Have you ever been stuck behind a group of slow players on the golf course?
Recently I was playing a friendly game at a course not too far away from ours and we followed a group of 24 players, from the same golf club, who played in 6 groups. Having taken 2.5 hours to play 10 holes, we tried to ‘hurry up’ the group in front by playing quickly so that we might be seen to be waiting for all shots from both the tee and the fairway, but to no avail. In this instance, not only was it the group in front of us falling behind, but also the group in front of them. We ended up a whole half hour behind and had to miss the last few holes due to other commitments.
I have no issues with a golfer who takes their time to fully preparing for their shot, indeed as a coach I would prefer a player to do this, and execute a shot to the best of their ability, but that does not mean that a golfer should not be ready to play their shot when it is their turn. The R&A employs a ‘Pace of Play’ policy at their championships, and suggest that golf club committee’s should employ a similar policy within their own competitions. The first player of a group (from the tee, fairway or on the green) has 50 seconds to execute their shot. The second player has 40 seconds and any subsequent players then have 30 seconds!
That does not sound an awful lot of time to prepare and execute a golf shot, but given that the preparation should have taken place while other golfers are playing, 30 seconds is an adequate amount of time to complete an action that in reality takes approximately 1.5 seconds! We all know that golfers tend to play better when thinking of as little as possible, so my question would be…
…. what are you doing that takes the remaining 28.5 seconds?
Not just for your own enjoyment, and that of every other golfer on the course behind you, but also to avoid being reprimanded in a competition, remember the old adage ‘Keep up with the game in front, not keep ahead of the game behind’. Next time you play in a four-ball, keep in mind that if everyone plays just 10 seconds quicker per hole, that will add up to a round that will be 12 minutes quicker overall and at this time of year, that’s 12 minutes warmer back in the clubhouse too!
For the R&A video on their Pace of Play policy, please visit the R&A website
Head PGA Professional
Leeds Golf Centre