It is a multiple front issue in that the players while claiming they want to play faster do little to actually help the situation. What I mean by this is that they have there phones out always looking at emails, text messages etc and generally not ready to play when it is there turn, bring 1 club to the ball and realize they brought the wrong one, haggle over who’s turn it is putt etc. This adds minutes to each round of every group!
On the other hand, the courses are doing little to assist in the process by not communicating/nor enforcing any pace of play expectations. Faster play is about rewarding for excellence vs the punishment/shame of playing slow. Years ago we offered “free beer” for under 4 hour golf – on a hard course with lots of natural hazards. Some thought a bad idea until we consistently had sub 4 hour golf even on weekends! This concept allowed us to run double tee starts 3 times a day in WI. The success of this program was the starters on both tees, Course Marshall’s who actually moved players ahead (if needed) and the carrot of free beverages upon completion. Using this combination, we increased rounds of golf along with the enjoyment of it for all players to play faster plus the food and beverage $ increase was phenomenal as the true cost of a pitcher of soda/beer is minimal in the big picture of additional players on the course and the revenue created with by them.
Some of the new rule changes can help but until the Tours get serious about this subject why should the players at local courses get excited when it pertains to <5 hour golf. What about <4 hour golf?