How you can speed up slow play in golf
Slow play is probably the No.1 bane of golf after bad weather. You have no influence on the weather and you can always avoid it by not going out to play (but then drive your household nuts !) Slow play can also drive you nuts whether it is happening in your group or in the groups ahead. We are all responsible for speed of play. So you can only really influence yourself and the group you are in. Abusing or worse hitting golf balls at the slow group in front usually doesn’t work. It probably is going to result in a nasty conflict and your golf game will be affected. So the first rule of being affected by slow play is chill. Enjoy the surroundings, enjoy the company of your group. If you can’t influence it…relax.
Probably the No. 1 reason for slow play is bad golf. If your group is all hitting fairways and greens in regulation it is amazing how much quicker the game is. Face it …we all to various degrees suck at golf. We all are trying to improve to various degrees of success but time pressures, physical or mental limitations or just simply talent prevent this. So let us forget the ability to play as a tip to improve slow play because you probably recognise that anyway and that is really hard to change (and you have been trying…for years I know) .
Tip 1: Play Ready Golf
The days of who has got the honour are well and truly over. If you ready to hit and it is safe to do so, get up and hit it. Also if you are waiting for the next group to leave the fairway in front, short hitters go first. Remember your position in the field is behind the group in front, not in front of the group behind you. If you are falling behind the group in front , have those who have finished putting begin walking to the next tee to hit off. If you are playing Ambrose or a Scramble (which can be a slow game) have two players throw their balls down next to the best ball and be ready to hit.
Tip 2: Carry an extra ball in your pocket
If you are playing a comp and a lost ball means stroke and distance, don’t make that distance mean you having to walk back to the tee to hit another one. If you don’t see it bounce, hit another one. Having a spare ball in your pocket will make it easier (and quicker) to drop another one. If you are not in a comp and on golf holiday with mates adopt the new local rule of golf that if a ball goes OB you work out where the ball went, walk perpendicular to the fairway, take two shots and drop a ball.
Tip 3: Know your distances
With range finders and GPS freely available now, using a surveyor’s wheel to walk out how far you carry with each club or just simply guessing has become a thing of the past. If you know how far you carry each club, you are going to be pin high more often, score better and play faster. Adjust that carry if it is uphill or down or if is colder or hotter than usual but being realistic with your club selection will make it a quicker game.
Tip 4: Buggies and carts parked closest to the next tee.
It may seem obvious but it is amazing how often it is not done. Place your buggies or carts on the way to the next tee. If you are pulling a buggy and you can, after your chip shot bring the buggy up to pin high with the green. If you are over the other side of the green from the next tee for your chip , pull your buggy around to the back of the green before you walk to your putt. It will shorten the walk and allow the group behind to line up their shots.
Tip 5: Group separates after reaching the first ball
It maybe great to chew the fat with your golf mates walking down the fairway but it is an individual sport and there is a time to go your own way. That time can be when you reach the shortest drive. Sure give that player a hard time for being a “bunter” but then move sidways so to move in line with your ball and wait for them to hit, if it is not safe to go ahead. Saves time.
Tip 6: Remove your wood covers
Let’s face it unless you are going offroad (and that says something about your golf game), your woods are not going to be damaged by being in your bag on the course. Save time pulling them off and on and avoid the ultimate time loser in trying to find your wood cover when they mysteriously drop off the club somewhere on the course!
Tip 7: Be ready to putt
Have your putt lined up, ready to go when it is your turn. You can save time with the lining up process by using the time walking to the ball gainfully. If it is a downhill putt, have a uphill look behind the flag (it easier to see the break) and have a look sideways to the putt to check the break as you walk to the ball. Then position your ball whilst you await your turn. Do this and you will probably hole more putts which is the ultimate time saver.
Tip 8: Ask your playing partners to watch your ball
I know where all into ready golf and we are all consumed with our own golf games. But if you are hitting into the sun or over a bush where you can’t see where it lands, it is OK to ask for help. Losing golf balls because you didn’t see it land is the ultimate cause of slow play. Get a second pair of eyes on it.
Tip 9: Practice walking quicker
When I was a boy and went out to watch tournament golf, I was surprised how quickly golf professionals walk. They move quickly and then take time over their shots. We all get stuck in a certain pace of life. I am not a quick walker and I think we can all get more worthwhile cardio exercise from golf by just trying to walk a little quicker. It then becomes your natural pace. This make a another difference to pace of play. If you can afford an electric buggy, they are good for making it easier to walk faster.
Tip 10: If you’re walking, place the bag on your shoulder before the last player hits; if riding, be at the cart
How often do you see players milling about the tee while the last player hits? What are you doing? If you’re carrying, have the bag saddled up. If you’re riding, be at the cart. You can just as easily say, “Good shot”, from there as you can from close range.