T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.
Pace of play: FarmLinks Golf Club to host experimental day of golf
One of the most frequent reasons given for why people aren't interested in playing more golf is this: it takes too long.
FarmLinks Golf Club at Pursell Farms in Sylacauga, Ala., is on a mission to do its part to tackle the game's biggest issue when it comes to getting folks out to play.
On Saturday, Nov. 2, the course -- located an hour from Birmingham and ranked the No. 1 public course in Alabama -- is hosting an experimental, open-to-the-public day of golf on with a goal of keeping all rounds at or around 3 1/2 hours.
A special rate of $90, 30 percent less than a regular green fee at FarmLinks, will include all-you-can-play-golf, a cart, a Southern-style lunch, snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, unlimited use of the practice range and a "FarmLinks 3.5 Club" golf hat.
For almost any course this is an incredible deal. At a top-rated course, it's an absolute steal.
Tee times must be made in advance of this event and are available on a first-come, first serve basis. If you're in the area, call (256) 208-7600 to book your tee time, or email Director of Golf Terry Davis at email@example.com.
The big question here is: How do you get folks to play a round at or around 3 1/2 hours?
To that end, FarmLinks will encourage all guests to play "ready golf" on every shot, maintain pace with the immediate group ahead, keep lost-ball searches to one minute or less, restrict the use of ball markers on the green and more. FarmLinks will record data from the experiment to determine which strategies were most beneficial, what areas need improvement and provide additional methods to aid pace-of-play.
“As the world’s first and only research and demonstration golf course, FarmLinks has the unique opportunity to offer feedback and insight to the industry regarding these pace-of-play suggestions,” said Pursell Farms CEO David Pursell. “We will seek to prove that a full field of golfers can play 18 holes in less time, while still enjoying the game and not feeling rushed.”
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.