ASGCA Architects work to address problems of the pace of play

ASGCA Architects work to address problems of the pace of playPace of play is an issue often discussed at the player level. But, members of the American Society of Golf Course Architects are also addressing this at the design level.

"A properly designed, well-drained course with ample playable areas, properly placed bunkers, visible water hazards and smaller greens usually plays fastest," said Steve Forrest, president. "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 tactical layouts 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," notes Forrest. "But, other design elements should also be taken into account."

Other design elements that can help speed play include:

- Multiple tees: Another common sense element—but one that must be considered in conjunction with how tee placement and length affect proper shot alignment—is the number and placement of multiple tees.

- Flatter, smaller greens: When greens have fewer severe undulations, three putt frequency is reduced. Smaller greens also lessen the number of three putts, and reduce the time spent lining up putts.

- Strategic fairway mounding: Fairways can be designed to contain slightly errant shots by strategic mound placement.

- Easily-visible yardage marking: Vertical yardage markers, or markers that are otherwise quickly identifiable, with accurate yardage information will speed play.

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