BELMONT, Mass – It’s been a busy season for golf clubs across New England, with the clamor to get back onto the course as summer turns to fall even more frenetic than usual.
According to Mike Higgins, executive director, New England Section, PGA of America, the sport’s popularity in the region has “exploded” in recent years and clubs have had to adapt accordingly to handle the added demand.
If you play regularly, you may have noticed that clubs are finding it harder to manage their pace and flow of play with more people out on the course. Research by the National Golf Course Owners Association and U.S. Golf Association found that 84% of course owners and 74% of players rate pace and flow of play as a top 3 player experience factor. With increased play volume, prioritizing this is more important than ever.
It’s here that the increased use of technology really earns the plaudits. By combining GPS tracking with the power of extensive data and analysis, astute clubs can minimize the impact that slower-playing groups have on the rest of the field – making sure that rounds flow and are enjoyable.
Tagmarshal, an industry-trusted pace of play management and on-course optimization system, tracks playing groups using the most precise GPS technology available. Powered by advanced algorithms that have learned from more than 30 million rounds’ worth of data, its technology proactively identifies pace and flow issues before they arise, making it a powerful tool to optimize pace of play.
John Fields, the Director of Golf at Belmont Country Club, has long understood that pace of play must be an industry priority.
“We wanted to give our team accurate data to ensure rounds are played in the most efficient manner possible. For us, the biggest benefit of having Tagmarshal’s system in place,” says Fields, who has been in his current role for 25 years, “is that we are able to approach slower groups armed with objective information we need to help them get back into position, in a manner that is polite and respected by our membership.”
There’s nothing worse than repeated conversations with rangers asking you to speed up when those in front of you are really at fault, and these interactions remain one of the biggest negatives impacting post-round sentiment. If clubs can have objective, fact-based discussions with players who understand that technology is in place to help make their round more enjoyable, that completely changes the dynamic.
While a decrease in average round times shows that pace is front of mind, rounds during periods of the day that play quicker skew the overall statistics, balancing out rounds when you are stuck behind slow groups and finish 40 minutes later than you’d like. Courses using Tagmarshal have seen a significant improvement in the volume of rounds finishing on or below the goal time, indicating that course flow for the majority of players is being well-managed.
Established in 2014, Tagmarshal has grown to partner with more than 35 of the Top 100 US courses. Co-founder and CEO Bodo Sieber has been recognized as “One of the Most Innovative People in Golf” by Golf Inc, and he leads the company’s commitment and drive for continuous improvement.
“Implementing steps to improve a course’s pace and flow of play will show immediate results and players will thank you through their loyalty. By providing clubs like Belmont with the data they need to give their players the best experience possible, we’re doing our bit to help grow the game we love,” Sieber said.
New England clubs that continue to successfully utilize Tagmarshal’s technology, in addition to Belmont Country Club, include Renaissance Golf Club, New Haven Country Club, Wee Burn Country Club and Woodway Country Club, among others.
With players benefiting from an improved on-course experience, impressive advancements in technology bode well for golf’s continued growth across the New England region.