The rhythm of passage

When the timing charts were developed, the time awarded to each sort of competition was based on the longest length of the course.

Today we have to note that in Medal(Single) and Four Ball competitions, the fastest players are those using the black tees.

The first measurements of time show that the logic of the tee obliges these players to be more disciplined, the exit from a green leading quickly to the following tee, thus reducing time, encouraging rhythmic play, concentration and pleasure.

The inconsistency comes from the fact that players using the front tees (closer to the hole) are slower than players using the back tees because they take longer to reach their tee, thus reducing their concentration and increasing their preparation time.

Calculations for the course and rhythm of play

A calibration of the course using Anglo Saxon standards is of no use. Anglo Saxon play is different, as are their courses. Players have more golf awareness and are in general of a higher level. Rules and golfing etiquette are more the norm and courses generally do not display maximum timings. However, one rarely encounters a slow player.

The Marshals who patrol the course are not there to help but to increase the profitability of the course : any fault noted incurs a remark and after the second remark the player returns to the clubhouse, where he is politely reimbursed with no other alternative. Simple, efficient, industrial golf. Our method involving coaching is just as efficient and no member has ever complained.

A more appropriate method of calculation

To establish the length of time that a round in a competition should take, one has to begin by determining the rhythm given to each hole in all forms of play and when this is done, calibrate the course with three Category 1 golfers playing a Medal competition.

Let’s take an example : a time of 3 hours 54 minutes for a Medal competition on a par 73 course of 6360m (the maximum length of this course) and 4 hours 12 minutes for a Four Ball Better Ball on the same course, regardless of handicap and the colour of tee. In the Medal competition the 3rd and 4th categories play together and the 1st and 2nd categories play together. In a 4BBB the categories are mixed.

The St. Andrews Old Course has a rhythm of play that has been determined at 3 hours 57 minutes for Medal competitions and the Chief Marshal has 12 rangers who permanently patrol the course. The Old course generally only sees good golfers and, in addition, the caddies are there to speed up the game. Not everyone can play at St. Andrews and therefore the 3 hours 57 minutes is always respected.

Amateur golf, fought for by all club managers, has other values. The first is that members feel good. Now they will feel good wherever they are …. The rhythm is calculated for players walking at a good pace, as well as those using a golf buggy. When this rhythm is respected, many tee-off times can be organised.

The Rhythm of Play in Competition

On the day of a competition, the rhythm and the duration of play is set by the Marshal.

The scorecard is used only for marking scores. There is already enough information on the scorecard and to add timings serves no purpose and can even be disturbing. Firstly, the timings never correspond to those of the competition of the day, are never taken notice of and just add to the stress when the player’s score is far from what was hoped for. To be avoided therefore, there are better things to do … much better.

For example, the only timing remembered by a player about to start a round is his tee-off time and if this is not respected, he will suffer a penalty. Play starts, good and bad things happen, the principal preoccupation is to “put in a good card” or to “protect the card”. The only other occasion when a player considers timing is when he begins to wait on the course.

There are other ways, simple and efficient, for example :

  • Follow the group in front, a lesser evil;
  • Arrive at the tee of a par 3 as the group in front is leaving the green;
  • Respect the walking pace of each player, synchronised if they are playing a 3-ball;
  • The first player ready plays his ball;
  • Respect the etiquette of golf.

This is all strengthened with “relative” clocks which indicate the rhythm at which the golfers are playing : these clocks encourage players, are easy to read and suffer no discussion, because one looks at neither the scorecard nor a watch – everything is on the clock, which is in front of the player when he leaves the green.

For more information, see page Contact.