Sixty percent of surveyed golfers say they would enjoy golf more and participate more often if it did not take as long to complete a round.
As a recreational sport, golf is extremely popular, despite the fact that it is costly and time-consuming.
It turns out that the “time-consuming’’ part is the angle that most prickles golfers.
The R & A, the governing body for golf in all parts of the world other than the United States and Mexico, conducted a survey of 56,000 golfers from 122 countries and asked them about their experience of playing a typical round of golf that lasted between four and four and a half hours, except in Great Britain, where the average time was between three and a half to four hours. .
According to the survey results, 60 percent of golfers said they would enjoy themselves more playing golf if a round took less time to play. Notably, most of the players suggesting golf takes too long were from the younger golfers surveyed.
Among those who said time was a factor, they said a reduction of time required between 21 and 39 minutes per round would increase their frequency of play. Among golfers between the ages of 25 and 44, some said they would like the time it takes to play a round of golf reduced by an hour to 90 minutes to increase their frequency of play.
The average participation among the golfers surveyed was playing two rounds of golf a week.
The outside forces that keep them from playing more were work commitments (34 percent) and family commitments (29 percent). Sixteen percent said the time it takes to play a round prevents them from doing so, while only 7 percent said the cost of play stopped them from hitting the links.
“This survey is the first step for us in examining in detail the wide range of issues currently affecting participation in golf,’’ said Duncan Weir, an R&A executive director. “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.”
Asked to suggest the factors that extend the time it takes to play a round of golf, most of the respondents centered on other golfers, for poor etiquette, bad play or pre-shot routines.
The R&A offered the survey to golfers around the world through its affiliated bodies and presented the survey in six languages: Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.
The R&A plans a forum for later this year in which it will accept contributions from many golfing organizations to address concerns over pace of play. Also to be discussed with be player behavior, management issues and golf course maintenance concerns.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.