Pinehurst and Tagmarshal – Post Tournament prep 


While the USGA knows how to test the best players in the world for one week, Pinehurst Resort—with 10 regulation courses and tens of thousands of golfing guests—has to know its customers, correlating their desires with their abilities the other 51 weeks as well as next year and the years after.  

 When the world’s top golfers descend upon storied Pinehurst No. 2 to compete in the U.S. Open Championship, June 13-16, they will take on a golf course that has been set up to exacting specifications especially for them. 

When the complex returns to resort play, among the questions for Pinehurst’s golf staff: What is the optimal pace for a resort round? How fast should the greens be to create that pace while providing an exciting experience? Which holes can help pick up the pace, and which ones add to the delay? How do select hole positions affect the pace of play? 

All those answers, and many more, are provided by Tagmarshal, the world leader in optimizing on-course operations and pace-of-play management through data-driven software. For the past 7 seven years, Pinehurst Resort has used Tagmarshal to track every round on courses No. 2 and No. 4, amassing millions of data points that show how changes in conditions affect the player experience. 

“We consider ourselves a living laboratory,” explains Matt Barksdale’s, Pinehurst Resort’s Director of Golf, “and we’re continually trying to improve. As a result, Tagmarshal is a great catalyst for us to understand what we’re putting in place, providing quantitative analysis of what is working and why it’s working.” 

With the U.S. Open coming to No. 2, most of the attention has been to getting the course ready for the best golfers in the world, a process that the USGA began some 18 months ago. But for Barksdale and his staff, it’s just as important that the Donald Ross-designed gem be in perfect condition for resort golfers as soon as possible. And this year, there’s an added twist. 

Just one week after the Open finishes, the resort will host both the men’s and women’s North & South Championships, among the most prestigious amateur tournaments in the country. The two events, which will be held simultaneously, will be held on two courses, including No. 2: Contestants who play practice and tournament rounds on No. 2 will face the same conditions that the U.S. Open players faced, including green speeds of 13.  

As soon as these big events are through, the process of bringing No. 2 back begins. (Also, immediately after the North & South, golfers looking for a real challenge can experience near-major-championship conditions on No. 2 for a few weeks.) After all the tents and grandstands are removed, the areas and grass and sod that were trampled on for weeks must be reestablished. At the same time, the greens will start growing back, eventually reaching speeds of 10.5 to 11, which will bring the average round time down to 4:40.  

That standard—what Barksdale calls “championship level for resort guests”—was derived by Tagmarshal crunching years of data on rounds over No. 2.   

“For us to have that information both previous to and post-U.S. Opens gives us concrete evidence that we are back to normal playing conditions from a flow and pace-of-play standpoint,” Barksdale explains. “Tagmarshal gives us a barometer to get to the appropriate outcome.” 

 

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