British golfers are the fastest in the world

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 29, 2015 14:11

The biggest survey into the pace of play ever conducted has found that British golfers complete their rounds far more quickly than golfers from any other region on the planet.

neville wootton

Image by Neville Wootton

However, many of them still believe their rounds take too long to play and they would play more golf if the average length of a round was significantly shorter.

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The R&A’s six-month study, involving 56,248 golfers across 122 countries, found that the average time it takes a golfer at a British club to complete a round is three hours and 44 minutes, and this has not changed since they started playing. By contrast, no other region in the world had an average length of less than four hours from when its golfers started playing, although golfers in north America said the average time today was three hours and 59 minutes, and in continental Europe it was three hours and 56 minutes.

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Despite the relatively fast speed in which British and Irish golfers play 18-hole rounds – more than 25 percent also complete them in less than three and a half hours, far higher than any other region in the world, and less than 25 percent take more than four hours to play their rounds – far lower than anywhere else (the figure was more than 60 percent in Australasia) more than 15 percent of UK golfers said that the slow play they experience prevents them from playing more golf. The figure rises to 26 percent for under 17s. Also, only three percent of UK respondents said they were always happy with the amount of time it takes to play a round of golf – the lowest percentage in the world.

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However, over 90 percent of British and Irish respondents said they preferred 18 holes to six, nine or 12 holes.

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Well over half of respondents did say, though, that their enjoyment of the game would be enhanced if they could play in less time, with nearly a quarter stating that they would play more golf if the average 18-hole round was 21 to 39 minutes shorter.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 29, 2015 14:11
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  1. Bob Braban May 3, 22:57

    Guy may be right about the intolerance of more experienced golfers to those who are perhaps not as proficient and that should not happen. However, I still struggle to believe that speeding up the game to my preferred time of about 3 hours 30 minutes, a time in which I can comfortably play a round, would make an enormous difference to participation levels. If you are any sort of serious sportsman you know that sport takes time. Over my lifetime I have played Cricket (all day and sometimes two day matches) Tennis (4 hour matches) and Rugby (all day plus half the night!). Golf is proportionately less demanding and has the advantage that I can choose when I play and to an extent for how long. Of course time will always be a factor, but there are a host of other things that are completely within the control of clubs that are far more important in recruitment and retention and that can be achieved by simple changes that are everyday practice in other business activities.

    Bob Braban

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  2. Guy April 29, 16:29

    Seem some odd stats, as it would appear none of the Uk golfers have improved if it takes them just as long after several years as it did when new to the game! A high handicapper taking far more strokes and loosing balls is clearly going to take longer than a much more elite player yet they are expected to play just as quick. IMO that is enough to scare those new to the game from taking to the fairways!

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