If there is a definitive type of course where fast play and slow play may come to a figurative, if not literal, intersection, it’s that of the semi-private club, which often hosts members accustomed to playing at a certain pace alongside non-members who aren’t.
This would be a perfect description of Emerald Links Golf & Country Club in Greely, Ontario, a 27-hole facility which opened in 1990.
According to the club’s official policy, golfers must complete each nine-hole turn in two hours and 15 minutes. While many courses make such a statement, very few offer this ultimatum: Golfers who don’t adhere to this policy are ushered off the course and given their money back.
The threat is enough to quash slow play. General manager Martin Patterson said there have only been three such instances of refunds in the past 15 years.
“The usual reaction is a thank you from the people directly behind them and everyone else behind them,” he said. “You don’t need a slow pace; that gets you into trouble. I’d rather have four people unhappy than the 200 that are slowed up.”
Other courses hoping to speed up play could do a lot worse than following Emerald Links’ lead. Sure, this policy may alienate the occasional slow golfer, but it will have the majority of quicker golfers firmly in agreement.