Fast Play Friday makes PGA's Tom Abts one of game's innovators

Tom Abts
Scott Cohen
PGA Professional Tom Abts created Fast Play Friday, which has helped Deer Run make four-hour rounds the norm every day of the week.
By John Holmes

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Friday, June 14, 2013 | 4:28 p.m.

Today is U.S. Open Friday, so it seems like a perfect day to pass along this item about PGA Professional Tom Abts, who tops a Golf Inc. list of the ''most innovative people in golf.''

Abts is the longtime PGA Head Professional and General Manager at Deer Run Golf Course in Victoria, Minn., just west of the Twin Cities. His innovation: Fast Play Friday.

As the golf industry addresses the issue of slow play with increasing vigor, Golf Inc. says, ''Fast Play Friday was not only successful in keeping rounds under four hours, it changed the culture of Deer Run with four-hour rounds becoming the norm every day of the week – even Sunday afternoons.''

''Too often people try to be out of the box and come up with silly ideas,'' Abts told Golf Inc. ''Golf is a timeless game, not a fad. Fast Play Friday just brought back the original pace of the game. Scottish shepherds were not lollygaggers.''

Fast Play Friday is just one of Abt's brainstorms – as Golf Inc. points out, he was named the Minnesota PGA Promoter of the Year. He's also proud of his ''Kid Plays Free with a Parent on Saturday Afternoons'' program.

''The joy of seeing kids playing golf with their parents is always moving,'' Abts said. ''That it became so successful and has been adopted by so many courses all over the country is especially gratifying.''

The Golf Inc. list of innovators came about when the company sought out asked for suggestions of people who are looking at ways to elevate golf, attract new players and incorporate new technologies into the business of golf during the past few years. They received more than 220 nominations, and whittled the list down to the 18 they felt ''we felt met our standard of doing something that was new, unique and captured the imagination of others.''

To see the entire list, click here.