runs tournaments and the influence those tactics have on pace of play.

For Jeff Hall, the USGA's managing director of rules, competitions and amateur status, this broader outlook amounts to----how to put it?----a paradigm shift.

As he told Golfweek: "I've found religion on this (slow-play-business)."

His allusion to religion is apt. All too often, 18 holes takes an eternity.

(Photo: John Mummert/USGA)

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