Findings from R&A poll show nobody plays golf quicker
Golfers in Great Britain & Ireland are the fastest players in the world, according to the findings of a ‘Pace of Play’ survey carried out by the R&A.
It found that golfers in GB&I require an average of three hours and 44 minutes to play an 18-hole round of golf. That’s ten minutes faster than golfers in Continental Europe, 15 minutes faster than players in North America and almost 25 minutes faster than players in Australasia and Latin America. The average time for a round of golf anywhere in the world, meanwhile, has been calculated at three hours and 56 minutes.
The survey, reckoned to be one of the biggest of its kind into the amount of time that playing golf requires, was carried out by the R&A as part of its efforts to investigate the issues affecting golf and the extent to which they impact on participation rates.
The organisation gathered responses from over 56,000 golfers in 122 countries between September 2014 and March 2015. More than a third of the respondents were from GB&I.
Tellingly, it also revealed that, while 70% of golfers are largely happy with the duration of their rounds, 60% of respondents expressed the view that they would enjoy golf more if they played in less time.
Importantly, of the 25 to 44-year-olds who said they were never happy with pace of play, 21% said that golf would need to take as much as one-and-a-half hours less for them to play more often. Of the 8,468 golfers in this age range who responded, 19% said they would welcome the opportunity to play nine holes more often as an alternative format.
The survey found that the two biggest factors preventing people from playing golf are work commitments (34%) and family commitments (29%), with the time taken to play (16%) ranked third. Other factors mentioned were alternative hobbies (12%), cost of play (7%), difficulty of play (1%) and cost of equipment (1%), although there were some regional variations on these percentages.
The R&A is organising a forum later this year where it will invite contributions from a range of organisations in golf on addressing pace of play, and explore the key areas of player behaviour, management approaches and golf course issues.
Duncan Weir, the executive director of ‘Working for Golf’ at the R&A, said: “This survey is the first step for us to examine, in detail, the wide range of issues currently affecting participation in golf.
“There is plenty of anecdotal evidence available but we conducted the survey to obtain accurate data on how much of an issue pace of play is for golfers and to give us an insight into what they see as the main factors contributing to slow rounds.”