The volunteer-manned program will seek to evaluate start times at the Recreation Centers of Sun City golf courses, and include “time pars” on new scorecards to increase pace of play. Another goal of the program is to reduce infractions of course policy, giving rangers the authority to issue citations for violations that could result in fines and suspension of course use.
Sun City, Ariz., golfers will see an enhanced presence on the Recreation Centers of Sun City (RCSC) courses after the board approved a new Golf Ranger program, the Sun City Independent reported.
The volunteer-manned program is not unfamiliar to community golfers, as similar programs have been attempted in the past. However, some new focus is included in the new program that will determine an appropriate pace of play, according to General Manager Brian Duthu. “We put in this one an element of self-governance to let people decide what their pace of play is,” Duthu said.
One aspect of the program in the first year will be to evaluate start times at RCSC’s seven golf courses to ensure they are not being overloaded. Trials will be conducted this month. When new scorecards are ordered, they will include “time pars” and these will be measured on each course with the use of time par clocks, the Independent reported.
“If the time clocks prove as beneficial as they have at courses around the country, they should be helpful,” Duthu said. “The United States Golf Association is working on a big pace of play initiative.”
C&RB reported on pace-of-play programs built on the momentum created by the USGA’s “While We’re Young” campaign in the January 2014 issue (“It’s All About Time”).
While improving the pace of play is one element of the program at RCSC, the outline presented to the board in December listed reducing the number of infractions of course and board policy as another goal. Volunteer Golf Rangers will have the authority to issue citations for violations. These could result in fines and suspension of course use, according to the program outline, the Independent reported.
“I believe the ranger program is necessary due to many people that play too slow, trying to act like they are golf pros,” golfer Doug Sedlow, Sr., said. “Fines and suspensions, I believe, are appropriate for violations of rules and code of conduct because most people don’t understand a verbal reprimand, you need to take money from their pockets to get them to heed the rules.”
Golfer Ken Svee agreed. However, he believes a solution is to limit groups to four players. “I have never played at any other course that allows groups of five before coming here,” Svee said.
Alex Lawrence welcomes the changes because golfers who are unnecessarily slow create a long round of golf for other players. “When it is very hot or cold out, that makes it even worse,” Lawrence said. “Unfortunately, there has to be fines and suspensions after fair warning.”
While citations can be issued, Duthu said the program’s approach will be geared toward customer service rather than as “course cops.” Citations will be given as warnings for the first offense. All citations will be turned in to the golf director, who will then distribute them to Ranger volunteers to identify repeat offenders, the Independent reported.
Golfers will have the opportunity to appeal a fine to the greens committee, but they must pay the fine before they can play again on any Sun City course, regardless of the status of the dispute. A greens committee decision can be appealed to the RCSC Golf Advisory Committee, whose decision is final, the Independent reported.
Golfers facing suspension cannot play on RCSC courses until after the hearing and any suspension time is completed, according to the outline. Golfers approached by a Golf Ranger are required to provide their identity or face a fine. Other players in the group could also be fined if they do not provide the golfer’s identity, the Independent reported.
Fines for category I offenses are $15 for a first offense, $25 for a second and $50 for a third. Category II infraction fines are $50, $75 and $100, the Independent reported.
Some residents disagree with the program in varying ways. Svee said there should not be fines, but after a certain number of warnings suspension is appropriate. Jacquie Rose, who does not golf, said fines and suspensions are inappropriate in a retirement community, the Independent reported.
“If people move here for the pleasures of playing golf, they should not be kept from pursuing their pleasures,” Rose said.
Ken Gegg said golf should be a relaxing pastime and not a game where players are more focused on counting their opponent’s strokes before their own. “I have been here a total of 17 years and rangers have been tried many times,” Gegg said. “It is a waste of time.”
Tom O’Hara said the program has little to do with the pace of play, rather he sees it solely as a revenue generating mechanism. Better solutions, O’Hara said, would be requiring golfers to check their cell phones and tablets at the pro shop when they sign up for their tee time, the Independent reported.
At least two rangers would staff each course if the manpower allows, Duthu said. There are about 16 rangers from previous programs ready to serve, and RCSC has made a call for more, the Independent reported.