Pace of play in golf is always a hot topic of debate and golf's governing bodies have been trying to address the issue for years, but it seems that since courses reopened in England, many clubs are finding that the new coronavirus guidelines are improving round times.
In fact, at some golf clubs, pace of play has improved so much that they are considering making permanent changes once they have more freedoom around the coronavirus pandemic.
One manager stated that he is considering creating a time slot where only two-balls can go out on the course as it seems to be working perfectly at the moment.
Resolving pace of play nationally could see an increase in golf club memberships, something that has been at a steady decline for a number of years, as most people don't want to spend over four hours on a golf course.
Tom Brooke, managing director of Glendale Golf, which runs six golf clubs in the UK, told The Golf Business: “We are very pleased with being open again and also by the responsibility shown by our customers who have adapted well to this new style of golf.
“Rounds are being played much faster which is a pleasing benefit.
“Under normal circumstances, we would do everything possible to encourage our customers to linger longer and enjoy a drink and something to eat after the round. It goes against the grain, but everybody understands why we must discourage any type of socialising before or after a round.”
Neil Burke, who runs Horsham Golf and Fitness in Sussex, added: “The pace of play has been a major advantage and we are considering adjusting our future management style to include times when people can play in two-balls only.
“There has been quite a lot spoken about the fact that golf is too time-consuming but most of our players are getting round in less than three hours and that gives them more time to enjoy other activities with their families.
“There is obviously a market for faster golf. In addition, the attitude of our members and visitors has been excellent. They have been polite and eager to fit in with our new operating rules and restrictions and a delight to deal with.”
Not only has pace of play improved, but multiple golf clubs received feedback from the public who said they feel extremely safe whilst out on the golf course, due to the new safety measures that have been put in place to adhere to the government guidelines.
Ian Bonser, who owns the 3 Hammers Golf Complex in Wolverhampton, who said: “Several of our customers have commented that they feel safer at our golf centre than at their local supermarket due to the thoroughness of the social distancing and signage my team have deployed. I couldn’t ask for better feedback than that.”