While We’re Young Press Release
USGA Leads Movement to Improve
Pace of Play
“While We’re Young”
The new initiative includes an education program, a pledge for golfers, an online Resource Center, and a series of PSAs featuring Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer and Annika Sorenstam
By USGAJune 12, 2013
The United States Golf Association today unveiled a new public education campaign around the theme of “While We’re Young,” a new positioning to raise awareness across the golf community of the challenges and solutions to the pace-of-play issues in the game of golf. Borrowing the iconic line from the character played by Rodney Dangerfield in the classic 1980 film Caddyshack®, the campaign takes a lighthearted and comedic approach to encourage golfers of all skill levels and golf course facilities to join a movement to improve pace of play and reduce the time it takes to play the game.
According to industry research, the time that it takes to play golf is a principal driver that adversely impacts enjoyment of and discourages participation in the game. In a recent study by the National Golf Foundation (NGF), 91 percent of serious golfers are bothered by slow play and say it detracts from their golf experience; more than 70 percent believe pace of play has worsened over time; and half acknowledged that they walked off the course due to frustration over a marathon round of golf. USGA research shows that the golfer is just one component within a complex, integrated system that determines pace of play in the game. Golf course design, course setup and player management also contribute to longer playing time.
“Pace of play has become a strategic priority for the USGA, and part of a larger leadership agenda to address the issues that threaten the long-term health of the game,” said USGA President Glen D. Nager. “Our new campaign underscores a commitment to educate golfers and golf facility managers in a fun and engaging manner about all the factors that contribute to pace of play and the role they can have in implementing practical solutions to the problem.”
The USGA will debut a total of five public service announcements, featuring three-time U.S. Open champion Tiger Woods, 1960 U.S. Open champion and golf icon Arnold Palmer, Academy Award®–winning actor/director Clint Eastwood, three-time U.S. Women’s Open champion Annika Sorenstam, 2010 U.S. Women’s Open champion Paula Creamer, and famed American golf instructor Butch Harmon. The series of PSAs can be viewed at www.usga.org/whilewereyoung.
“Pace of play is a big issue. Rounds of golf take too long and no one enjoys it,” said Woods. “‘While we’re young’ is part of the golfing vocabulary, and Caddyshack is iconic in our sport. This campaign is lighthearted, but it also shows that we need to pick up the pace of play.”
“I think this campaign will have a huge impact with golfers because the message is fun,” said Creamer. “But the issue of slow play is serious, and in reality we all want to say, ‘Hey, while we’re young.’”
“We’re losing a lot of players because it takes too long to play, and it’s something we have to address,” said Harmon. “This campaign is going to have a great impact on the game. We made it a lot of fun, but slow play is not funny. It’s a serious issue and I hope the golfing public gets the message.”
The USGA campaign is being supported through its partnerships with the LPGA, The PGA of America, and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, who are lending the expertise of their members to develop content for the education program.
The campaign also enjoys the support of state and regional golf associations throughout the country, which play a critical role in educating and engaging four million golfers at the local level.The campaign will debut at the 2013 U.S. Open Championship, and will air throughout the summer on broadcast network and national cable channels during coverage of the 2013 U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Senior Open and U.S. Amateur on NBC, ESPN and Golf Channel. The TV spots will also run during broadcasts of non-USGA golf events, thanks to promotional support from the LPGA and The PGA of America.
Each PSA will direct people to www.usga.org/whilewereyoung, a newly created microsite where golfers and facility managers can sign a pledge to take personal measures to improve pace of play. Those who take the pledge will be enrolled in the USGA Pace of Play Education Program, which includes videos, quizzes and other resources that cover the fundamental causes and solutions to slow play from both a player and golf course facility perspective. Once the education program is completed, participants will receive a downloadable certificate acknowledging their role as a USGA-certified pace of play ambassador.
In addition to the campaign, the USGA has introduced a new online Pace of Play Resource Center on www.usga.org for golf facilities and players. The Resource Center serves as an authoritative repository for educational information about pace of play, including case studies and best practices on ways golf course facilities can address factors such as hole length, routing, green speeds, rough height, and operations to improve pace of play. The site also provides tips for individual golfers seeking to expand their knowledge of the issue and improve their own playing habits, including information on alternative formats like nine-hole rounds that take less time to play.
“Although our industry has tried to address pace of play for decades, we believe the issue can only be addressed successfully if we collaboratively pursue solutions that consider the full set of factors that influence pace – the actions of golfers, the ways we design and manage golf courses, and the influence of the elite competitive game,” said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. “This new campaign illustrates the USGA’s energetic and action-oriented approach to pursuing worthwhile endeavors that serve the best interests of the game moving forward.”
The USGA campaign is part of a larger, multifaceted initiative that was announced in February 2013 to identify the causes and solutions regarding pace-of-play issues in the game. This USGA-led program includes: an analysis of key factors known to influence pace of play; the development of a pace-of-play model based on USGA-led research and quantifiable data; improvements to the USGA Pace Rating System; on-site assistance at golf courses to help managers assess and improve pace of play; and the creation of player- and facility-education programs.
In addition to broadcast network and cable television, the USGA campaign is being supported by an integrated mix of digital media, social media and public relations.
An integrated team of agencies, led by Jimmy Siegel Creative Services, ADDigital, Platinum Rye Talent and Dentino Marketing, worked with the USGA to develop the new campaign and microsite.
While We’re Young Campaign
During the 2013 US Open at Marion Golf Club, Glen Nager of the USGA announced the “While We’re Young” campaign in an effort to bring awareness to Pace of Play and to encourage golfers to play faster and enjoy the game more.
The new initiative includes an education program, a pledge for golfers, an online Resource Center, and a series of PSAs featuring Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer and Annika Sorenstam.
The USGA has created a pledge for golfers to sign up and commit to do their part in improving pace of play.
THE PACE OF PLAY PLEDGE
Please join the USGA in our campaign to stamp out long playing times and end slow play. Sign our Pace of Play Pledge and help us make the game more fun and more enjoyable for everyone.
When you sign the pledge, you will be enrolled in a six-part educational program that will teach you the fundamental causes of slow play and suggest ways to improve your personal pace of play.
My Pace of Play Pledge
As one who loves golf, I understand my critical role in improving pace of play.
I will examine my own habits on the golf course to identify ways that I can pick up the pace.
I will Tee It Forward and play from the set of tees best suited to my driving distance, in an effort to speed up play and have more fun.
I will practice “ready golf” during stroke play; I will hit when I am ready to play, but only when it is safe to do so.
I will serve as an example for those around me and I will strive to inspire and guide my fellow golfers to improve their pace of play.
I understand that golf course design and setup can affect pace of play, and I promise to support those who manage the facilities where I play to find solutions for optimizing pace of play.
I will seek out a golf professional to help me improve my game and my pace of play.
I will embrace opportunities to play nine holes when my schedule doesn’t allow for an 18-hole round.
I will encourage others to take the Pace of Play Pledge, for the good of the game.
I will play more quickly, play better and have more fun!
Click to Commit to the Pledge
Ed Gowan with Carl Pettersson
The AGA’s own Ed Gowan was the rules official following the group of Carl Pettersson during the first round of the US Open when he was forced to stop himself in mid-swing when a fellow competitor’s ball from another fairway struck and moved Carl’s ball.
Here’s his account of the situation as it unfolded:
“Carl Pettersson was having a tough day at Merion. Although he was hitting the ball well, it seemed every bounce went the wrong way: running down a slope into the rough, just missing the green with a bad bounce, typical “bad luck” for the Open. Then on the long par 4 5th hole, he crushed a drive into the center of the steeply slanting fairway. When he addressed the ball for his second shot, from out of nowhere came a ball bouncing toward him.
I was standing in the rough about forty yards away as the ball came into our vision, a tee shot from the adjacent 2nd hole, at least sixty yards off-line. Just as Carl was in his final waggle before swinging (I don’t think he had begun to swing…but possibly so), moving his club from behind his ball, the other ball made perfect contact, knocking his ball at least fifteen feet away.
All in the group flinched, and Carl looked over with a quizzical expression, “What do I do now?” It was a simple ruling, ‘a ball at rest moved by an outside agency’ – just replace it in the original position if known. That was a question for a moment, was the original position identifiable? Carl didn’t know, and as I told him then he would have to drop as near as possible with no penalty, his caddie pointed out the depression in the wet fairway of his clubhead where he had addressed the ball – no question where the original spot was, and he then placed the ball there and played…making a par in spite of the adrenalin rush.
This has probably happened before, but the timing was exquisite. Two more seconds, and the “what if’s” would have been legion – hitting both balls, hitting the wrong one first, missing the ball altogether; then, was it a stroke or not? It could have gone on for some time before a decision could be reached.
Walking as a referee at the Open Championship is a true delight – a spectator for most of the time, and occasionally a quick reference for players in need.”
If you don’t see the video below, click here to view..notice the Rules official toward the end of the clip!
Play it Forward Weekend
GOLFERS ENCOURAGED TO TEE IT FORWARD
to make golf more fun
Playing faster, scoring better, hitting more lofted irons into greens, improving pace of play and having more fun on the golf course are at the heart of the TEE IT FORWARD Campaign jointly promoted by The PGA of America and the United States Golf Association.
“Golf is a game that should be fun to play, but many golfers make it far too hard by playing from distances that don’t match up to their abilities,” said Nicklaus. “I encourage everyone playing golf on June 22-23 to move up and give TEE IT FORWARD a try. They’ll find the game much more enjoyable…and maybe they’ll even make a few more pars and birdies along the way.”
During TEE IT FORWARD Weekend, many golf facilities will be hosting special events and actively asking golfers to play from shorter distances. However, even if their course is not hosting an event, golfers are still encouraged to simply move up and play from more forward tees than normal. TEE IT FORWARD is universal to golfers of all ages and abilities and can be practiced on any course at any time.
While TEE IT FORWARD Weekend will highlight the initiative on June 22-23, The PGA and the USGA would like to see golfers TEE IT FORWARD throughout the year. Golfers who gave this a try in 2012 reported positive results, with 56 percent playing faster and indicating they will play golf more often. More than 80 percent hit more lofted clubs into greens and 85 percent had more fun. And 93 percent said they planned to continue to TEE IT FORWARD.
The PGA and USGA are asking golfers to tweet about their TEE IT FORWARD experiences using the hashtag, #teeitforward.
More information about TEE IT FORWARD and registered facilities can be found at www.PlayGolfAmerica.com.
Find out More and locate participating golf courses
Aquimo Virtual Tournament
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