I know where all of the slow players are after reading the replies in this thread.
When my wife was learning to play, the only instruction I gave her was to keep up. She could shoot 125 and we could still finish in under 4 hours.
Four hours. A foursome simply shouldn't take any longer than that. I played with my wife today and we finished in 2:45. We weren't rushing, we each have average pre-shot routines, but we were ready to play when it was our turn to hit.
Slow players never seem to know or believe that they're slow. If you're taking longer than four hours with no group in front of you, some/all of the following are happening (I'll use the word 'you' to mean anyone in your group):
- PLAY FROM THE CORRECT TEES!!!!!!! Look, golf is supposed to be fun. If you can't reach a 400 yard par 4 with driver/5i or less, you are playing from the wrong tees. If you want to play a game that resembles the professional game, you should have 8i or less into all but one or two par 4's. If that means playing from the red tees, so be it. Lose your pride and tee it forward.
Note: When I want to really evaluate my short game, I'll play with my wife from the reds. I'll have some sort of wedge into every par 4, and that's leaving driver in the bag on almost every hole.
We play some golf at Paiute in Vegas. From the tips, The Wolf course is the longest track in Nevada. We ALWAYS see a group that has no business playing from that set of tees back there hacking away. If you can't break 90, move up at least to the white tees.
- You are not ready when it's your turn to hit. That means that you've been dawdling around while others hit instead of preparing to hit your ball. Instead, look over your shot before it's your turn, get your yardage, decide what club you're going to hit, and as soon as it's you, go through your pre-shot and hit the damn ball.
- You insist on riding in the cart to every single ball. Instead, when you pull up to the first ball (and if your ball is reasonably close - say within 30 yards), grab a couple of sticks and start moving toward your ball. You'll get more exercise, too.
- On the green, you start reading your putt when it's your turn. Instead, start reading your putt as you walk up to the green. If you aren't first to putt, get your read while others are putting, then when it's your turn, step up and roll your rock.
- You talk/text on your phone. TURN THE DAMN THING OFF --OR-- IF YOU USE IT FOR A GPS, USE IT ONLY FOR A GPS!
- After every shot, you go to your bag and replace your iron covers (ugh) before getting in and driving to the next ball. Instead, get in the cart with your club, drive to your partner's ball and, when he gets out, get out and replace your headcovers then.
- You think chatting it up with the beverage cart girl means you have a shot with her. You don't. Buy your stuff, tip her, and move along.
- You plumb bob every putt from two sides. If you can't break 90, stop plumb bobbing....you probably don't know how, anyway.
- You pull a club, look your shot over, then decide to walk 50 feet to change clubs. TAKE MORE THAN ONE CLUB WITH YOU! If you're at the 150 yard marker, you KNOW that it has to be one of - at most - three clubs. They weigh less than a pound. C'mon.....
- After every hole, you spend an entire minute marking everyone's score before driving to the next tee. STOP IT! Get in your cart, drive to the next tee, and then mark scores. People are waiting for you to pull away before they hit.
- You're on a par 4, it's your 9th shot, and you have yet to get on the green. Pick up....it's torture watching you.
- You've watched Furyk putt and you've decided that he has a cool pre-shot routine. When you're making millions playing golf, you too can back off of every putt. Until then, stop it.
- You have five minutes to look for a ball. If you lose multiple balls during a round, wave the group behind you through.
Now, on to something that the marshalls at our course don't understand: Foursomes have priority on the golf course, followed by thressomes, doubles, then singles. SINGLES HAVE NO STANDING ON THE GOLF COURSE. It isn't 'proper etiquette' to allow a single to play through, though it may be a nice thing to do. If you're behind a group that has priority, you DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO PLAY THROUGH! This fact alone demands that foursomes make their best effort to complete a round in under four hours.
Do rounds sometimes take 4.5-5 hours? Of course they do, and slow play shouldn't ruin the fun time you're supposed to be having on the course. Still, even if you aren't playing 'ready golf', a round shouldn't take more than 4 hours.
There's a 92 year old man in my Monday group. He shoots his age occassionally and isn't a particularly fast walker. Our foursome finishes in about 3:45 with him.
Again, you can shoot 100+ and still finish in under four hours. Pay attention, be ready to play when it's your turn, and have fun!