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USGA: "While We're Young"

After years of complaining that the USGA wasn't doing anything to help the game, I think it's safe to say the launch of the Pace of Play initiative on Wednesday should quiet critics (like me) that they aren't doing their part to help the sport.

Brendan Moehler has a nice write up on the concept (with quotes from USGA President Glen Nager).  The "while we're young" campaign is in the early stages from the point of view of practical solutions, but is very strong in the PSA department with the likes of Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Annika Sorenstam and Clint Eastwood filming spots that you'll be sick of by mid-summer.

"When we do our research to see what's causing slow play at the recreational level, it's not because people are imitating professionals," said USGA President Glen Nager in an exclusive interview with "It's because they're playing from the wrong set of tees, or the greens at their course are too fast, or the hole locations are bad, or the rough is so high that they can't find their ball."

Adam Schupak reported on the press conference and noted that all stats say this is a cause golfers will appreciate.

You can view the initiative's website here.

I don't believe I'm in the minority in believing the program risks credibility issues if the USGA fights this notion of a crackdown on pace in the pro game as not important to the cause. Most obvious is the USGA's excellent time station system that has returned sanity to round time at their other events, but which has not been implemented at the US Open.

Nager was asked by yours truly if that is something on the USGA radar.

The Tiger spot.

The Palmer spot.

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Reader Comments (18)

If Clint had had an empty chair next to him on the tee box that he was talking to it would have made the Palmer spot much funnier.
06.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRickABQ
I liked all the spots, including the 2 with the ladies - Annika and Paula C - maybe they will bring them out in a few weeks during the Women's Open. Regarding the Arnold Palmer Bev Cart one, I thought one of the unintentional problems that it indicated was having 3 guys standing on the tee waiting for someone else, presumably because it was his turn. In recreational golf, I think the faster you do away with "honors" or even who is away (except if it is obvious and/or it coincides with who is ready) the better. I've seen guys on the tee try and trace back 2 or 3 holes trying to figure out who is away, which is ridiculous. Just hit the ball, who cares who tees off first ?
06.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Love the look away fear in Arnie's eyes when Clint turns around, especially since it looks like they filmed it Tiger-Rory style with the two of them not even there together.
06.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterNRH
How bout a slow play penalty?
06.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeagle
Great commercials. i commend the USGA for trying. However, i am doubtful they are effective. My experience that most slow golfers think they are fast, or at least not slow. So most people will not think these commercials are directed at them. I think the most effective cure would be to just let us shoot them.
06.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPat
Watch: four guys proceed to the shortest tee ball. Three stand around there while the fourth prepares, then takes his shot. The four then proceed to the next ball and repeat. Scream!!
06.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPasaplayer
They obviously are able to make great commercials, so why aren't they doing it for the women? Annikas and Paulas commercials look as if they were disregarded ideas
06.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRyan
If they don't think the pace of play is impacted by watching pros play, they don't know much.
06.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Ford
"the wrong set of tees, or the greens at their course are too fast, or the hole locations are bad, or the rough is so high that they can't find their ball." Only one of the four reasons is under the direct and immediate control by the golfer. If Mr. Nager's research is correct this campaign won't make much impact.
06.13.2013 | Unregistered Commenterchant
Not sure why everyone thinks these are so great. Yes, they have big and/or likable celebrities. But as a marketing guy, the premise is not clear and why do they make the stars look bad? Another line or 2 of voice over would improve them.
06.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBsoudi
It is a start and somewhat in line with my "public humiliation" recommendations that I have oft posted here, albeit nicer. If it becomes acceptable to call out a slow player in front of his friends things could start to improve.

I saw a Golf Channel interview with Nager, et al, they were the 3 least dynamic guys I have seen, using lawyer speak to address slow play. They looked like the type of guys that take 5 hours to play. I am still available to be the slow play Czar.
Agree with Bsoudi, I saw the Palmer one on TV last night and found it confusing and strange. Not clear at all what they were trying to say.
06.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
To be clear, the one I saw was where the guy asked for an Arnold Palmer from the beverage cart.... the weakest of them all IMO
06.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
I also applaud the initiative, and these are largely funny. However, there is something very odd about the bluest of blue blood USGA using a line from a character in a movie who 1) uses non-conforming clubs, 2) is not very good, 3) uses bets and intimidation, and 4) (and most importantly) calls golf courses one of the two greatest waste of real estate.
06.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe O
Thanks USGA for making a great line from a great movie annoying...
06.13.2013 | Unregistered Commentersevethecomm
I commend the USGA for calling attention to the problem. On the whole, the spots are entertaining, but I'm not optimistic about them having a measurable affect on the target audience. I'm in chant's corner on that.

In my experience, the biggest offenders in slow-play crime are players who ride around in carts the way pre-schoolers play soccer -- like a school of fish chasing the ball.

If i was the czar for a day I'd mandate cart driving licenses. You can't operate one until you learn to drive to the first ball, drop off the player with a few clubs and drive to the second ball. First players hits and returns to the cart while the second player hits.
06.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike T.
Not likely to have much effect.

When public courses start charging by the hour, instead of by the round, things might improve. Punch a clock on #1 tee and again after #18 green. Get a refund of what you paid up front, based on time less than 5 hours.

Other than that, there's no hope.
06.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBud
The Evil Empire strikes again. The primary cause for slow play is that golfers believe that they need to finish every hole to post a score for their handicap. If the USGA is going to advertise about slow play, they need to tell people to PICK UP when they are out of holes when they are playing in a match, which probably represents the overwhelming majority of golf played in the US.
06.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Lewis

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