It seems slow play has always been an issue in golf but how directly does it affect us amateurs? Do you find the game less enjoyable and more annoying?
The Rule for slow play is Rule 6-7 and states:
Undue Delay; Slow Play: The player must play without undue delay and in accordance with any pace of play guidelines that the Committee may establish. Between completion of a hole and playing from the next teeing ground, the player must not unduly delay play.
On the PGA Tour for example, a player has 40 seconds to hit a shot (with an additional 20 seconds) for differing circumstances – weather, etc.
First a player is informed he is “out of position” and placed on the clock. Then a player receives a warning. If they then are issued a second “bad time” they are issued a 1-stroke penalty and $5,000 fine. If he records a third “bad time” it’s a 2-stroke penalty and $10,000 fine.
But is playing slow golf really as big an issue on the PGA as they make it or is it more an issue for the amateur players and golfing public at large?
The pros know how to play golf – that’s why they’re pros. Are some more deliberate than others – sure. But there’s also lot more at stake at the professional level. Missed puts can results in thousands or hundreds of thousands of lost income, possible exemptions, sponsors and more.
You could smoke a whole cigarette waiting for Hogan to take the putter back – Sam Snead
For me, I can definitely understand deliberateness. But in the amateur ranks it seems to be a bit different.
I play a decent amount of golf and slow play is alive and well out here in the public realm. But I’m not sure it’s one thing and one thing only.
I have a few observations on this. The most prevalent (to me anyway) is that people just don’t play “ready golf.” That means they’re over talking with their buddies or meandering around or realizing they grabbed the wrong club – just really dumb stuff.
I mean you should be just about ready to hit just after your partner hits. You know where you are in turn – so get ready to hit!
Another is amateurs who think they’re better than they are. Studying putts from every angle, waiting for players to leave the green on par 5’s – thinking they’re going to get there in 2, the yardage book guy – studying yardage like they’re Mike “Fluff” Cowan – I mean – come on!
Almost all this is directly attributed to television. We all want to play like the pros and we watch the most golf on the tube so that’s what we tend to replicate. But do we really need to read the green for 3 minutes?
There’s certainly not a lot of monitoring of this. I have never heard one mention of “ready golf” from any course starter (or even anyone in the clubhouse). To me, this would be a good beginning. Plant the seed before the round starts. Get players acclimated – at least to the idea of “ready golf” so it’s in their consciousness.
Also, what about some little laminated cards or even half sheets of paper with a few tips on speeding up play. Things one can do *specifically* to speed up their own play. Honestly, a lot of folks just don’t know but, again, it would be a way to begin to introduce the concept to players less familiar it.
What do you think? Would love to hear your comments on this.