Mission accomplished: AJGA surpasses pace of play goal

See what people are saying about #PaceofPlay • Video: Pace of play 101

The American Junior Golf Association announced Wednesday on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive that it achieved a four hours and 17 minutes average pace of play for the 2013 season.

Implemented first in 2002, the AJGA’s pace of play policy establishes an “overall time par” for each course played, which is geared toward the ability of nationally-competitive junior golfers playing in threesomes. In 2012, the AJGA averaged four hours and 23 minutes. With the decision to allow distance measuring devices at AJGA tournaments in 2013, a goal was set at four hours and 19 minutes for 102 nationwide competitions.

“We are incredibly proud of these results,” said Stephen Hamblin, AJGA executive director. “One of the first questions AJGA juniors ask in the scoring tents is, ‘how fast were we?’ One of the best benefits is also that they aren’t just playing fast at our events: they are taking fast play back to other junior golf events. We are developing golf’s next generation to contribute to an industry solution.”

The AJGA maintains records of each competitive round, conditions and hole-by-hole difficulty, and closely examines all factors which contribute to playing a fair, but fast, round of golf.

The AJGA Kansas Junior at Buffalo Dunes, contested at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course in Garden City, Kan., turned in the fastest overall average with a pace of three hours and 50 minutes. The pairing of Emily Campbell of Carrollton, Texas, Daniela Darquea of Quito, Ecuador, and Courtney Dow of Frisco, Texas, played the first round in three hours and 23 minutes. The group tied for the fastest round of the year but was also its most successful: Darquea won the event and her playing partners both tied for second.

The low round under four hours was played by Wes Artac of Kingwood, Texas. Artac fired a 10-under-par 62 to win the Genesis Shootout presented by the Valero Texas Open at Fair Oaks Ranch Golf & Country Club – Live Oak Course.

In 2013, the AJGA played an average of six minutes faster at the 43 events which were played at repeated venues and formats as in 2012. Additionally, among those venues, the boys and girls scoring averages improved (Boys: 76.40 in 2013 compared to 76.78, Girls: 78.35 compared to 79.27 in 2012).

At all AJGA tournaments, the Tournament Committee designates six holes on the course as timing station checkpoints. Typically checkpoints will be on Nos. 2, 5, 8, 11, 14 and 17. Volunteers are stationed at the green of each timing checkpoint and use a color-coded card (green, single red or double red) to indicate a group’s gap time relative to the group in front of them and relation to the designated overall time par on the course. 

Industry Voices

"The AJGA has set the standard for pace of play in competitive golf. Its commitment to building upon an effective program is admirable. We are thrilled that Leupold's digital rangefinders will continue to be a part of this important effort in the future." - Rob Morrison, Leupold & Stevens, Inc.

“As a host of an AJGA event for over five years, I have seen the pace of play in action up front. The girls that participate in the ANNIKA Invitational are fully aware of the policy. They are preparing sooner, are focused and are more efficient in their pre-shot routines. This is a very important quality and great skill to learn. This program is helping the players make decisions, commit and execute on a consistent basis.” - Annika Sorenstam

“Improving pace of play is a priority for the USGA, and we applaud the AJGA for its progressive, innovative and effective management of the issue. Contrary to what many observers believe, it is possible to compete at an elite level ‘while we’re young,’ as the AJGA’s talented players have shown.” – Glen Nager, USGA President 

“While many people and organizations in golf talk about doing something about pace of play, the AJGA is actually doing something about it and they are getting measurable results." – Jim Nugent, AJGA President, Board of Directors

“No segment of the sport takes the rap for slow play quite like the amateurs, but don’t lump the AJGA in with the rest of the dawdlers. The AJGA has a proven track record of getting its players around the course at a reasonable clip and educating juniors about best practices, but more importantly it is cracking down on offenders. The PGA TOUR hasn’t done that in nearly 20 years, and the NCAA has only recently begun penalizing players at its biggest events, albeit reluctantly. There is no such indecision on the AJGA: Play by the rules, or get slapped with a penalty. This circuit offers hope that the next generation of TOUR players won’t be slowpokes.” – Ryan Lavner, Golf Channel

“Of all the groups I work with, the AJGA is the most committed to pace of play.” – Larry Startzel, PGA Master Professional

"[The] AJGA absolutely has the answer. Having been a part of hosting a number of their competitions throughout my career as a PGA Professional, and having a son that competed on their tour extensively across the country during his junior golf days, I have seen this system at work up close and personal. The AJGA time par system absolutely works. It is non-confrontational, void of judgment calls, and extremely effective. This system is conditioning a whole new generation of golfers that regardless of the difficulty of the golf course or the level of the competition, 18 holes of golf can be played, and enjoyed, in just over 4 hours.” – Bill Hughes, General Manager at TPC Sawgrass

“The AJGA Pace of Play policy provided a great tournament experience for our membership. The juniors responded quite well to the policy considering most of them have never played under those conditions. The officials implementing the policy were professional and provided proper statistics to the juniors on their position on the course.” - John Lawrence, Canada Junior Golf Association Managing Director of Tour Operations

“There has been a big push by the USGA this season to speed up the pace of play, which will hopefully take hold and ultimately provide heightened enjoyment for all who play this great game. I applaud the AJGA for taking initiative at the junior level with their ‘Pace of Play’ initiative. These players are the future of golf, so if we can teach them about this important aspect of the game I think it will positively impact the sport.” – Chad Hall, True Temper Sports Director of Global Tour Operations and Product Marketing

For more information on the AJGA Pace of Play sponsored by Leupold®, click here.

Join the conversation on Twitter by tweeting at @AJGAGolf and using the hashtag #PaceofPlay

 
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