USGA says it will take on pace-of-play issues

Not everyone manages a laugh while waiting to hit, as Billy Horschel did at the No. 14 tee during the final round of his win in the 2013 Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

Not everyone manages a laugh while waiting to hit, as Billy Horschel did at the No. 14 tee during the final round of his win in the 2013 Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

By Ron Gaines, Golfweek.com

If it’s true that an organization takes on the personality of its leadership, nobody should be surprised that USGA President Glen Nager is putting slow play at the top of his list.

Five-hour rounds are unacceptable for Nager, a partner at Jones Day, a high-profile, fast-paced law firm in Washington, D.C.

“The cry that pace of play has become one of the most significant threats to the game’s health has become only louder over the last year," Nager said recently. ". . . This problem touches every golfer, from the professional to the elite amateur to the collegiate player to the millions of recreational golfers at both public and private facilities.”

In its recent announcement, the USGA has commited to making the game more welcoming, enjoyable and sustainable and is directing resources toward this new research.

The first step will be an initiative to identify challenges and solutions regarding pace-of-play issues in the game of golf.

The USGA will look at golf facilities and analyze factors such as course design and setup, along with player management and the effectiveness of player-education programs.

For players, the USGA will continue to look at the Rules of Golf and the Handicap System to determine if there is a significant connection between those and pace of play.

Mike Davis, Executive Director of the USGA, said, “It is appropriate for the USGA to examine pace-of-play issues in part because we experience them at our own championships.”

Davis and Nager stressed that during the year they will seek to establish partnerships with industry leaders, other associations, and the media to insure that the pace-of-play issue is addressed at every level.

“I wish I had a solution," said David Fay, the former Executive Director of the USGA. If I had one, maybe I’d be nominated for one of those awards they give in Oslo.”

If the USGA does find a solution, it would then deserve a Nobel Prize.

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