Global Edition

ASGCA strategies for designing for pace of play

9.11am 31st March 2008 - Management Topics

Pace of play is an issue often discussed at the player level but members of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) 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,” explains ASGCA 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 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.”

Here are other design elements which, considered along with the myriad other design issues, can work to speed play:

• 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.

ASGCA has a number of publications that address design considerations. For a list of free publications on golf course remodelling, development, master planning and golf course architect selection, contact ASGCA at


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