Editors' BlogApril 22, 2007

Slow Play, again

"By the time you get to your ball, if you don't know what to do with it, try another sport." Julius Boros, quoted in The Future of Golf, by Geoff Shackelford

It's the beginning of the season up here in Connecticut and opening day conversations at our club, down the street from where Julius Boros learned the game, had already turned to pace of play on Saturday. Thanks to a golf chairman who was willing to be unpopular for a while, we benefit from a good, almost brisk, pace most days. It's on your minds, too. A letter to the editor by reader in which he rued the loss of putting time when forced to play in four hours, brought this response from Arthur Willis of Houston:

__Don Hill laments not being able to put out because he is being pushed to play a four hour round of golf. Putting is not what lengthens a round of golf. It is 3 players standing around watching the fourth player hit his shot. If each player would play ready golf, they would have no problem playing a 3:45-4:00 hr round, We do it on a regular basis. __

Right on, Arthur. Playing "gallery" when you should be playing golf is a huge problem. Here are five other time-devouring habits that drive me batty:

  1. Walking from cart to ball without a club or clubs in hand, assuring a second trip once careful assessment of lie and distance are completed.

  2. Taking one's glove off and then, only when it's on'es turn to hit, slowly putting it back on again, tour-pro style.

  3. Asking, "Are you away, or am I?" If it's that close, hit.

  4. Not bringing all the wedges that you might need to a short shot around the green.

  5. Faced with an open fairway, waiting to tee off while the player with the honor sits and marks scores. "Didymus, was that putt you picked up for a seven or an eight?"

No doubt some of these habits are borrowed from the tour, where the pace of play is now super slo-mo. (There's an idea. "Today's pace of play is sponsored by Turtle Wax....") As someone said, "If you were meant to act like a tour pro, there'd be a courtesy car in your driveway."

Love to hear from the rest of you on either your pet peeves or methods you've used to speed up play at your courses.

Bob Carney

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