Slow play? Not in Angel Park’s Express Lane

Total number of rounds played in the U.S. declined 5.9 percent year-to-date, following a difficult April that produced a nearly 17 percent drop.

Want to play 18 holes in well under four hours? You need to get in the Express Lane.

That’s the name of a fast-play program being run on Saturday mornings at Angel Park Golf Club, a busy 36-hole facility in Las Vegas. Express Lane players sign a pledge agreeing to play in 3 hours, 45 minutes or less. Angel Park’s staff reserves the right to make groups skip holes or move to the other course if they’re not maintaining the proper pace.

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Lowell Masters (left) and David Brom were half of a foursome that played 18 holes at Angel Park in 2:48 as part of the club's Express Lane program.

So far that hasn’t been a problem, according to Greg Brockelman, Angel Park’s director of golf. Angel Park, which is managed by OB Sports, started the program in mid-February, and Brockelman said golfers have maintained the 3:45 pace. They’re actually averaging less than 3:30, and the record to date is a foursome that finished in 2:48. The program, he added, “has policed itself.”

“We’re not reprogramming these golfers,” Brockelman said. “They’re generally fast golfers who are gravitating to those tee times because they want to play with other fast golfers.”

When golfers call to schedule Express Lane tee times, they are told that they have to play in 3:45 or less. That message is reinforced by the starter on the first tee.

Prior to teeing off, each player in an Express Lane group must sign and date the following pledge: “Our entire group is aware that we are playing in a designated ‘Express Lane’ time. We will comply with maintaining a pace of play to complete our 18-hole round of golf in 3:45 or less. We are aware that if we fall behind this pace we will follow the direction of the Course Advisor. This could include moving ahead to be back in position, falling behind the last ‘Express Lane’ reservation, moving to the alternate golf course, or similar.”

Express Lane tee times rotate between Angel Park’s Palm and Mountain courses. Brockelman has noticed that the groups that book those times tend to play ready golf and putt out quickly. He said Angel Park tries to facilitate fast play during Express Lane hours.

“We’re not tucking pins behind bunkers on Saturday mornings,” he said.

Brockelman said only the first “five to 10” tee times fall under the Express Lane program. He added that there are plans to extend the program to Friday and Sunday mornings, but not weekdays.

Kris Strauss, OB Sports’ vice president of sales and marketing, said the company “will be looking to expand this offering to other OB Sports-managed courses where it is feasible.” He added that “we also feel it is the right thing for our golfers and the right thing for the game.”

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