Slow play isn't just a problem for the golfers suffering it; it's also a big issue for the clubs it affects.
If golfers paying green fees find themselves stuck out on the course for five or six hours, they're hardly likely to rush back. And members are likely to consider going elsewhere if they have to book a week's holiday just to get 18 holes in at their home club.
Wycombe Heights Golf Centre in Buckinghamshire has an interesting solution. During the summer, its 'Pace of Play Guarantee' offered visitors a free beer if they finished their round in under three and a half hours.
Now, Wycombe Heights promises to enter any visitor finishing their round in under four hours into a prize draw to win a 'Golf Day Package' for four people, worth over £400.
“Slow play is golf’s primary issue. People simply don’t want to take five or six hours out of their weekends, so we’ve taken the lead and tackled the problem head on,” says Graham Rolland, general manager at Wycombe Heights. “The feedback from members and visitors alike has been hugely positive. We’ve noticed a real difference in average speed of play since we began the rewards scheme, which is very pleasing indeed.”
The 'Golf Day Package' will be drawn monthly, and the prize includes breakfast and coffee on arrival, driving range warm up with a 30-minute professional lesson, 18 holes of golf with buggies, and lunch post-round.