While We're Young!June 16, 2016

25 Easy Ways To Speed Up Play

Illustration by Matt Chase

This certainly doesn't apply to you. You're the fastest golfer you know, right? Right. Anyway, maybe you can still review this list of helpful tips for how to shave time off a round and, perhaps, pass it on to golfers who could really use it. Just a thought.

  1. Play like you have only three hours to finish the round before the sun sets.
  1. Ditch your headcovers. Taking them on and off all day is a serious time suck.
  1. Play it forward at least one tee box.
  1. Check the time when you tee off and check again every three holes. For some reason, it helps make you play faster.
  1. Mixed foursome? Forward-tee players should ride with other forward-tee players. Back tees with back tees.

  2. Agreeing to play "ready golf" is essential for a casual round. But you'll play even faster if you keep putting until your ball is conceded or holed.

  3. Only mark a short putt to clean it.

  4. Don't wait for dawdlers. They'll start playing faster as a result.

  5. First golfer on a par 3 gets the yardage and announces it to everyone.

  6. First to hit on a par 3 stands at the ready to fill divot holes.

  7. Glean as much knowledge as you can about your next shot while approaching it.

  8. Approximate yardages instead of walking them off.

  9. Waiting? Take as many practice swings/strokes as you want. Your turn? You get one.

  10. Always be moving forward. If you have to double back for anything—bag, cart, clubs—you're losing time.

  11. Hit your ball first, then help others search. They'll typically find the ball without your help.

  12. Always have a spare ball handy.

  13. Two players in the same bunker? The last one to hit rakes. The first one to escape marks and reads the putt during the raking.

  1. Unless the cart is going to or from a tee box, there should never be more than one person in it.

  2. A little radical for some, but leaving the flagstick in the hole saves a lot of time.

  3. Refuse to leave the flagstick in? First to putt out grabs the flagstick and waits to put it back. Always.

  4. Have an exit strategy. Know where the next tee box is and be prepared to make a direct exit toward that box as soon as the hole is finished.

  1. Jokes and stories are best told after teeing off, not before. Otherwise you're interrupting another player's preparation.

  2. Beverage cart approaching? Wave it over to where your ball is located, if possible. Play your shot, and then order. And keep the conversation brief.

  3. Playing on the tail of the people in front of you will subconsciously push them to play faster, even if they try not to.

  1. Nothing else working? In the age of smartphones and social media, it's easy to document slow play. Single out the slow players on Snapchat, Instagram, et al. If it does nothing else, it will serve as cheap therapy.

WATCH: GOLF DIGEST VIDEOS