Previously I outlined our Pace of Play Policy, acceptable time limits on a round of golf and how scorecard swipe times are used to assess a group’s round time.
The time gap between player groups is an important part of assessing pace of play.
“Your position in the field is directly behind the group in front and not directly in front of the group behind.”
If the group behind you is falling behind, this does not give you  permission to fall behind the group in front of you. It is not a valid excuse to say, I was behind the group in front but there was no pressure from behind so it must be OK.
I’m sure it is easy to see that if all groups applied this logic, the entire field would suffer ever widening gaps and the last groups may not even finish before dark.

The legitimate gap between playing groups is measured once objectively (in the absence of a half-way bundy stamp). It may also be observed and noted by the Course Marshal.
We tee off at 8 minute intervals but although it is often possible to finish at 8 minute intervals the Policy does not expect it. The trigger point for a slow round is 14 minutes. A time gap less than 14 minutes means you are within reasonable limits. Longer than this and your group will trigger closer scrutiny.
The gap between playing groups is measured by subtracting the round times of subsequent group scans (refer to my previous post on how these are calculated). The difference between scans and the difference between adjusted round times is identical.

Tee Time Player Finish Time Adjusted Round Time Minutes Behind Comments
6:46 Player 1 11:08 4:17 9 acceptable gap and round time
6:46 Player 2 11:12
6:46 Player 3 11:20
6:46 Player 4 11:24
6:54 Player 1 11:18 4:19 10 acceptable gap and round time
6:54 Player 2 11:20
6:54 Player 3 12:03
6:54 Player 4 12:03

The rounds listed above are within policy guidelines for both round time (strokeplay) and intervening gap.
As you may deduce from this, because we tee of at 8 minute intervals but allow longer intervals as the finishing gap, there is what we call an “expansion rate”. You can see from above that the 10 minute gap allowed under the policy actually adds 10-8=2 minutes to the round time over the previous group, from 4:17 to 4:19. If all groups took this expansion, the block of 16 tee times would expand by 32 minutes.

In practice, this does not always occur. It is frequently observed, that the gap can be shorter than 8 minutes. Examples to come in the next few case studies will further highlight the reality of this situation.

Always swipe your card as soon after your round as possible. This does not mean “run to the Golf Shop”! You have a 5 minute allowance for finalising, signing and submitting your cards.