CanadianGolfer.com

Copper Creek guarantees a 4.5 hour round

Yep, you heard it right — Copper Creek, the fine Doug Carrick design north of Toronto is offering golfers a guaranteed 4.5 hour round. If you don’t finish your round in that time, they will give you a “voucher” that can be used for another round. I don’t think that means they are giving you anything free — just a break on the costs of another game.

You can listen to the ad on Toronto radio starting on Monday or by clicking below:

[audio:https://canadiangolfer.com/2015/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/copper_creek_-_4_and_a_half_guarantee_-_april_2009_radio_-_30_-_tag_1.mp3]

What’s the real story here? It is more than just a discount on a round. It is about a course trying to tap into public play in an uncertain market. The notion of offering discounts if a round goes beyond 4.5 hours is interesting — I always thought courses could offer breaks to groups that play in less than a specified time, say 4 hours and 15 minutes. Those who spent more time would pay the going rate.

I assume this will be a spring special only — and have a query out to Chris Neale, director of golf (or “executive golf pro,” as the ad says. Is that like an executive chef?) about what the terms of the arrangement are. Regardless it is a course being creative in trying to attract golfers. Previously Copper Creek was so full (typically upwards of 32,000 rounds each summer) that it was actually very difficult to find a time to play there. I suspect that has changed this year, and now the course is trying to let golfers know there will be availability. How will they enforce the 4.5 hour round? Now that is where they will need to be very inventive.

Update: Chris Neale responds with answers to some of the questions:

We discussed a number of ways of trying to implement such a program. The initial idea was to reward fast play but would likely create mayhem on the course and we weren’t prepared to act as referees between sparring groups. The vouchers will be issued on a graduated scale and we will reward groups playing under four hours. As you know no course compensates you unless you are over about five and a half and then only if you complain loud enough. Our staff is committed to implementing this program but as you are all too aware we will need the commitment of our clients as well. We will upset some people in enforcing this program and quite possibly lose them as clients. My hope is that we will create continued loyalty with the groups behind them.

Additionally, the Copper Creek website now has all the requisite information about the program. And yes, you’ll get a break if you play faster than four hours:

If your round of golf takes longer than FOUR AND A HALF HOURS (4:30) to complete, Copper Creek will compensate you as follows:

4:31 “ 4:45 – $15 Voucher
4:46 “ 5:00 – $20 Voucher
5:01 “ 5:15 – $30 Voucher
5:16 “ 5:45 – $50 Voucher
5:45 or more – $80 Voucher

(Vouchers are for use on your next visit to Copper Creek and will expire at the end of the 2009 season. Only one voucher may be redeemed per visit-per person.)
If you play in LESS THAN FOUR HOURS, you will receive a $20 Voucher
Round time will be measured from the time you leave the tee on your first hole to the time you commence putting on your 18th hole.
All group times will be monitored and recorded throughout the round.
Guarantee is valid only on public tee times.
Guarantee does not apply when delays are caused by inclement weather conditions.
Subject to change without notice.

Player Responsibilities

Players must be at the tee a minimum of 10 minutes before their scheduled tee time.
All players/groups must keep pace with the group in front of them (i.e. in position to hit your next shot when the group in front clears). All groups will have 2 holes to get back on pace after their first warning. A second warning will require that you pick up your ball and physically move back into position. Copper Creek will not be responsible for missed holes should this occur. Players failing to comply with this policy may be asked to leave the golf course.
Play the tees that are appropriate for your ability.
– Red Tees, 25+ index
– White Tees, 15 – 24 index
– Blue Tees, up to 14 index
– Copper Tees, under 5 index and with approval from Pro Shop
Failure to comply will void the guarantee.

We appreciate your efforts in helping us to maintain a healthy pace of play. We are committed to ensuring that the day is enjoyable for you and the golfers behind you.

I’ll be intrigued at seeing if the course really will ask golfers to pick up their balls and move to the next hole. I hope that is the case, but pardon me for being a touch skeptical.

Related Articles

About author View all posts Author website

Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

23 CommentsLeave a comment

  • So let me get this straight: If I take longer than 4.5 hours to play my round, I get a discount next time I play?? Hmm…. I better plumb-bob my three-footer again, just to make sure of the break…

  • Very interesting? I can see a lot of people dogging the last few holes!
    It wouldn’t work in Scotland, 4.5 hours includes lunch here. Our Kittocks Course (former Devlin) takes an average of just over four hours and is considered long. We can get up to 4.5 hours when we have a lot of cart play.
    The Torrance averaged 3. 5 hours and reopens in July. It’s a walking only course and the people’s favourite.
    4.5 hours seems quick for an average, good luck. How many repeats will they allow?

  • Good for you Copper Creek…make the game better! However…maybe the voucher you go to the golfer that plays in under 4..?

  • Good attempt at “doing something”, however, they should reward those plaing in UNDER 4.5hrs.

    Rewarding golfers for taking more than 4.5hrs will result in unintended consequences!

  • RT,

    I am surprised that a man with your golf knowledge and connections does not know what an Executive Professional is….yet you know what an Executive Chef is….

    Maybe you should also write a food blog

  • I’m sure that to qualify you would have to finish right behind the group you started behind. They won’t be giving this to the cause of the problems.

    My bet is that the course marshals will ensure there are few payouts. Which, of course, is a good thing.

  • I’d love to finish in 4 – 4.5 hours, but isn’t the issue usually more about who’s in front of you?

    Even if I am playing fast I’d have trouble finishing in that time because of the backup. People here in Ontario are generally very adverse to letting someone else play through, unless its an extreme circumstance.

  • is this topic seriously getting this much run on here, while arguably the boldest golf course design/build in the past decade gets 3 comments??

    weak. i’m in toronto, but still think you’re all too toronto-centric.

  • RT

    The CPGA distinguishes an Executive Pro a someone who is directly responsible for at least two departments (golf, FNB, Turf, etc) and also employs a Head Professional

    It really benefits large facilities that have a GM who is CPGA

  • I agree, you have really given back a tonn of golf creditabilty in my eyes….the CPGA only has a few classes of employment….and you dont understand the TOP status of Exec Professional…LOL….too funny….your a joke.

  • This is not rewarding players for slow play as some have noted above. As the press release states – “All players/groups must keep pace with the group in front of them (i.e. in position to hit your next shot when the group in front clears). All groups will have 2 holes to get back on pace after their first warning. A second warning will require that you pick up your ball and physically move back into position. Copper Creek will not be responsible for missed holes should this occur. Players failing to comply with this policy may be asked to leave the golf course.”

    When players follow this rule, there is no reward for slow play as slow players would not be following the above guideline. However, if the first group of the day plays a 5 hour round, then the club will have plenty of vouchers to hand out. In that case, the marshalls have failed the club….and all the players behind that first slow group.

  • Weekend Enthusiast:

    What you have described is the status quo., In other words 5 or 6 hour rounds.

    I think they should do the reverse: give out vouchers for people playing in less than 4.5 hours and let the golfers look after speeding up the people in front.

    I absolutely do not believe that the marshalls alone can spur those slowpoke golfers up on their own.

    I have seen it for many years, and as you say, the first group sets the pace.

    When a recognized slow group tries to book an early tee time, they should be denied the early time and be put near the “crossover”

  • Wow $15 voucher on a $170 round that’s grrrreat….why don’t they just pay the marshalls to do their job properly instead of driving around smiling at everyone…
    Go get a marshalling lesson from Freddie at Silver Lakes…gently reminds you to get your a$$ in gear when your starting to lag, forecaddies on par 5’s and turns his radio off while you’re hitting….I’ve never have played there in over 4 1/2 even on a busy day.

  • Grumpy:

    I respectfully disagree. I interpret what Copper Creek is doing is enforcing the existing process with the goal of changing the status quo and offering a coupon if they are not successful.

    While I agree coupons for fast play is a good idea, allowing public golfers who do not know each other to police themselves is asking for trouble. I can only imagine how many lawsuits will be initiated from golfers hit by the knuckleheads in the group behind them trying to get them to speed up….likely in cases where there is nowhere to go for the forward group but the knuckleheads are going after the dollars…

    Interestingly in the men’s locker room at Muirfield in Scotland, there is bulletin complaining about slow play. The essence of the note is “play within 3.5 hours. Simply keeping up with a slow group in front of you is no excuse for a round taking longer than 3.5 hours”…in other words…and what is not said but implied is…hit into a slow group in front of you, yell at them, play through, do whatever but play in 3.5 hrs. This works in a private club…not so much in a public setting.

  • Weekend Enthusiast:

    Interestingly in the men’s locker room at Muirfield in Scotland, there is bulletin complaining about slow play. The essence of the note is “play within 3.5 hours. Simply keeping up with a slow group in front of you is no excuse for a round taking longer than 3.5 hours”…in other words…and what is not said but implied is…hit into a slow group in front of you, yell at them, play through, do whatever but play in 3.5 hrs. This works in a private club…not so much in a public setting.

    I take it you think the members at the private club will not sue each other?

    Allowing the slow players to set the rate of play without being chased or chastised or yelled at does not work, we all know that.

    I don’t think we are getting anywhere, so I will give up.

  • Grumpy:

    The issue with a private club where members know each other is that they will not hit into the group ahead potentially causing lawsuits….but they will use other means to get everyone going. There is not the same pressure or culture in a public course environment. So, having a 3rd party (Marshalls) perform that function (keeping people on pace) is what works…if Marshalls do their job (which as we know most do not). CC should be complemented for their efforts in this regard especially offering up coupons if they are not successful.

Leave a Reply

/* ]]> */