How to prompt pace of play

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Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

The American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) has released guidelines detailing the issue of pace of play from a design perspective.

"A properly designed, well-drained course with ample playable areas, properly placed bunkers, visible water hazards and smaller greens usually plays fastest," said ASGCA past president Steve Forrest. "ASGCA architects work with developers to design courses that are challenging, but not overwhelming. This keeps play moving without detracting from the player's overall experience." Courses offering faster play usually benefit from a combination of factors including quality professional management, and the cooperation both of those playing and those directing play. However, according to Forrest, faster play also results from course designs that pay special attention to routing designs and the tactical layout of tees, greens and fairways.

"Common sense tells us that shorter, wider courses will play faster than longer, narrow ones, particularly for the average and beginning players," said Forrest. "But, other design elements should also be taken into account." Such design factors include: the number and placement of trees; flatter, smaller greens to reduce three-putt frequency; fairway mound placement designed to contain slightly errant shots; and vertical yardage markers (or markers that are otherwise quickly identifiable) with accurate yardage information.

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