May Tip for Course Managers: Are you missing the boat with your starting interval?

In April I suggested that rather than accepting your published starting interval as reality, you take the time to measure your actual starting interval, which is the interval from the time the firsts player in the group tees off until the first player in the next group tees off. You may be completely surprised at what you find out.


Now let's consider whether this actual interval is the one that's serving you best in terms of attracting and retaining players, and maintaining a strong bottom line. Believe me, I have heard all the arguments from course owners and managers about why they can't change their starting interval...usually they're afraid it will mean a loss of revenue. But the truth is that you're probably already losing players and money because you believe the more rounds you can stuff into a day, the more the cash register will ring.


That might be true if you filled your tee sheet from top to bottom every day, but most of you don't! The question is why aren't you filling your inventory of starting times? The answer is probably because your playing customers don't think those times will provide them with a quality experience. In other words, you're offering starting times that are perceived to have no value. So the obvious "fix" is to try to lure them back with discounted twilight rates that start in the early afternoon. This is a vicious cycle based on the wrong strategy, and it won't help you in the end. Here's what I mean:


When the financial strategy at your public, private, municipal or resort course is driven by using the number of rounds as your metric for success, you're missing the real opportunity to generate increased income. By taking control of what's happening on the course - and this begins with the proper starting interval - your metric becomes the quality of the playing experience, and you can achieve a smooth-flowing, consistent pace that you can count on to increase revenue and decrease operating costs. 


When I work with a course, I use my proprietary software to virtually experiment with various starting intervals to see what interval or combination of intervals will create the smoothest flow, and eliminate backups and waiting. But you can do your own experimenting until you see a better flow on your course and fewer backups. If you let your players know up front that your course is on a mission to provide the best playing experience and that it may take a day or two to determine the optimal interval that will make that happen, they'll get it. Once you determine the proper interval for your course, make sure your starter has a clock to maintain that interval. And make sure that the expectation that groups will tee off on time becomes part of all your communication to your own team and to every playing group that reserves a tee time. 


The benefit to you:   Remember that when you achieve a smooth flow on the course, be assured that you will create (and fill!) more high-value starting times, reduce round times, reduce backups and waiting, reduce the discounting of green fees and slow play refunds, and build course utilization and player loyalty as players realize they can count on a predictable round time and a positive playing experience.




Tip by Bill Yates, Pace Manager Systems







  • "We cut more than 30 minutes off our average 18-hole round."

    Dane Bohrer, PGA, General Manager

  • "Our pace of play is much better and our members love it."

    Alice Plain, PGA, Director of Golf

    Vail Golf Club, Colorado
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    Paul Spengler, Executive VP

    Pebble Beach Golf Links, California
  • "Bill Yates unquestionably provides the most enlightening analysis of pace of play I have ever seen."

    Terry Florence, Director of Golf

    Wild Dunes Golf Resort, South Carolina
  • "What Bill did for us was fantastic. Every golf course should adopt his approach."

    Rod Cochrane, General Manager

    Predator Ridge Resort, British Columbia
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    Shawn Smith, Director of Golf

    Pebble Beach Resort, California
  • "It’s the best money I’ve ever spent. It’s like you’ve given me an additional course to use."

    Perry Cooper, Golf Manager

    Jasper Park Lodge, Canada
  • "We have now put 3:57 on all our range balls."

    Alan McGregor, General Manager

    St Andrews, Scotland
  • "Your training sharpened our focus on quality."

    Nathan Stith, Director of Golf

    Doral Golf Resort and Spa, Florida
  • "Thanks to Pace Manager, we can now communicate with each other and our guests with facts."

    Brian Shaw, Head Golf Professional

    Doonbeg Golf Club, Ireland
  • "Our members and guests couldn’t be more pleased!"

    Cary Corbitt, Director of Sports & Operations

    Harbour Town Golf Links, South Carolina
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    City of Calgary Municipal Courses, Canada
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    Frank Jemsek, Owner

    Cog Hill Country Club, Illinois
  • "Thanks to you, we have experienced two magical years of smooth flowing golf and exceptional pace"

    Steve Harker, Mgr. Performance Excellence

    Osprey Ridge at Disney World, Florida
  • "We continue to see marked improvement and exceptional quality."

    Gregg Lindquist, General Manager

    Desert Willow Golf Resort, California
  • "Thanks to you, the pace of play was better than it’s been in years, even during the Thursday and Friday rounds."

    Dawn Coe-Jones, LPGA Tour Player

    U.S. Women's Open Championship, Pumpkin Ridge, Oregon
  • "The pace of play in this championship was better than it has ever been."

    David Pepper, R&A Championship Comm. Chair

    The Open Championship, Muirfield, Scotland

Client Courses

  • Wild Dunes Golf Resort

    Charleston, South Carolina

  • Doonbeg Golf Club

    Doonbeg, County Clare, Ireland

  • Osprey Ridge at Disney World

    Lake Buena Vista, Florida

  • Desert Highlands Golf Club

    Scottsdale, Arizona

  • Poppy Hills Golf Course

    Pebble Beach, California

  • Amelia Island Plantation

    Amelia Island, Florida

  • US Women's Open Championship

    Pumpkin Ridge GC, Port., Oregon

  • Ancil Hoffman Golf Club

    Carmichael, California

  • Vail Golf Club

    Vail, Colorado

  • Bandon Dunes Golf Course

    Bandon, Oregon

  • Hong Kong Golf Club

    Hong Kong, New Territories

  • Pennant Hills Golf Club

    New South Wales, Australia

  • Predator Ridge Resort

    Vernon, BC, Canada

  • Pebble Beach Resort

    Pebble Beach, California

  • Doral Golf Resort & Spa

    Miami, Florida

  • City of Sac. Municipal Courses

    Sacramento, California

  • The Coeur D'Alene Resort

    Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

  • Singapore Island Country Club


  • The Old Course

    St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland

  • City of Cal. Municipal Courses

    Calgary, Alberta, Canada

  • Desert Willow Golf Resort

    Palm Desert, California

  • Coronado Municipal Golf Course

    Coronado, California

  • Gleneagles Golf Course

    Perthshire, Scotland

  • US Open Championship

    Merion GC, Ardmore, Pennsylvania

  • The Open Championship

    Muirfield GC, E. Lothian, Scotland

  • Harbour Town Golf Links

    Hilton Head, South Carolina

  • Jasper Park Lodge

    Jasper, Alberta, Canada

  • US Women's Open Championship

    Sebonack GC, Southampton, NY

  • Ford's Colony Country Club

    Williamsburg, Virginia

  • HeatherGlen Golf Course

    Calgary, Alberta, Canada

  • Golf de la Grande Bastide

    Provence, France

  • Cog Hill Country Club

    Lemont, Illinois

  • El Caballero Country Club

    Tarzana, California

  • Landsdowne Resort

    Landsdowne, Virginia

  • Poppy Ridge Golf Course

    Livermore, California

  • Sanctuary Cove - The Palms

    Queensland, Australia

  • The Bog

    Saukville, Wisconsin

  • Elanora Country Club

    New South Wales, Australia

  • Headland Golf Club

    Queensland, Australia

  • Mission Hills Country Club

    Rancho Mirage, California

  • Sanctuary Cove - The Pines

    Queensland, Australia

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