The maintenance of acceptable pace of play is an imperative for the future of golf. In many cases, poor standards of pace are engrained culturally in a club. Achieving a high standard of pace requires vigilance and commitment. With this improvement, the potential benefits are very high for both the Club and the Game.
Entry to the game
As we all know, total player numbers are cyclic in nature. They increase when inspired and decrease when attention from the game is waning. Many factors play into this inspiration, for example, national player success and role modeling. These factors can be present or absent at different times in a cycle.
There are also negative influences which must be mitigated. For example the total cost of membership may have an adverse effect but good management can deliver price points which target the desired catchments.
Poor control of pace of play can quickly deliver another significant negative influence. In the hands of the administrators, however, this can be substantially diminished with the use of appropriate techniques.
If you can demonstrate effective management and desirable, verifiable outcomes in the area of pace of play so that the game is no longer an “all day” commitment, then potential impediments on a new entrant’s decision to join your club is drastically removed.
This case is the same for both the Club and the Game.
The golf course as an asset
Our undying thirst for competition leaves only a small window of time for social play making it a lower priority for the Club.
But tangible benefits are achievable if access is granted to the course for social play after a busy competition day. Indeed, this is a privilege that members value. Maximising this type of access delivers value which is easily calculated.
Good pace of play can deliver this as a significant Club benefit.
There are several cohorts of members within any Club which suffer from significant, and often competing sources of pressure, on their time.
Members starting a family is one such cohort. They are very likely to rethink their position in the Club. Time is precious and understandably, their obligations outside the Club tend to dominate.
Obviously, as a Club, it is impossible to satisfy all the demands of this and other cohorts but removing one of their major concerns is definitely achievable. Offering reliable and dependable round times allows this group to remain playing longer or return sooner from their other responsibilities.
This is a significant Club benefit.
Maintaining exemplary levels of member service is an admirable ambition. Achieving equity in these standards amongst the entire membership is often a very difficult task and something all administrators continue thinking about.
Some, very quiet, feedback from presentations of the mPace software delivers the sense that monitoring pace of play in the hard light of factual data is somehow harsh and acts to erode attempts to maintain high standards of member service.
In order to deliver the best end results, however, we need to see ourselves as advocates for all members, not just those who may find issue with having uncomfortable matters drawn to their attention. Members who remain tolerant of the impact of others’ lack of thoughtfulness deserve much more from us, as administrators. They deserve our advocacy.
The mPace software is a tool for use under any flavour of ‘member service’ regime. Factual data in any sphere of endeavour is highly valued and should be regarded in the golf world in the same way. How you, as a Club, deliver the facts to those who need to be made aware of issues is totally under your control. But let’s not shy away from knowing the facts.
These are perhaps just a few of the factors which relate to pace of play and cement it as a real issue for the game today. You may think of others.
The mPace of Play Manager software delivers the facts about your state of play. The data is visualised and thus quickly and easily understood. The display of issues is unequivocal. Anecdote is totally removed and trend analysis graphs can be used in member marketing with remarkable impact.
For those of you who currently use the software, you should remain confident that, long term, sound management of pace of play delivers significant benefits to Club and Game. To those of you who are considering this issue, here is a solution available to you.