Here’s an idea that might seem preposterous at first but might serve as a blueprint to speed up play. I apologize to anyone who has thought of this idea already but I haven’t heard of it and wanted to share my thoughts.
This concept could be applied to solely to the slow group that’s holding up the whole course, potentially the PGA Tour, PGA Tour TV coverage, or to everyone that plays that particular day because “slow play is expected” due to a large turnout. I envision that this system could be used as a temporary fix for the former case until the group is caught up/back on time. Then the slow group could go back to their original game. To me it would be easy to enforce for the rangers. If they saw anyone putting within 5 feet of the hole there would be sanctions if warned ahead of time.
I propose that a 5-foot radius ring be drawn/painted around each hole or simply just leave a 5-foot high mark on the flagstick. If at any time you hit a ball within this circle and it doesn’t go in the hole, consider your next shot good and add a very small fractional number to your score such as .1. therefore the name System 1.1. EX: If you’re ball lies within the 10-ft circle in 3 shots, your score is 4.1. No one is allowed to even step in this 10-foot circle unless you’ve holed the putt or need to repair a ball mark. This would practically eliminate most spike marks near the hole, plumb bobbing, lining up putts, marking, re-marking, moving your coin over, and heel prints that truly alter the roll of the putt as it slows near the hole.
I don’t think this is a whacked out idea if you look at the stats on the PGA Tour. Last year Steve Elkington had 595 putts of 5 feet or less. He made 585 of them! Brian Gay had 1024 putts and made 1006 of them! Even the worst guy on Tour made 93.67% from this distance. I suggest adding 10% or some percentage of a shot each time it happens. As a worst case example if it happened 18 times, you’d add 1.8 to your score. Maybe your score at the end of the day would be 82.8. I don’t see a problem with having fractional scoring because it’s the same for all players if agreed to ahead of time.
My thought regarding PGA Tour TV coverage is that using these stats brings up the question why show these people holing out from short range all the time? Show it if they miss from less than 3-feet, but they’re going to make it nearly 100% of the time. Maybe the PGA Tour could potentially use System 1.1 when a group is out of position.
One could make the argument that the above might work for medal play and not for $$ match play games where there is a need to make “pressure” putts within 5 feet. It might be more fun. Ex: You knock your GIR approach to 4 feet on a Par 4 and you score a 3.1…Your opponent sticks it to 6 feet away. If he makes it, he gets a 3 and wins the hole. If he misses, he goes 1-down.
The above proposal in essence is just giving the slow group temporary PGA Tour greens and PGA Tour putting ability. Obviously, the numbers can be adjusted such as an 8-foot circle or adding .2 to your score but I feel something needs to be done to make the game more enjoyable for everyone.
“For the good of the Game”
I miss that guy…