Thursday, December 20

How Pebble Beach Is Improving Pace of Play

Editor’s note: Chuck Dunbar, head golf pro at Pebble Beach, had serious concerns about “The Six-Hour Round,” a story about slow play which he felt could lead to the mistaken impression that long rounds are commonplace at Pebble Beach. (I recently played in a Lexus event at The Links at Spanish Bay, Spyglass Hill and Pebble Beach.) Following is a slightly edited version of his email about Pebble’s pace-of-play efforts, which I’ve published with his permission.

By Chuck Dunbar

Pebble Beach on a recent December day.
TWELVE YEARS AGO WE acknowledged we had a pace-of-play problem at Pebble Beach. Any golf course that facilitates as many rounds as we do fights the same battle. That said, we have made a concentrated effort to remedy the problem of slow play to enhance our guests’ experience.

As recently as this past September, we have invested time, effort and money addressing the issue. We have hired a pace-of-play consultant, retrained all of our marshals and added a salaried pace manager to oversee play and the marshal team every day from sunrise to sunset.

These are just some of our strategies. And we’ve been quite successful.

Since we track and record pace of play on an hourly basis to measure our success, our average pace of play in September 2012 was 4 hours, 50 minutes. In October, 4:42. In November, 4:39. And in December thus far, 4:32.

We do not track time for shotgun events as many corporate groups load up the courses past maximum capacity, often doubling up most of the holes and playing a competitive format slowing play even further. They do this at their own discretion. Put 136 people on any golf course with championship conditions and you’d see a six-plus-hour round on most of those courses.

Chuck Dunbar is the head golf professional at Pebble Beach Golf Links.


Will o'the Glen said...

With the gorgeous scenery at Pebble and the other courses on the Monterey Peninsula, I'm amazed that their rounds aren't even slower! ;^)

Anonymous said...

Head pro is full of it. Just played. Over 5 1/2 hours. Whoever is in charge of pace at Pebble should be out of a job.