Slow-play discussion continues at UCF

SORRENTO, Fla. – Ever since I started posting pace-of-play blogs, I seem to be the best friend of rules officials. The e-mails, blog posts and ideas all have been inspiring.

Today at the Central Florida Challenge, I spoke with one of the tournament’s volunteer rules officials, Les Brown.

Brown was eager to express some ideas and explanations for slow play. Perhaps the most eye-opening thing Brown told me was that sometimes he is told not to enforce pace-of-play penalties at tournaments.

“It is not uncommon for tournaments to tell officials not to over-emphasize pace of play,” he said. “ 'We don’t want a tournament or championship decided by pace of play, so let them (the players) do what they do.' ”

According to Brown, there are two key reasons why college tournaments can’t have a better pace of play for each event:

  1. They lack the correct number of quality officials at the event to monitor the pace of play.
  2. They lack the correct number of volunteers to assist with timing stations.

As an official trying to implement rules, Brown has become disappointed when talking about the situation.

“I call it unfortunate,” he said. “Pace of play is a part of golf at every level. We are not doing tournaments justice.”

In my past few blog entries, I have suggested shortening par 3s and telling players to speed up. Today, however, Brown told me to start looking at coaches as part of the problem, as well.

“It’s not just a player’s routine slowing things down; it’s coaches partaking in grass talking, coaches talking about club selection, coaches reading putts, coaches going into the bunker,” Brown said. “If players were by themselves with no coaches, they would play quicker without them.”

So, how about it, coaches? Are some coaches too involved with their players’ games? Is that a reason college golf rounds last more than five hours?

I know there is still no exact answer, but this at least adds a few more pieces to an extremely hefty and complex puzzle. I have heard from the media, parents, tournament directors and now rules officials. The real question is, what will coaches and players say?

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