Pace of play is a hot topic in 2014, from the USGA to the R&A, slow play is the discussion point in the upper echelons of the game. For many, 5 or 6 hour rounds are becoming the norm in the amateur game. Like an infection it has also spread throughout the professional game, which to some extent must shoulder some of the blame. Habits such as their fantastical pre shot routines and Jedi mind control techniques (‘a la’ Jason Day) can now be seen at a course near you. What ever happened to ‘grip it and rip it’?
Here are 3 tips on things or people to avoid to stop those long rounds:
1. Beware the wayward golfer
This is the most obvious one, when golfers zig zag up a hole, hacking their way to the green before 3 putting. They are easy to spot though with common phrases like, ‘It’s been a while since I last played, put me down for 18’. Often they think they’re off 6 but struggle to break a 100.
2. Courses with nicknames like ‘The Blue Monster’
‘A bad workman always blames his tool’ and in this respect it is easy to blame tough course designs and thick rough. Don’t pretend to be a single figure handicapper if you’re not, play within yourself. However often courses try to squeeze too many people on…best to avoid peak times.
3. The Tour Pro Wannabe
Finally the most annoying of all, golfers with 60 second practice routines. Pros such as Kevin Na (as seen here!http://po.st/KevinNaWhiff) aren’t setting a great example with his whiffs and Adam Scott’s impression of Spock is truly bizarre. We have all seen the 25-handicapper who waits for the green to clear on a par-five, 240 yards away, before dribbling his shot 50 yards.
Without doubt slow play is having an impact on the popularity of golf and causing a barrier to entry for people starting up. Golf doesn’t need to take 6 hours and we should all promote how to avoid these obvious issues and get to the root of the problem.
The final word. A person (who shall remain anonymous) entered a knockout matchplay competition at his local club to avoid domestic duties on the weekend. His wife at the time who was pregnant, wanted help at home. One day in a needle match and on an unusually long round his wife went into labour. With money at stake and a few holes still left to play he completed the round causing him to hit rush hour traffic. He arrived at the hospital late almost missing the birth. You can all use your imagination for the reaction...
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