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USGA Pace System

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Introduction & Acknowledgment
Forming a 'Pace of Play' Committee
Features of the USGA PRS
The USGA PR Formula in Brief
How to have your course Pace Rated
How to Take The USGA Pace Rating and Run With It
Resources for Teaching, Managing, and Enforcing Pace of Play
Player Education/Communication
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Setting up Your Course to Play To Its USGA Pace Rating
Questions and Answers About The USGA Pace Rating
Appendix A - The USGA Pace Rating Form PR1

The USGA Pace Rating Formula In Brief

The USGA Pace Rating System uses a formula for establishing time par for each hole on your course. The sum of the time pars for 18 holes will be the Pace Rating for the course. The Pace Rating formula is described in detail in Appendix A. Here are the highlights:

Major Elements of Formula

In arriving at time par for a hole, the formula takes into account these major elements:

Length time. How long is the hole from the tees? A calculation converts the distance to minutes, with a standard four minutes added to each length time for chipping and putting around the green. Length time includes all the time for a group of four players to play the hole, whether walking or riding. Additional time is factored in if carts must be kept on the cart path. An additional four minutes is added if a stop at the "halfway house" of the course may be made after completing the hole.

Obstacle time. Are there difficulties, such as extreme rough, water hazards, trees, bunkers, etc. to overcome? Water hazards automatically add minutes to the obstacle time. Other obstacles add to the time if they present a higher-than-average level of difficulty for an average golfer. A calculation converts the obstacle ratings into minutes.

Green-to-tee distance time. How far is it from the green to the next tee? On a course played by a significant number of walkers, this distance may add to the time par of the previous hole. A calculation converts the measured distance into minutes. Generally, on a course played mostly by riders, no green-to-tee distance time is added. *

Total Time

The total time for a hole is the sum of length time plus obstacle time plus green-to-tee distance time.

Time Par

Time par equals the total time for a hole rounded to the nearest minute.

Pace Rating

Pace Rating equals the sum of the time pars on the course.

*On courses on which carts are required and there are long distances between holes, see page Appendix-10.


Hole 3 is a long hole (472 yards) with a few above-average-difficulty obstacles. It is played mostly by walkers.

Length Time 13.8 Minutes

Obstacle Time 1.4

Green-To-Tee Distance Time 1.3

Total Time 16.5

TIME PAR 17 Minutes

Average (Bogey) Golfers In Groups Of 4

The USGA Pace Rating makes some assumptions about skill and playing conditions:

Play is by golfers who are average or higher-handicapped. The skill of the bogey golfer is considered in determining the length time and obstacle time of a hole. To assure objectivity in judging the difficulty of an obstacle and the effect of hole length on the bogey golfer, the USGA Pace Rating formula uses the obstacle ratings assigned to the course under the USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating procedure.

Conditions of play are "impeded." Impeded means that groups of four are filling all or most of the holes, so that faster or smaller groups cannot play through.

The USGA Pace Rating, calculated according to the formula and based on the assumptions above, answers the question, "How fast should a group of average golfers play on a busy day?" Because the data entered in the USGA Pace Rating procedure are completely USGA Pace Rating is unique for the course.

Generally, the USGA Pace Rating for courses has turned out to be 3:40 to 4:00 hours,although long, difficult courses are coming up with Pace Ratings of more than four hours.


Length Time + Obstacle Time + Green-To-Tee Distance Time = Time Par (rounded to nearest minute)

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