Let’s Stamp out slow play!!

As every golfer has experienced now and again, standing around on the tee box while waiting to hit is absolutely no fun. It’s particularly galling when you have a good round going and suddenly hit a wall, losing your rhythm and gradually stiffening up like a board (especially if you’re a little older like me).

And I can’t count the number of course reviews I’ve read saying “great track, but the round took forever so it turned out to be a lousy day,” and suddenly a 4-star review turns into 2 or 3.

Often the review will bemoan the lack of a marshal on the course, but should we really need course police to keep things moving?

18 holes of golf shouldn’t take more than 4 ½ hours—here are a few suggestions that will help everybody get a whole lot more enjoyment from a day at the course:

What Courses can do:

  • Strive for 10 minutes between tee times.
  • Keep pin positions more centrally located on greens, and not close to steep fall-offs.
  • Maintain rough at a reasonable depth.
  • Provide proper number of rakes for bunker size.
  • Provide adequate signage.
  • Keep course clear of debris (particularly in the Fall)
  • Employ marshals.

What golfers can do:

  • Select the correct set of tees for your experience level.
  • Begin preparing for your shot as you approach your ball, and commit to the shot you decide to play (and limit your practice swings).
  • Watch your shot until it lands, making a mental note of line and distance with reference points.
  • Pay attention to the other members of your group when they are hitting so you can help locate their ball.
  • Limit your search for lost balls to a minute or two—and have a spare ball in your pocket.
  • If you are in a bunker, grab the rake while you are waiting to hit.
  • Once you’re on the green, begin lining up your putt as other players are making their putts.
  • Mark your score when you arrive at the next set of tees, not while you’re standing on the green.
  • Play Ready Golf (meaning, in the order of who is ready– not who is away.)
  • Never allow a hole ahead to open up.
  • Be mindful of the players behind, and allow faster groups to play through.
  • Swing tips are great, but save lessons for the Driving Range.

Tips to Speed Up Play

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6 thoughts on “Let’s Stamp out slow play!!

  1. 4 1/2 hours as a target is ridiculous. The early tee times set the pace for the day. Groups that tee off in the 1st hour should not exceed 3 1/2 hours. Course set-up plays a major role in the pace of play. Knowing that most people overestimate their abilities, especially on weekends, the tees should be moved forward and the pin positions placed close to the center. Every course has groups that are notorious for slow play. Those groups should be given a warning to speed up or blocked from getting an early tee time. Slow play is an epidemic that needs to be addressed for the good of the game. The professional players need to set a better example. 5-6 hour rounds for a twosome is criminal.

  2. That’s all well and good for suggestions but often times that isn’t the case. I almost always walk and I often play with 2 older gentlemen in their 70’s who also walk. We often push 2somes or 3somes that are in carts. There isn’t anything to increase speed of play when everyone in a group scores a 10 on every hole and at least 50% of their round is searching for lost balls.

  3. The article makes lots of sense but all those changes would not help, too many fun seekers using golf as a FUN DAY whom if they actually counted every stroke would be in the 120’s. The music, beer and hotdogs at the turn are a recipe for 5 hr plus rounds on any given day at any course. Plus we have the elderly who have a hard time walking to the greens and back to their carts and frankly could care less how long it takes them, I know, I’m retired living in Arizona, see it every day even at the course I worked and had rangers; no one listens to them. Pace of play will always be an issue.

  4. If you golf as a twosome or threesome and you have foursomes without an open hole in front of them why should the twosome or threesome not have to wait.

    1. A twosome does have to wait–but if I see a twosome behind me I’ll generally let them play through my foursome (unless there is absoluteley nowhere for them to go because the course is so jammed). Plus I feel uncomfortable when players are standing around behind me waiting to hit all the time…

  5. Loll, it’s a damn if you do or damn if you don’t situation. Do you make golf fun so more public courses stay alive, or do you make it reasonably fast and only for experienced, and most courses will die.
    I hate waiting too, but better than paying $100k/year + $500/round. We need weekend hackers for these public courses to stay alive. Our area courses are dying. I talked to couple owners, and they said if it wasn’t for influx of koreans in the DMV area, most of the public courses would’ve already been dead. Golf is not a fun sport for newbies. Courses are trying, with executive 9 holes, golf soccers, golf 2 wheelers, etc. I think more PSA for newbies to just buy cheap balls, and can’t find it in 30sec. in the OB area, just move on. I play with my wife, and she sucks, but she doesn’t spray the ball because she doesnt have hulk strength. I just let her tee off, then drop her off with 9/8 iron, then she hacks away til she reaches the green. We still finishes 9holes in under 2 hours, and wait for macho men looking for their balls.

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