Pro View | Slow Play with Rich Pace

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With restricted daylight now upon us for the foreseeable future, and the same amount of golfers wanting to play, I am sure we will all be hearing and discussing Slow Play in the bar after we have played.

We will all have observed the following situation. The group in front have lost a clear hole on the group ahead, however are reluctant, even oblivious to the situation in front, and more importantly behind them.

Because your focus becomes on the speed of play, and not what you are doing, your performance and enjoyment of your time on the golf course is dented, leaving you frustrated and your score in tatters.

I have no issues with a golfer who takes their time fully preparing for their shot, indeed as a coach I would prefer a player to do this, and execute a shot to the best of their ability, but that does not mean that a golfer should not be ready to play their shot when it is their turn.

In its Major Championships, The R&A employs a ‘Pace of Play’ policy. The first player of a group (from the tee, fairway or on the green) has 50 seconds to execute their shot. The second player has 40 seconds and any subsequent players within that group has 30 seconds!

That does not sound an awful lot of time to prepare and execute a golf shot, but given that the preparation should have taken place while other golfers are playing, 30 seconds is a huge amount of time to complete a golf shot given that in reality a swing takes approximately 1.5 seconds!

Although not a Rule of Golf, the R&A suggest that golf club committee’s should employ a similar policy within their own competitions. Unfortunately due to the lack of marshall’s and referees at a golf club on a weekend, this recommendation solely relies on self-regulation.

As a result, many golfers play at their ‘own pace’ and if they hold up golfers in doing so, so be it.

We all know that golfers tend to play better when thinking of as little as possible, so my question would be……

What are you doing for the rest of those 28.5 seconds?

Apart from all taking responsibility for speeding up our own games, what else can we do to improve speed of play.

  1. Be prepared to hit your shot. You do not need to stand with your playing partners while they hit their shot, then stand and talk to them about it. Move towards your ball so you can keep the flow of the game going
  2. Mark you scorecard on the next tee. After you have played the hole, walk to the next tee and before you hit your tee shot, mark your card. I see too many golfers hanging around on the green without the need, those 15 seconds can add up over the course of a round
  3. Place your bag on the way to the next tee. I often see golfers leaving their bags at the front of the green, taking more time to clear the green for the following group
  4. Keep an eye on the clock. If you are looking for a ball, remember you are only allowed 5 minutes from when you arrive in your search area. If you are not sure whether you have lost a ball or not, HIT A PROVISIONAL

For your own enjoyment, and the enjoyment of every other golfer on the course behind you, remember the old adage ‘Keep up with the game in front, not keep ahead of the game behind’. More importantly however if everyone in your group plays just 10 seconds quicker per hole, that could add up to a round that will be 12 minutes quicker overall!

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