A different perspective on slow play dominates Super Golfonomics by Stephen Shmanske. The second chapter is called “The Economics of Slow Play”. The third chapter is called “Golf Course Waiting: The Good, the Bad …”. The fourth chapter is called “Golf Course Waiting: … and the Ugly”. Shmanshe is more concerned with how the owner of the golf course can sweat the asset. This is not surprising as economists tend not to see particular individuals as the primary cause of problems. Monopolists might be bad for economic performance but it does not matter if the monopolist is called Mr Holmes or Mr DeChambeau.
The shot clock is not as obvious a solution in golf as it was in college basketball after the North Carolina and Virginia game of March 1982. It is the type of solution that economists like. It is straight forward and easy to apply. Moreover, it applies equally to all teams. Given the variety of shots in a round of golf, a shot clock is not as neat a solution in that sport. Where a shot clock, and an associated time limit, is introduced then there is the issue of the appropriate time limit.
Time limits and shot clocks have started to play a greater role in tennis. Looking at the research presented in a 2019 Journal of Sports Analytics paper one wonders why this is the case. The paper examines first serves in the 2016 Australian Open – excluding exceptional events and circumstances. Only 2 out of the 2034 time-rule violations were penalised. Only 2. And these were not the worst offenders in terms of time. Is it the case that umpires do not see time violations as a problem? Or are they unwilling and/or not capable of implementing the rule?
“A closer look at the prevalence of time rule violations and the inter-point time in men’s Grand Slam tennis” shows that physiological and tactical considerations influence the time taken. The first may be subconscious whereas the latter is deemed to conscious. But the highest impact on time taken is the identity of the individual player. The authors note that it is a “well-accepted public perception that some players take more time between points”. The same can be said of golf.