Part of golf’s appeal is the opportunity to spend uninterrupted time outside, enjoying nature, the course and the company of friends.

But when 4 ½ hours of playing turns into 5, we all tend to get a little impatient, because for the vast majority of us, a faster game equates to a better game.

With that in mind, here are five sometimes unconventional ways to improve pace of play.

Part of golf’s appeal is the opportunity to spend uninterrupted time outside, enjoying nature, the course and the company of friends.

But when 4 ½ hours of playing turns into 5, we all tend to get a little impatient, because for the vast majority of us, a faster game equates to a better game.

With that in mind, here are five sometimes unconventional ways to improve pace of play.

1. This isn’t an original thought, but charge players by the hour. If a course wants $50 for 18 holes and expects the average pace to be 4 ½ hours, that’s approximately $11 per hour. Increase that price by $1 per hour for every 15 minutes players come in over their target time. Then decrease the cost in corresponding increments for groups that play quickly.

Time is money everywhere but the golf course. Make that change and pace will improve.

The one drawback to this solution is if one group holds up the entire course everyone pays. That’s a recipe for an on-course confrontation or the guys in the pro shop having to deal with a horde of angry golfers explaining why pace of play wasn’t their fault.

The solution: Have a ranger on each side that closely monitors pace, flags the appropriate groups, and effectively communicates to everyone where they stand with the clock. It wouldn’t always be smooth, but it could work.

2. For all the time people spend worrying about how pre-shot routines slow the game down, I’d argue more time is wasted looking for lost balls. Assuming you aren’t playing a tournament round, you shouldn’t spend five minutes looking for a golf ball. When you arrive at the spot you expect to find your ball, set a timer for two minutes and if you dont find it, take a drop and move on.

3. In the same vein as the previous suggestion, golf courses could hire forecaddies and have them monitor holes where balls are most commonly lost during times of peak play. The forecaddies would ideally be kids interested in the game and part of their compensation could be unlimited range access and playing privileges, which should help in the growth of the game. This suggestion wins on two fronts!

4. MAKE people play from the proper tees. Sounds simple but nobody does it (yes, the PGA has its Tee it Forward program but it’s only a suggestion). Have players submit a handicap when they check in and assign them tees. If groups aren’t playing the proper set of tees and they fall behind, impose a penalty system, be it financial or forcing them to skip holes to get back in place. An entire golf course shouldn’t be held up, because someone’s ego won’t allow him to play from the proper set of tees.

5. Pace of play is more than playing fast. The key is understanding how to play at an appropriate pace and being selfless enough to do it. You don’t need to sit in the cart while your partner hits; take a handful of clubs, head to your ball and be ready to fire as soon as appropriate.

Almost everyone says they play ready golf, and then you get on the course and three people stand around waiting while a guy two yards behind them tries to figure out what club to hit. It’s not rude to play when ready, particularly when you are off the green. All of this is a long way of saying courses should hand out pace of play tip sheets when golfers check in and the starter and course ranger should reinforce them at every opportunity. Consider it continuing education!

What are your suggestions for improving pace of play?

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