As some of you know, I’m in the process of moving to a different golf club. I’m splitting time for the rest of this season with plans for shifting over fully to the new place in the spring.
One semi-interesting item of the new place is that tee times are spaced 10 minutes apart. They start at the top of the hour and tee times follow on the 10s.
I played Sunday morning at 9:50. With the great weather, the tee sheet was slammed. There were foursomes all over the place. I wasn’t convinced pace of play was going to be all that great.
But something weird happened: The pace couldn’t have been much better.
Because of the 10-minute gap, we didn’t hit our tee shots on No. 1 until the group in front of us took out the pin and started putting. By the time we hit our second shots and were walking to the green, the group in front of us was almost done hitting their tee shots on No. 2.
We waited one time all day. We waited for about 30 seconds on a par 3. The group behind us waited on about three shots all day, something that wasn’t bad considering I was playing with a couple of higher handicap players.
We made the turn in about 1 hour, 50 minutes and finished our 18 holes in 3:45. After teeing off at 9:50, we putted out at 1:35. We never felt rushed and had a very leisurely round of golf. It was great.
Was the 10-minute gap — and the spacing that was established from the beginning — the difference?
I don’t know for sure, but it couldn’t have hurt.
Obviously there are some drawbacks to 10-minute gaps. The biggest of which means that there is one fewer tee time each our and, essentially three fewer tee times over each two-hour stretch. That’s 12 fewer slots for golfers every two hours.
Is that worth it? I would say probably. The knock for many on golf is that it takes too long to play. Because of that, I think courses and club have to do everything they can to make sure that golf doesn’t turn into a 5-hour march.
If 10 minute gaps help assure that, then it is worth it.