We have been playing golf for over 30 years, some even longer. We enjoy and respect The Game. We love the fresh air and exercise. We love The Game. We are considerate and observant of golf’s expectations for efficient play and the condition the the courses we play.
What course would not want us as patrons willing to play and pay?
We have had our bad experiences, usually at the hand of golfers who are not quite so mindful or considerate. From those experiences, our appreciation for The Game and the correct way to play it has grown. Ultimately though, our pleasure in playing Golf comes from the enjoyment of playing with good friends on quality golf courses on beautiful days!
However, if you can identify with the pleasures of the game described above, you may want to avoid Bella Vista Golf Club in Gilbertsville, PA!
For my foursome Bella Vista has become a golf course to avoid. The golf course’s current management has completely ruined a very good thing. And for what? A customer service approach that emphasizes speed of play over the Enjoyment of Golf!
The Big Aha: What we did learn was a valuable lesson about the abuses of golf course GPS technology that would make Tony Soprano blanche. The cart-mounted units allow Big Brother to micro-manage golfers like a incentives-crazed production line supervisor.
Our Experience: Teeing off at 0824 on a beautiful June morning, we settled in to enjoy a relaxing day on the golf course.
After some early struggles, our round settled in to a nice rhythm. We were playing our round at a pace not unheard of for a Saturday morning in June. At least in our opinion …
Being well-experienced golfers, we are always mindful of those playing behind us and the drag it can be when waiting around to hit your next shot. But forcing players – to the point of confrontation – to maintain sight of the group ahead can be subjective and unfair, since several factors can magnify any gaps between foursomes.
On this Saturday, we can claim that at no time were the golfers playing immediately behind us ever standing around and waiting to play a shot. In fact, when going over the incredible developments of that day, we could not even remember seeing the trailing foursome after the 2nd or 3rd hole. Only on the 10th tee did we delay our play in the name of Bloody Marys and hotdogs!
Somewhere around the 5th or 6th hole a wandering Course Ranger (Let’s call him Todd.) approached us and advised that we had a hole-and-a-half open in front of us. Not a desirable pace, so we agreed to pick it up as best we could. Again, no golfers waiting behind us. In fact, we could not even see the following foursome.
Fast forward to the 11th hole, when “Todd” approached us again and now DEMANDED that we pick up our pace, claiming that we were holding up the entire flight of golfers behind us. When we pointed back to the 11th tee, where we had been just minutes before, no golfers were visible. Yet “Todd” actually claimed that those golfers – invisible to us on the fairway – were “being polite” (whatever that meant) … apparently wearing camouflage and hiding among the bushes and trees!
When we argued, “Todd” whipped out his iPad and proceeded to show – via a full-color graph – how our pace-of-play was “holding up everyone on the golf course”! So we once again pointed back to the empty 11th tee, and asked him where the hold-up was?
But at least the iPad revealed what the REAL problem was. A data-driven “golf quota”, no doubt fed from cart GPS units to a programmed spreadsheet that fed “Todd’s” tablet and drove him to become a golf course pest of unequaled persistence.
Tony Soprano was right all along! The Authorities could use the cart GPS to harass golfers!
“Take out the GPS. I don’t want the FBI tracking us with it.” – Tony Soprano
“That’s what I like about you, boss; you are always thinking of the big picture.” Paulie Walnuts Gualtieri.
Then the ridiculous turned unbelievable when “Todd” demanded that we SKIP the par-3 12th hole to bring our pace-of-play up to standard! We pointedly demurred as we struggled to determine which episode of “The Twilight Zone” we had stumbled into.
Fast forward to the 13th tee after we ignored the “advice” to skip a hole. And here comes the course superintendent to add in his $0.02, which was more like $4 as he proceeds to argue for 10 minutes. In other words, interrupting our round to preach about pace-of-play while repeatedly stating that he “hated to be out there” harassing his customers.
By now we were disgusted; could not wait to get out of there; realizing we were playing our last round at Bella Vista GC. We have been spreading the word and this ridiculous story ever since!
But let’s review …
1. Yes, nothing screws up a golf round more than playing behind extremely slow golfers and having to wait continuously to play a shot.
2. Our foursome never saw anyone playing behind us, let alone waiting to hit their shots. Not ONCE anywhere during our round, including the roughly 20 minutes during which we were preoccupied by the lunacy of being accused of slowing down the entire golf course!
3. Pace-of-play is a noble concept. But it needs to be pressed judiciously, not a blind data-driven blip on a graph or spreadsheet! Think Gabe Kapler pulling Aaron Nola in the 5th inning on Opening Day!
4. How do you blame golfers for delaying play when none of the foursomes playing behind are being directly held up by your “slow play”! If they were, for any length of time, many golfers will either confront you directly or will take the passive-aggressive approach of “hitting up on you”. Neither occurred this day …
And that’s where we will leave this episode of “The Twilight Show”, Tony Soprano-golfer style.
What we will never do again is play Bella Vista GC. A review of on-line ratings suggest this is not the first time course personnel have made dubious pace-of-play claims that have ruined the good mood, experiences, and monetary investments of area golfers!
Do the smart thing, if you enjoy a relaxing round of golf, and avoid playing at Bella Vista GC in Gilbertsville, PA!