The Loop

Slow Play

November 27, 2007

On this blog yesterday, talking about the rules and proper teeing procedure, I made a crack about how it would get you disqualified to tee off on a bottle cap, but play a round in six hours and you were fine. That's fine, not fined. Slow play, in my opinion, being the bain of our golfing existences.

For more on that subject see George Peper's excellent essay on the Links Magazine site and lots of interesting discussion on Having played recently with George I know he lives by his words. There is no stand-around time, good shot or bad.

Peper's point is that the USGA has a system, used at the US Amateur this year where it resulted in 12 single-stroke penalties, to control the dawdling. He urges the Tour to take up the cause. (Our fingers are crossed and we have no hope whatsoever of this happening.

Slow play used to be a Golf Digest "crusade." Somewhere along the way we threw in the towel or at least waved it in surrender. You write to us frequently in exasperation about it. Your spouses howl about how golf consumes an entire day. And nothing changes.

My own view, shared by few (okay, no one) here is that we're all obsessed with score and handicap. Even when we play match play we don't play match play ("I'll just putt out here for handicap purposes....") and we never, ever play foursomes, a great and fast game, because "I want to play my own ball." Ugh.

So thanks, George, for re-taking up the cause. A few slow-play penalties on Tour would do a world of good. Then we can attack the widespread use of bottle-cap tees.

Our fingers are crossed.

--Bob Carney