LIKE THOSE AT MOST clubs and courses around the country, golfers at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest talk a lot about pace of play. Their interest might be higher than most places since the club doesn’t offer reserved starting times.

In an attempt to have more concrete data on the subject, the club began to use Tagmarshal in mid-summer. Tagmarshal is a new information-gathering system using portable GPS-like units. The club secured a block of 40 units to disseminate to caddies at the all-walking facility. “It’s more than just a way for us to monitor play and see how things are going,” said head professional Jeff Mory.

“It’s allowed us to see how our pace of play is, or allowed us to make rangering more effective, or if we have a rain delay, to see where people are on the golf course. Just as important, it allows us to give members real-time information, not speculation.”

While Tagmarshal hasn’t necessarily led to a dramatic improvement in pace of play, it has provided irrefutable evidence of every round played at the club. That’s been beneficial to golf shop personnel, who are the ones who customarily perform marshalling duties and the first to hear any post-round grumbling from players.

“When the caddie crosses the threshold at the first tee, we know exactly what time the round began,” explained Mory. “Because we don’t have starting times, sometimes a player gets to the course, maybe hits some balls, has a bite to eat and really doesn’t know exactly when they started and how long a round takes. We also can more effectively tell where the problems occur and show people, whether it’s on a phone or tablet, where every player is in the space of time. It’s a more effective means of communication.”

Tagmarshal has shown to be beneficial in other areas that affect the time it takes players to get around 18 holes.

“We found that when you increase your green speed by a foot, that adds 10-15 minutes, on average,” said Mory. “Grow the rough an inch higher and that adds another 10-15 minutes. All this information helps us communicate with our members, and it removes all the subjectivity beyond, ‘This guy is slow,’ or ‘That guy is slow.’ ” — Rich Skyzinski

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