Optimizing System Process Times: Improving Golf Course Throughput and Pace of Play Through Course Layout / Design

Topics: Golf, United States Golf Association, Tee Pages: 14 (3821 words) Published: May 31, 2013
Optimizing System Process Times: Improving Golf Course Throughput and Pace of Play Through Course Layout / Design

G. Wong
EM-681, Simulation Techniques and Applications
University of New Haven, West Haven, Connecticut


Pace of Play, or the speed at which golfers complete a round of golf, has become an important factor for both golf course managers and the players themselves.
The purpose of project was to examine whether or not course design and difficulty play a part in pace of play. Because a golf course is similar to a manufacturing process (i.e. a terminal system) it be analyzed using simulation modeling.


The United States Golf Association (USGA) announced on February 2nd, 2013 that they would be developing a broad set of initiatives to improve the pace of play and thus result in increased golf course revenues. In 2002, golf courses in the United States produced $17.4 billion (US Economic Census 2002) with the majority of this revenue coming from the fees charged for playing a round of golf. Generally, golf courses are limited to daylight operating times and as such it is crucial that the amount of golfers playing throughout the day is increased. The only way this can be accomplished is by reducing the amount of time it takes to play a round of golf (i.e. cycle time). From the customers’ perspective reducing the amount of time it takes to play a round of golf would increase enjoyment of the game and address the golfers need for time.

In this project, it is proposed that improvements in cycle time can be achieved by designing or modifying the course to have a faster cycle time rather than changing the behavior of the golfers or golf course management.

Slow play of golf (i.e. pace of play that is large) is one of the main reasons why many golfers leave the game. Slow play also reduces course cycle time which reduces revenue. Therefore, the objective of this project was to reduce course cycle time and increase revenue by designing the course layout and difficulty to have a shorter cycle time rather than modifying the behavior of the golfers. The metric to be used for acceptable pace of play is the goal set forth by the USGA initiatives to have achieve an average cycle time for a round of golf to be 4.5 hours or 2hours and 15 minutes for 9 holes.

The ProModel® computer suite was used to construct the model. There were severaltwo models utilized. 1. The baseline model which is the current condition which consists of a centralized clubhouse between the front and back 9 and a course layout as it exists today.

2. Once the baseline’s output was analyzed changes were made to optimize the system. The first was to optimize specific hole’s handicap / difficulty to allow for faster flow through identified bottle necks. The next modification of the model involved a complete redesign of the layout of the course to test the hypothesis that course layout would have an effect on cycle time. The third modification to the model involved changing the capacity of holes where bottle necks were especially problematic. Finally, once the model was optimized to meet the requirements set forth by the USGA, a runtime interface was used to analyze different tee time intervals to see if this had any effect on pace of play and how much gains were realized in revenues to the golf course.

An optimized version which places comfort stations strategically on the course and changes the layout of the course such that the first hole is a par 5 hole and a high handicap hole (easier). Data on arrivals, average handicaps, and course yardage/handicap will be obtained from Shennecossett G.C.


Figure 1. A VSM of Shennecossett G.C.

The model focuses on how much time it takes for a group of four golfers to play a round of golf. The average...
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