Pace of play: FarmLinks Golf Club to host experimental day of golf

FarmLinks Golf Club
The postcard-like fifth hole at FarmLinks Golf Club.
By T.J. Auclair
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Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Wednesday, October 09, 2013 | 9:42 a.m.

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.

RELATED: Your votes for best golf courses in Alabama

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

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.”

To learn more, visit FarmLinks at, or check it out on Facebook.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.


T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.



Agreed, Chris G. As well, a VERY effective way to cut down the playing time (30 minutes per foursome in one study) is for each player to jump back in their cart after their shot WITH their club in their hand, and then change it out for the next club at their next shot. Why waste time cleaning and replacing the club after your shot if you're going to have to go back to the bag on the next shot? An exception would be when you're shot lands on the green, in which case you know you'll only need your putter. With that said, I walk (carry or pull cart) when at all possible.

Good luck, FarmLinks! Wish I could be there!


This is interesting. I find that most people who are truly using ball markers, and playing by the normal rules of golf don't take longer than about 3 to 3 1/2 hours to finish a round. Courses like this typically only attract people who know "how" to play, or are confident enough to play a challenging course. Even if you shoot in the 90's or low 100's, playing quick is easy.

I think the real problem lies in the cheap courses that attract any and everyone. Having a 5 some that never plays, always looks for "other" balls, and takes 5 practice swings before each shot is what holds everyone up. But, those folks need a place to play too.

I shoot in the mid 70's and will play with anyone as long as they respect the game, don't take it too seriously, and keep a good pace. I think if we can get that injected into the game more people will come out to play.

Would love a follow up article on this to see how the people enjoyed this "style" of golf