Golf Outing Games

Mulligans, Yardsticks and Strings… Oh My!

Golf committees often find themselves concerned about or at least discussing pace of play in their meetings. It is recognized as a problem and sometimes field sizes are limited due the fear that the game of golf will simply take too long. After all, there are dinner and prizes to think about.

The day of your golf outing arrives. It is a beautiful day, everyone is in a good mood as they tend to be at a golf outing, and you are hoping for smooth sailing.

But at the registration table, players are stumbling through the stations, filling in last minute names and player substitutions, picking up goody bags, scorecards, cart keys, picking up range tokens, spending some early money here and there… and then they come to the girl selling them “a longer day” or “guaranteed slow play”, of course it is not called that, but that’s what it is. Your committee never saw it coming. Heck, every event has it, so you must need it at your event, even though you wanted your golf outing to be different.

The girl selling Mulligans is a charming volunteer, one that has all the best intentions… “Get your Mulligans fella’s, $5.00 a piece, limit of five per player, money goes directly to the _____________”.

Typically, 60% of the field buys into this. That means that in your typical full field of 144 golfers, 86 players are going to take advantage of a full compliment of cheating, errrrrr… Mulligans. In this example, that means 430 extra shots taken during your golf outing.

Dare I say it is not so much the 430 extra shots taken, rather HOW they are taken. Some player gets up there, 5 beers in him, two clubs less than he could ever hope to use successfully on his best day, the island green par 3 and shockingly, dumps it 20 yards short into the water. Instead of quickly reaching into his pocket for a second ball, his first mulligan, he waits to see what his playing partners will do before deciding if he should use one of his pre-purchased bonus shots. After some teasing of his group for faring no better, he decides to have another go at it, but needs to go back to the cart for another ball. But realizing the demise of his first ball and being fully aware that golf balls are not cheap, he takes another moment to dig for a lesser quality sphere instead of grabbing more club or better yet, simply playing from the drop area. Arriving back at the tee, he also realizes that he is out of golf tees, asking his playing partners to toss him one of theirs which he has to pick up off the ground because the wind grabbed it and took it out of his reach. Two well intended practice swings later, he addresses the ball sending it toward his target, its destination is not important as this story is all about math.

This little decision-making scenario added 3 minutes to this group’s time on this one single tee box. Now, multiply that 3 minutes by the 430 extra shots happening all around the golf course this afternoon your committee sold before the round started and what you have is……

A buffet dinner getting cold and a rushed awards ceremony because people need to get the heck out of there.

Not quite what you had envisioned 6 months ago when you set out to have a golf outing for your charity.

What you can do is simply increase every player’s green fee by the same $25, sell your outing as “the quickest golf outing they will play in” or an “all inclusive registration” as you will not need to hit players up for that extra donation upon arrival. Oh, and the math on this one is… you have secured money from 100% of the field instead of the average 60% who would have slowed things down anyway. You are up 40% in revenue and the ENTIRE field enjoys both a faster day on the links and less nickel and diming at registration so they have more to spend on raffle tickets and silent auction items at dinner.

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