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What's the rush? Golfs obsession with slow play

post #1 of 252
Thread Starter 

I've been a member and golfer here for almost two years and see the constant complaints from members about slow play.  On a current thread 41% of the members that voted see slow play as the biggest issue in golf, followed by unrepaired divots and spike marks (28%). 

 

I got involved with golf for business, I "thought" it would be a great way to meet people, entertain customers that shared a common interest and spend some down time away from the grind of normal life.  It's defined by many as a "recreational sport" but this obsession with slow play seems to contradict that. 

 

For example, during my round yesterday, our playing partner was pushing us the entire time.  His theory was a group of 3 should finish in 3.5 hours, which is about 12 minutes per hole.  The first hole is a long tough hole and took us about 15 minutes, and he was stressed.  It's a private course and in the 100* heat we had no one in front of us and no one behind us but he felt the pressure to move faster.  He continued to push the pace and at the turn when we suggested we get something to drink and eat he about had a heart attack.  "That will throw off our time, we can grab something and get back in the carts".  Meanwhile we're looking all around and except for 3 ladies, 3 holes ahead of us, we couldn't see a person on the course. 

 

When the round was over I was exhausted from the heat but also the stress to rush and meet his self imposed time of 3.5 hours.   I don't get it, why are we taking something we enjoy and making it feel like a job?  Seems we're slowly losing what made golf attractive to many people by trying to shoehorn it into our very over scheduled lives. 

post #2 of 252

Why did you play with the guy if he was pushing you the whole time and there was no one else out?

 

I'm fine with a 4 1/2 hour round, anything over means that a group is not following proper etiquette.  You can talk, have a good time, and play golf and still play in 4 hrs if you know etiquette.  The biggest problem with me is 4 people in 2 carts, that all wait for one person to hit, then move to the next person, and wait, so on and so forth.  Is it that big of a deal to grab a club and walk 20 yards so your ready to hit when one person hits??

post #3 of 252

I think the title of this thread should be your playing partner's obesssion with slow play, not golf's. Dude needs to chill out. Maybe smoke a joint. a3_biggrin.gif

post #4 of 252
Thread Starter 

He's our friend and we didn't know how nuts he'd become about slow play.  He was like an orchestra leader on the greens, directing everyone when to hit, even though we always play ready golf.   I don't know, maybe the heat made him crazy lol. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by phillyk View Post

Why did you play with the guy if he was pushing you the whole time and there was no one else out?

 

I'm fine with a 4 1/2 hour round, anything over means that a group is not following proper etiquette.  You can talk, have a good time, and play golf and still play in 4 hrs if you know etiquette.  The biggest problem with me is 4 people in 2 carts, that all wait for one person to hit, then move to the next person, and wait, so on and so forth.  Is it that big of a deal to grab a club and walk 20 yards so your ready to hit when one person hits??

post #5 of 252
There is a difference between rushing and playing ready golf. There is no need to rush if you keep a steady pace and play ready golf.

I'm sure there are some people out there that is afraid of losing minutes, which is kind of the opposite of the slow players. I don't enjoy playing with either. In my experience though, there are more of the slow players. Personally I don't think I've played a round with someone acting like you explained.

There are extreme ends of every discussion. The ideal is to find a spot in the middle.
post #6 of 252
Thread Starter 

I'd agree except that seems to be the theme of many golf magazine articles, commentator talk,  threads here, etc.  Of all the issues facing golf today, slow play is the #1 issue cited by TST members, that says it's more than just our friends obsession. 

 

I don't know if playing a round of golf went faster 10 years ago or people weren't as time obsessed as they are today, but in talking to some of our course members that played for over 10 years, slow play wasn't the issue it's become today. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zipazoid View Post

I think the title of this thread should be your playing partner's obesssion with slow play, not golf's. Dude needs to chill out. Maybe smoke a joint. a3_biggrin.gif

post #7 of 252

I`ve played 5 and 6 hour rounds which isn`t necessarily any fun either, but it sounds like your playing partner was taking it to an unnecessary extreme- you should have said something to him early on about not wanting to be rushed.  OTOH, 3.5 hours for a 3 some who doesn`t have to wait is not completely unreasonable, depending on the course.

 

If you don`t have to wait, it is probably best to play with guys who like to play about the same speed as you.

 

Last week I joined a few "polo" players (their cart barely slowed down to hit a shot) stuck behind a foresome who said that they weren`t good, but they were fast.  I was walking and definitely taking more time over each shot than they were, but hitting less often.  I am not sure if it was my slower pace on each shot (first time on the course so I had to figure some things out) or the fact that I hit it about 100 past them, but when we no longer had a group in front of us on the back 9, one of the guys suggested that I go ahead of them as they were "holding me up."  They other guy said that I didn`t seem to mind playing with them, but the first offered me his hand and pushed me towards the next tee.

post #8 of 252

I suppose there are different definitions of slow play. I don't mind a moderate pace, it's not a race, but I attempt to keep up with the course's recommended pace of play. If we're a couple of minutes slow no big deal. It's not often I have people waiting on me and if they are it's because I am waiting on the groups ahead. But some don't get it and they're not just a little slow but extremely slow. I booked a tee time last night to play 9. We had a slow group two ahead of us. They played the back tees with their hundred yard grounders off the tee and spent too much time standing over the ball when they weren't searching for it in the brush. Nobody in the group was ready to play when it was their turn. We were off the first tee at 6:25 and finished at 9PM. The last two holes were played in very low light. 2.75 hours for 9 because of a slow group ahead is a bummer and it affected our round. We had to rush our own play in an attempt to finish before dark. The group ahead of us had to do the same. The quality of the golf boths groups played coming in from 7-9 wasn't what it should have been.

post #9 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by newtogolf View Post

He's our friend and we didn't know how nuts he'd become about slow play.  He was like an orchestra leader on the greens, directing everyone when to hit, even though we always play ready golf.   I don't know, maybe the heat made him crazy lol. 

If he is a friend and you want to continue playing with him, try talking to him.

 

It might also be worth looking at it from his perspective.  Are you ready to play when it is your turn, etc.  I have had rounds with my dad where he is talking or day dreaming when it is his turn to play.  I don`t mind it if nobody is behind us, but if we are holding the group behind up, then it drives me nuts.  I think it is possible to play a reasonably paced round and get in some good conversation, especially if you do most of your talking while walking from your tee shots to your drives and in between other longer shots (assuming you hit it the same direction at least some of the time).

post #10 of 252

4 - 4.5 hours is a reasonable time for a round.  Anything over 5 hours and its pushing it.  A lot of people complain about slow play because they have other things to do.  They need to get back home so wifey doesn't go ballistic on them for being gone so long.

 

Since I dont have a wife or kids to worry about, my issue with slow play is that for me personally I like to be or get into a little rhythm while I am playing.  I feel i play much better (especially off the tee)  when I get to play with a normal paced foursome and even better when its less than 4 and there isnt a lot of waiting on shots.  When you are waiting on tee shots and approach shots on each hole it just throws the whole rhythm of the round off.  Its really tough to stand or sit in a cart and wait for longer periods of time then you are used to.  i really dont know how the tour pros do it or the people on Big Break shows.  How you can you stay sharp with all the waiting and downtime?

post #11 of 252

3.5 hours is a fine goal if you're by yourself and feel the need to meet a self-imposed deadline, but it's rather ridiculous if you're with a threesome and nobody is waiting on you.  Honestly I may have told the friend to play ahead if it was that important to him.  

post #12 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by newtogolf View Post

I'd agree except that seems to be the theme of many golf magazine articles, commentator talk,  threads here, etc.  Of all the issues facing golf today, slow play is the #1 issue cited by TST members, that says it's more than just our friends obsession. 

 

I don't know if playing a round of golf went faster 10 years ago or people weren't as time obsessed as they are today, but in talking to some of our course members that played for over 10 years, slow play wasn't the issue it's become today. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zipazoid View Post

I think the title of this thread should be your playing partner's obesssion with slow play, not golf's. Dude needs to chill out. Maybe smoke a joint. a3_biggrin.gif

 

It wasn't an issue when I started because back then people didn't care about hurting a new golfer's feelings. They'd tell us (before even teeing off) to, "keep up or pick up", and they'd stay true to that. When you learn early on to play quickly you soon learn to play efficiently so you can do it without feeling rushed.

post #13 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by newtogolf View Post

I'd agree except that seems to be the theme of many golf magazine articles, commentator talk,  threads here, etc.  Of all the issues facing golf today, slow play is the #1 issue cited by TST members, that says it's more than just our friends obsession. 

 

I don't know if playing a round of golf went faster 10 years ago or people weren't as time obsessed as they are today, but in talking to some of our course members that played for over 10 years, slow play wasn't the issue it's become today. 

 

Well sure, and I would agree that slow play is a major issue in golf.

 

But in the instance you initially described, this wasn't an issue of playing too slowly, just not playing at a pace this guy wanted to see.

 

I would put it this way - were you holding up anyone? if not, then who cares how fast or slow you play. This guy wanting everyone to play at his pace is a totally different issue. He sounds like a real jackass.

post #14 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by newtogolf View Post

I've been a member and golfer here for almost two years and see the constant complaints from members about slow play.  On a current thread 41% of the members that voted see slow play as the biggest issue in golf, followed by unrepaired divots and spike marks (28%). 

 

I got involved with golf for business, I "thought" it would be a great way to meet people, entertain customers that shared a common interest and spend some down time away from the grind of normal life.  It's defined by many as a "recreational sport" but this obsession with slow play seems to contradict that. 

 

For example, during my round yesterday, our playing partner was pushing us the entire time.  His theory was a group of 3 should finish in 3.5 hours, which is about 12 minutes per hole.  The first hole is a long tough hole and took us about 15 minutes, and he was stressed.  It's a private course and in the 100* heat we had no one in front of us and no one behind us but he felt the pressure to move faster.  He continued to push the pace and at the turn when we suggested we get something to drink and eat he about had a heart attack.  "That will throw off our time, we can grab something and get back in the carts".  Meanwhile we're looking all around and except for 3 ladies, 3 holes ahead of us, we couldn't see a person on the course. 

 

When the round was over I was exhausted from the heat but also the stress to rush and meet his self imposed time of 3.5 hours.   I don't get it, why are we taking something we enjoy and making it feel like a job?  Seems we're slowly losing what made golf attractive to many people by trying to shoehorn it into our very over scheduled lives. 

 

3.5 hours? That's quick. 4 hours should be normal.

post #15 of 252
Thread Starter 

I agree 4.5 hours is a reasonable time, but to some even here that's too long.  I'd also agree families and wives are more demanding that 10 years ago so that could contribute to the pressure of finishing a round quickly.  I don't like being rushed, my kids are older and my wife is understanding so I like to enjoy my time on the course.  Golf is one of the few things I'd prefer not have done on a schedule.  I'd rather play 1 round a week at 4.5 hours than 2 rounds in closer to 3 hours each per week but I guess I'm in the minority. 

 

Maybe a new initiative for courses that are hurting for members is to introduce "Speed Golf", where you agree to maintain a fast pace and slow players are not welcome.  All you speed players could join there and the rest of us won't feel the stress of being tailgated the entire round if playing through isn't an option. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by foxhole88 View Post

4 - 4.5 hours is a reasonable time for a round.  Anything over 5 hours and its pushing it.  A lot of people complain about slow play because they have other things to do.  They need to get back home so wifey doesn't go ballistic on them for being gone so long.

 

Since I dont have a wife or kids to worry about, my issue with slow play is that for me personally I like to be or get into a little rhythm while I am playing.  I feel i play much better (especially off the tee)  when I get to play with a normal paced foursome and even better when its less than 4 and there isnt a lot of waiting on shots.  When you are waiting on tee shots and approach shots on each hole it just throws the whole rhythm of the round off.  Its really tough to stand or sit in a cart and wait for longer periods of time then you are used to.  i really dont know how the tour pros do it or the people on Big Break shows.  How you can you stay sharp with all the waiting and downtime?

post #16 of 252
Thread Starter 

He's actually a great guy but this obsession with pace of play is new.  I'm not sure if it's related to home life, business, or just the constant exposure to pace of play in everything golf related. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zipazoid View Post

Well sure, and I would agree that slow play is a major issue in golf.

 

But in the instance you initially described, this wasn't an issue of playing too slowly, just not playing at a pace this guy wanted to see.

 

I would put it this way - were you holding up anyone? if not, then who cares how fast or slow you play. This guy wanting everyone to play at his pace is a totally different issue. He sounds like a real jackass.

post #17 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by newtogolf View Post

He's actually a great guy but this obsession with pace of play is new.  I'm not sure if it's related to home life, business, or just the constant exposure to pace of play in everything golf related. 

 

Then perhaps just a pre-tee-off chat is in order - 'Dude, we're not going to race around the course, got it?'

post #18 of 252
Thread Starter 

I plan to, but overall, especially on this site, pace of play is a major topic.  I think right now there are about 10 active threads discussing it in one way or another. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zipazoid View Post

 

Then perhaps just a pre-tee-off chat is in order - 'Dude, we're not going to race around the course, got it?'

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