Why pace of play is more important than ever during COVID-19

By Bodo Sieber

CEO and Co-founder, Tagmarshal

One major bright spot in the wake of the pandemic is the positive PR boost and the record number of rounds golf courses are experiencing as golf is proving to be an ideal social distancing outdoor sport. To this end, the USGA conducted some groundbreaking research to unpack what REALLY matters to golfers and what shapes their enjoyment of the game. 

Based on feedback from thousands of golfers, the USGA research confirmed that the two most important experience factors are:

  1. 82% of golfers believe “Course Conditioning” is a crucial enjoyment factor

  2. 74% of golfers believe that “Pace/Flow/Time” is a crucial enjoyment factor

Makes sense – right? If the course is well maintained and a pleasure to play and you’re able to play at a good pace without needing to stop and wait for groups ahead of you, this makes for an enjoyable round. Amplified by the impact of COVID-19, the need for optimal pace, field flow, and safe social distances to be maintained play a key factor for golf courses to manage playing groups and the gap time between them. 

This has posed serious challenges for many courses now operating with significantly smaller teams and experiencing high volumes of play due to the unprecedented demand for rounds right now.  Forward-thinking courses have embraced technology to assist them in effectively and efficiently managing on-course operations including pace and field flow. 

One of these solutions is Tagmarshal’s best of breed golf course intelligence software. Tagmarshal uses a GPS based system to track/monitor movement on-course, using the data insights generated, to optimize the pace of play and field flow as well as maintaining optimal gap intervals. 

With the unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19, Tagmarshal saw an opportunity to utilize what had been designed as a Gap Interval monitor for tournament play into a much-needed tool to ensure daily on-course safety for all golfers. This resulted in an innovative industry-first – the development of Tagmarshal’s Social Distancing Monitor – to manage and maintain optimal social distances between playing groups and proactively prevent players from bunching up on tee boxes. 

For golf courses, this technology means that maintaining optimal gap intervals is easy to manage and report on, if required by authorities such as the CDC, ensuring the course complies with regulations and keeps players safe. By managing these Gap Intervals tightly, courses are able to operate at optimal capacity, ensuring that green fees and revenue are maximized. At the same time, courses are able to deliver exceptional player experiences that build customer loyalty, repeat play, and long-term revenue. 

Having collected over one billion data-points by tracking and improving more than 12 million rounds of golf, Tagmarshal’s breakthrough technology is now being implemented on 30 of the Top 100 courses in America and over 300 courses globally. 

A win-win and good news for golfers and the industry during these difficult times.

View The Golf Insiders article


Tagmarshal, the market leader in on-course optimization technology, provides courses with full, real-time operational oversight and reporting, giving golf operators the tools to manage pace and flow of play effectively, resulting in enhanced player experiences, increased efficiency through automation, and additional revenue generation.

Tagmarshal’s technology has collected over 1 billion data points from more than 50 million rounds of golf and has relationships with in excess of 500 partners, including Hazeltine, Whistling Straits, Baltusrol, Fieldstone, Bandon Dunes, Serenoa and Erin Hills.

Tagmarshal partners with several golf management groups, private, daily fee, public and resort courses, including 35 of the Top 100 US courses, as well as many $30-$50 green fee courses, which are seeing excellent results using the system.