Fast play isn’t accomplished by hurrying. It is accomplished by simply not wasting time. Slow rounds are a result of an accumulation of tiny time wasters like parking your cart beside the green; bringing the rake into the bunker with you and entering the bunker close to your ball; avoiding story-telling and jokes on the tee with an open fairway ahead; getting ready to tee off and realizing you broke your tee on the previous hole and now you have to go back to the cart to get a new tee; waiting for the group in front of you to clear the green just in case you hit the shot of your lifetime.
The average round of golf for a foursome takes approximately four hours to complete. If each player in your group shoots 90, that is a total of 360 shots for the foursome. If you break down the round by time, a typical four hour round consists of 90 minutes of travel time from tee to green, 30 minutes for delays such as looking for lost balls, stopping at the bathroom, ordering from the beverage cart, and general housekeeping on the course. This leaves 120 minutes, or 20 seconds per shot, for each player to prepare and hit her shot. This may not seem like enough time to plan and complete your shot, but it is plenty of time if you are ready to hit when it is your turn.
It’s the little things in life that count!
If each player in your group takes an extra 10 seconds to plan and hit her shot, that’s 3600 seconds more – we now have a FIVE HOUR ROUND!
How can you and your group contribute to fast–paced golf?
- Before beginning your round, make sure you have enough tees in your pocket to play the round (five or six), a ball marker, and a green repair tool.
- Be aware of your position with regard to the group in front and keep up with that group.
- Be the advocate in your group for staying on pace and alert other players in your group if you feel your group is falling behind.
- Be ready to play your shot and be prepared to hit out of sequence if a player is not ready or able to hit.
- Don’t start a conversation on the tee if the fairway is open.
- Watch intently in case you or your playing partner hits an errant shot so you can easily identify a landmark when looking for the ball.
- Shorter hitters should hit as soon as the group ahead is out of their way, regardless of the honors.
- You don’t need to mark your ball on the green unless your ball is in someone’s line or close to their line. You can clean and align your ball without marking it by placing the toe of your putter on the spot.
- Park your cart or place your bag in a position where the group behind you can hit to the green after your group walks off the green and it is on your way to the next tee.
- Place your spare clubs on the green on the exit route to your golf cart or bag.
- The first player to finish the hole is responsible for replacing the flag immediately upon completion of the hole.
- Record your scores on the card on the way or at the next tee, not at the green.
Even though we may feel the entire burden of pace of play is on our shoulders as you are being asked to pick up the pace, the golf facility also plays an important role in establishing the proper place of play for their own course. Just as there are steps that players can take to reduce the duration of a round, golf courses can institute policies to speed up play, which will not only further the enjoyment for their customers, but also help the bottom line of the facilities.
Slow play continues to be one of golf’s biggest problem and the golf community is making an effort to master the art of fast play. Allow yourself to become an advocate and leader for the proper pace of play based on the course you are playing. Fast play isn’t accomplished by hurrying, it is accomplished by simply not wasting time.