The Loop

Slow Play and Arnie

September 02, 2009

Here's a thoughtful letter from Golf World reader on the subject of slow play, which has come up again and again this year.



Dear Editor,>

Slow play is not about the PGA officials who actually enforce the rule but the players who can't seem to make a decision. Whether it's Harrington, Micheel or any other player they must all play at an acceptable pace. At the PGA Championship at Hazeltine I saw many players routinely assess the shot, pick a club, hit the ball, then move forward to the next shot. Most of them played very well. I also observed players stand in the fairway for what seemed forever when the green or fairway in front of them was open to play. If I played at that pace in my foursome I'd be thrown off the course. The problem >

remains because the PGA doesn't want it's superstars rushed, after all they are playing for over a million dollars first place prize money every week. Maybe if the purses are lowered they won't feel so much pressure! PGA golfers are the elite so playing their shot as soon as possible is not a lot to ask. Stop whining about having to hurry your >

shot. Don't force officials to make you play at an acceptable pace.


Gary B. Link

It's interesting that you say your foursome would be thrown off the course if you played that slowly. The crux of this matter, I think, is that the professional game infects the amateur game and while your foursome may be encouraged to play faster, many weekenders not--and won't. Otherwise, who cares? Let the pros play slowly. Problem is, weekend players we play behind watch those pros and emulate them. Yesterday I watched four grown men wander around the tenth tee of our club for several minutes (without golf clubs in their hands) apparently calculating yardages and trying to select a club. The hole is 130 yards long for Pete's sake! The green is small. The pin is either up or back. Pick two clubs and hit one! The fact that some of these fellows play the course every day is even more infuriating. Golf Digest's September issue features about Arnold Palmer, who is turning 80, on the covfer. One of the things that Palmer gave our sport, one of the reasons he was so important, was that he embodied athleticism and energy. Did you play more crisply or more languidly after watching Arnie? Did your stride quicken or slow? Compare the feeling you had watching the King with what you feel watching most professionals today. Reader Link has nailed it. The pace is unacceptable.

--Bob Carney