Posted April 28, 2014

Can Minnesota Golfers Play in 2-1/2 Hours? You Betcha!

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It's not quite Speed Golf, but a course in Minnesota has some innovative ideas about how players can finish a round in 2-1/2 hours or less. (Photo: Brad Hines)

It’s not quite Speed Golf, but a course in Minnesota has some innovative ideas about how players can finish a round in 2-1/2 hours or less. (Photo: Brad Hines)

Is speeding up the pace of play the fastest way to grow the game?

A quick test of the concept showed promising results.

The experiment took place Saturday at Deer Run Golf Club in Victoria, Minnesota, where twosomes were dispatched with a simple mandate: play 18 holes in two-and-a-half hours or less.

“A common complaint about golf is that it takes too long,” said event organizer Kevin Unterreiner, owner of TwinCitiesGolf.com, a local golf website. “It’s not when you play in less than two-and-a-half hours.”

Unterreiner first proposed his plan for an uptempo outing on Hackgolf.org, a TaylorMade-backed open source initiative aimed at generating ideas for making the game more affordable and fun. He found a ready partner in Deer Run head pro Tom Abts, a longtime advocate of fast play.

The event featured 12 golfers of varying skill levels. Riding in shared carts, they went out in twosomes as the first groups of the day, spaced at four-minute intervals. Triple-bogey was the maximum score allowed per hole.

By morning’s end, golfers who normally shoot in the 70s completed their rounds in 2:04; 80s golfers wrapped up play in 2:15-2:20; and 90s golfers finished in 2:20-2:27. According to Unterreiner, none of the golfers reported feeling rushed.

“Something else we learned is that a course can send players out as twosomes and not lose any revenue because you can still get the same amount of golfers out in an hour,” Unterreiner said. “Instead of foursomes playing at eight-minute intervals, you have twosomes at four minute intervals.”

The only difference, he added, is that the groups get around nearly twice as fast.

With this first trial-run behind him, Unterreiner said he hopes to build on the idea by staging similar events throughout the summer at 10 to 15 other courses around Minnesota. To find out more about the outings, visit http://www.2hourgolf.com

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61 comments
Kevin Unterreiner
Kevin Unterreiner

Me too and can't wait!!! We will still have time to watch the eagles flying overhead

Scott Lange
Scott Lange

I will be playing a 2 hour round a Cragans this weekend #HackToJack

Scott Lange
Scott Lange

Rosemarie Green if you can play in two hours with no rush I bet you would enjoy yourself more. When I play with my buddy we play in 2 hours and I play my best. Unfortunately there in not much you can do about the amateurpro, they tend to be on every course. Give it a try and see if you feel rushed.

Kevin Unterreiner
Kevin Unterreiner

What's great about this Rosemarie is that it's not rushing when you play 2somes. This is for people who would not be able to play if it takes 4 hours due to time constraints (eg family commitments or work)

Rosemarie Green
Rosemarie Green

why try to rush the game,if people are ready and take their turns it shouldn't be slow play, pay attention to what you are doing

My County Golf Deals
My County Golf Deals

As far as my wife is concerned, a round of golf takes 7 hours and nobody better tell her different. ;)

Brent Larson
Brent Larson

Why?  Because sometimes it's good to test new ideas.  I don't think they're planning on ramming it down everyone's throat and saying this is the only way you can play golf.  It would just be an alternative at specific times for those who want to squeeze a round in but don't have 4 - 4.5 hrs to spare.


In that context, as an option, I think it's a great idea and that they're going about it the right way.

Nicole French - HTJ
Nicole French - HTJ

My fellow #HackToJack golf peeps making some noise in the golf world. Great idea!

Jose R. Balbuena
Jose R. Balbuena

There is nothing absolutely wrong with the game the problem is the people who think they are on TV every Sunday at their local course. You do not need 12 practice swings for every shot, if you hit your normal "Fade" in to the wood drop a ball and hit. I know I suck, no one is paying to see me hack a ball, the best advice I ever got when I started playing golf was... "you suck, you will suck for a long time, remember the good shots and forget the bad ones and play quick." I’ve played with allot of random people and there is nothing worst that slow pay, there is no excuse for it. "you suck, you will suck for a long time, remember the good shots and forget the bad ones and play quick."

Kevin Unterreiner - HTJ
Kevin Unterreiner - HTJ

Chase...this is 2-somes going out with the course cleared in front of them. We have tested it and if golfers normally score under 100 they CAN play in 2.5 hours or less. We were surprised, too, that people didn't feel rushed but it really works!

Nicholas Boekdrukker
Nicholas Boekdrukker

Done it several times without any stress, and walking. Its called ready golf. Quite easy with an empty course. 18 holes of course

Tom Jenkins
Tom Jenkins

This is so brilliant! I spoke with several participants and they were fired up about playing 2 hour rounds on a regular basis; I am too! Great idea!!!!

Chase Lester
Chase Lester

Wont ever work. Golf will always be a time taking game

John Simpson - HTJ
John Simpson - HTJ

Looking forward to trying this Two Hour Golf. #HackToJack, #HackGolf

John Barba - HTJ
John Barba - HTJ

2 hours on a Saturday morning - even the wife wouldn't object. Much… Great job! Count me in next time!

Stephanie Arneson
Stephanie Arneson

It was great that he was able to play in the morning and then spend the whole afternoon with me and Calvin at the Horse Expo. All other tournaments seem to suck up the entire day so it was great to have him home most of the day too.

Brin Paulson - HTJ
Brin Paulson - HTJ

I was one of the 12 who played in the 1st one of these and it was fantastic - will DEFINITELY play in more of these. Way better than waiting on shots all the time.

Hack to Jack
Hack to Jack

Congrats to our Hack to Jack Episode 1 contestants Brin Paulson, Jules Jones, Robert Bazal and John Lines who participated in the 1st 2-Hour Round event! So cool...

Kelsey Klein - HTJ
Kelsey Klein - HTJ

I find the faster my round, the better I actually play. You can keep a nice rhythm when you set your own pace

BrinPaulson
BrinPaulson

I think several of you are missing the point. This isn't about playing in foursomes. Its also not about NOT being able to play in foursomes. This is offering a time during the day.....most likely early morning, when you will only be able to play in a twosome or less. Say after 10:30 or 11am it goes back to foursomes or however many players you want.  Its also not designed so that you have to rush. Its designed so that anyone with a day job or a kid or a standard busy schedule can go out early and get a round in. We are talking about people who dont have time to hang with four buddies, drinkin beer and standing for 15 seconds over a putt worth $20 bucks per person. This is for people who love to golf but just cant find the time. During this style of round, If players have a blow up hole and hit three over par, they need to pick up their ball and move to the next hole. This is also what keeps the very high handicapers moving. Same goes for lost balls. There is no re-teeing. You play an OB or any hazard as a lateral hazard. Pace of play is always moving forward.  I played in this and didn't feel rushed at all. I have a high handicap (Upper end of the Teens) and I did just fine and finished in 2 hours 20 min. I mainly play with foursomes and I do the betting and beer thing, but this would be great for friends and family who wish they still had time to get out and hit the heck out of it from time to time.

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Robert Bazal - HTJ
Robert Bazal - HTJ

This event was a blast I was not hurried at all just pulled the cart to my ball took my shot and went on. Even had time to slow down and take my time on the greens. Great way to start the day.

wcrandolph
wcrandolph

If two guys shooting in the 100s are in front of two 80s or 70s....then the guys in back are going to be frustrated.


Besides, I have two buddies I like to play with. We play a tough local course as a 3some in about 3 1/2 hours.


That time is fine with me...but is only possible if the slow pokes aren't in front of us...even twosomes.


Look, if they'd build more user-friendly courses that the beginners could find and be successful on...and make it at least 1/3 cheaper...AND penalize lollygaggers...then we could all play and be happier.


It's not the time I get frustrated with, it's the overly hard courses at overly high prices.


Folks will sacrifice 4 or 5 hours if it doesn't cost so friggin' much.

Robin
Robin

There's nothing hard about playing in two and a half hours when everybody is out as a twosome.  There's nothing hard about it when everybody plays in the 90's or better.  Try this with foursomes that all have one guy shooting 111 and get back to me.  Try this with a single group of twice a year players thrown in the middle and get back to me.  This event addresses the problem of slow play without dealing with any of the issues that actually slow it down. 

ParManMN
ParManMN

I played in this event and it was a blast. Was so nice to not have to wait on shots and didn't feel rushed. Will definitely play in future ones. Hope other courses catch on to this...I have friends with kids in activities who will actually be able to tee it up with me on the weekends now.

Melissa Brown
Melissa Brown

Yes. My husband (63 yo) plays in 2.5 hours and he carries. When we play together, we play is 3-3.5 hours and we both walk. Even with a 4-some, we play in less than 4 hours, usually.

cmokroy
cmokroy

I am all for this, although it is fun playing with a group of friends.  The problem is, I play with a group, but play ready golf and finish in 4 - 4:15.  Other people get out there and its their day to hang out, tell stories, drink, enjoy the weather and do everything but play golf.  Those are the people that slow the game up.


It only takes a few groups to slow down a course, hence why I try to play all rounds within the first hour of open play.  Most good players are willing to wake up at 6am to get out there.  The hacks who want to drink show up at 10am or later. Nothing better than teeing off at 7am and being done by 11am or so.  I learned my lesson again this past weekend trying to play a 1pm round.  


The problem with trying to speed up play is that the casual guy who plays 4-5 rounds a year doesnt care.  If they did, they would speed up.  Any course at any time has a mix of serious and not serious players.  I care about my game, play almost every weekend and practice.  I want to shoot well but get the concept of ready golf.   The 8 guys in front of me this weekend were about drinking beer, and pounding shots of fireball.  To them the 5:30 round (my longest round in years) was fine.  That was a nice afternoon.   Just a weekend with the boys.  


Wish some courses with 36 holes would sample more of these concepts. It gives people options.  
 



twincitiesgolf
twincitiesgolf

Chase...this is 2-somes going out with the course cleared in front of them. We have tested it and if golfers normally score under 100 they CAN play in 2.5 hours or less. We were suprised, too, that people didn't feel rushed but it really works!

Robin
Robin

@BrinPaulson You think it's reasonable to tell a foursome that plays in 3 1/2 that they have to wait until 10:30 to tee off?  That's insanity.  


Not sure why anybody thinks that foursomes should stand around waiting for a bunch of guys playing a game which, under your set of rules, only kind of resembles golf, simply because they need to get home before their wife gets mad.  If your kid has a game, then go watch your kid.  Got stuff that needs to be done?  Then do it, but don't expect others to work around your schedule. 



twincitiesgolf
twincitiesgolf

@wcrandolph  Agree. When the pairings are made the lower handicappers are placed in the front of the teetimes.

RobertSmith
RobertSmith

@Robin  If you are shooting 111 you are on the wrong course, using the wrong tees.  Play somewhere you are capable of playing.  Some people apparently have egos that do not allow them to acknowledge their game and what they are capable of.

ParManMN
ParManMN

@Robin I think you are missing the point Robin. This is all about courses being respectful of those golfers who wouldn't be able to play otherwise (think kids sporting activities at noon and Honey Do Lists). It is only a small window of tee times for the day. Is there a place for 5 hour beer drinking socializing rounds? Absolutely. But ask yourself, do beginners like to be pushed by experienced golfers. No way. I played in this event and it was so nice to be able to step up, hit the shot, and in a relaxed mode finish a round in just under 2.5 hours. I was home by 11AM so my wife and kids were happy, too.


I will go and play at courses that offer this... but am very respectful of golfers that would not enjoy this type of event. For those, just tee it up during normal windows of time!

Brent Larson
Brent Larson

@Robin @BrinPaulson  Robin...so you say "don't expect others to work around your schedule", but are very bitter over the possibility of your preferred schedule being disrupted?  You realized the hypocrisy, correct?

twincitiesgolf
twincitiesgolf

@Robin @BrinPaulson  Robin - if courses do this, it will likely be the first ONE hour of tee times each day and maybe at a twilight time. Most courses tee sheets are not 100% full every day so this could be a great way for courses to fill some times with people who normally would not have been able to play that day :)

Robin
Robin

@RobertSmith  I find that most people on the golf course have egos that don't allow them to acknowledge the state of their game.  You'll find 99% of women on the red tees, but every guy who owns a pair of golf shoes thinks he belongs on the blues.  

Robin
Robin

@ParManMN  I haven't missed the point.  Somebody came to the conclusion that twosomes are faster than foursomes.  Congratulations.  There is a huge middle ground that you aren't addressing; not every group that isn't playing in 2 1/2 is out there playing a 5 hour beer round. My regular foursome of single digit handicappers plays in 3 1/2 and this method would have us losing out on prime morning tee-times.  That happens at my home course and they'll quickly find their regulars finding somewhere else to play.  

No, beginners don't like being pushed, but it's rarely beginners who are making a 6:00 a.m. teetime and then holding everybody up. 

 

There's nothing wrong with the 4 hour round and those of us who play within it shouldn't be penalized.  A better use of our time is figuring out how to get everybody in under 4 hours.  

Robin
Robin

@twincitiesgolf  Here's one of the problems, you want to tee it up at 7:30.  By that time, in the summer, my foursome is starting the back nine.  In your scenario, we're still standing around waiting.  How about you get yourself out of bed and tee off at 5:45?  You're still done in time for everything you mentioned, even if the round does take four hours, and nobody else is inconvenienced by you.  But nobody wants to do that; they want the world rearranged to meet their needs. 


twincitiesgolf
twincitiesgolf

@Robin @ParManMN  Agree 100%. The "finding" here is that no courses we know of in the world set aside teetimes just for 2-somes to allow golfers who have other time commitments to get out and play. I have kids and for 10+ years never golfed on the weekends because of sporting activities. If this had been offered, I could have tee'd it up at 7:30AM with a buddy and still made the noon soccer game. This is about growing golf which it desperately needs. 


Courses have been trying for decades to speed up play for 4-somes and it just doesn't work - too many variables when 300 to 400+ shots need to be taken amongst a foursome.

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