Slow play is one of the main issues posing a threat to the sustainability of the game globally. It is not enough to present a beautifully designed course, in great condition.
Slow play destroys enjoyment and has become a big, operational problem for many golf clubs. Pace of play also has a significant negative affect off the course. If a round takes longer than intended, sometimes surpassing over five hours, it can create 'trouble' at home or in the workplace. One answer was revealed to an eager golf world at the annual PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida last week.
This new, viable and affordable solution to many golfers' prayers was developed by the Killarney-based, Swatch Group, headed up by the driving force and innovation of none other than the bar manager at Killarney Golf Club, Peter Dunlea.
Named, Course Ranger, the solar-powered, high tech system offers a number of solutions that golf clubs everywhere have been eagerly looking out for. With its unique design and low running cost, the system will help to reduce round times and facilitate a better flow of traffic around any golf course that installs the technology.
The concept behind the Course Ranger system is simple – let the golfers know their pace of play at each hole and encourage them to adjust their pace before it becomes a problem. Without leaving his office, the golf club manager can see who’s on the course, where they are and if assistance is required to speed them up?
Course Ranger’s solar powered box is not obtrusive or difficult to install and all the golfer has to do is make sure his membership tag or green fee ticket is fixed to his golf bag.
Speaking about his invention in Florida, Peter Dunlea said: “Our Course Ranger system is quick and easy to install and offers multiple pace of play features. The installation is small and unobtrusive and it can be customized to carry advertising or the golf club's logo.
“If rounds of golf always took the expected amount of time to complete, memberships would increase and green fee revenue too. An important feature is the detailed statistical information that Course Ranger provides, allowing a wide range of valuable data regarding the membership's playing profile and how certain course layouts affect the pace of play.
Other exciting information emanating from the PGA Merchandise Show included: Wilson is back as a major equipment brand; the new Callaway driver is epic! US Kids Golf has developed the best set of clubs on the market. Their latest set, 66, is perfect for new lady golfers. Grooves matter on a putter and the Odyssey O-Works is the market leader. Most training aids will not help much or at least not any more than a set of aiming sticks. Distance Measuring Devices have merit and would improve and speed up play if used properly. Nobody builds a plain putter any more
As for the new O-Works putter (just mentioned) revolutionary Microhinge insert technology has created a new way to start the ball rolling that will help golfers enormously by 'top-spinning' the ball and getting it to 'lift' out of its depression in the grass more efficiently. As usual, there is a lot of innovation on and off the course in golf. Ignore it at your peril.
YOU could not say that Tiger's comeback was a disaster but neither was it very good. His newly acquired M2 driver misbehaved so badly in round one that it received several hefty bangs against the ground. It didn't matter what driver Tiger was using his swing was so badly out of sequence.
In my opinion, forcing a faster hip turn was at the heart of his problems causing him to spin out and hit far too late. In a way it's reassuring to have it confirmed once again how humbling this game is even for the very best. Having the heart of a lion by itself is not enough.
Sequencing the swing correctly is elementary and fixable - so we will see what happens in the weeks ahead.
Tiger was better in round two - better than the 4-shots difference in his scores but his swing still didn't look 'right.'
He talked about tweaking this and tweaking that but methinks he has become severely limited in his athletic ability. Even if Tiger does find a way, he will have to suffer through a lot of pain and embarrassment before he fires on all cylinders for four straight days. Anything less won't do as was evidenced by the quality of golfers who missed the cut at Torrey Pines.
Tiger has to keep going and stick to his schedule, getting used to the travel and the 'noise' of playing in tournaments. Playing in privacy at home is not the same as tournament golf.
There's no denying if you cannot produce a consistent and reliable 'puck out' off the tee - you have no chance. Tiger IS facing up to one damning piece of data - his club head speed with the driver is 'only' 114mph. That is slow by top pro standards. No wonder he is forcing it.
Maybe the cold and damp weather in California was causing him difficulties? It won't be damp and cold in Dubai this week. Maybe a different Tiger will show up there (after a 17-hours flight?) Overall, it's hard to feel optimistic about Tiger's future.