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IncomingFore

Managing the Speed of My Group Without Wrecking My Game

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The past couple of weeks, a buddy and I have been playing our best golf since starting 3 and 2 years ago, finally breaking into the low 80s. It's been a great, and I've been really enjoying the game a lot with this buddy.

We also have several other friends that are not nearly as good, and this is where the problems started this weekend at a higher end course we all purchased rounds for on Group Golfer. The other two players in our group were shanking the balls all over. If they weren't going out of bounds, they were duffing shots, or loosing them into the really tall grass along the fairways. We would spend time trying to help them find their balls, driving from shot to shot.

There were multiple groups keeping pace behind us, and the other decent player and myself started trying to pick up the slack for the other two. It destroyed our games. I had a constant sense of urgency on every shot, and it just caused me to get irritated with the game and the other two players. This compounded into us having to make up shots that any other day we've done over and over. We kept pace and finished in 4 hours, but I only think we were able to, because me and the other decent player were constantly trying to just get the ball down the fairway. This was a pretty crummy experience dropping to a 96 after shooting an 84 the day before on course of the same slope rating. My head wasn't in it, and it felt rushed the entire game.

I'm stuck as to what to do. I'm friends with these other two players, and it's usually never a problem if there's just one of them in the group, or the rest of the course is playing slow. I don't want to tell them I don't want to play with them. But me and the other decent player are already secretly just planning on going back to the course ourselves without them. Do you folks run into this, where you feel like your game suffers because your rushing to make up for others in your group? How do you manage this both on and off the course?

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I never try to rush myself, or others to play faster. Although I don't consuder myself a slow golfer. I can walk 18 holes in a little under 4 hours at my own pace. Maybe 3:50+/- something on average. 

 I am of the opinion that once you take most golfers out of their comfort zones, the poor shots they hit cost them more playing time, than their normal game, playing at their own pace would. 

I sometimes get a kick out of someone one complaining about a poor score due to pace of play. Perhaps it is a lack of mental toughness on their part, to let others intimidate how they play. Then again, there have been alot discussions on TST about the mental aspect of the game may not be that big of deal. 

Everyone has a different pace of play they are comfortable with. The way the game is now, it's impossible to get all golfers on the same page as far as pace of play is concerned. If the pro circuits are having problems with pace of play, the amateur, weekend warriors can't hope to fix the issue. 

I think poorer/slower players should steer clear of high end courses. High end courses are more for the more expierienced players imo. 

In the OPs situation, I'd probably let my friends who are the slower golfers, know up front, that to keep up with the pace, they will sometimes have to pick up their ball, and move on to drop point. That their scores are not important at this point in their golf games. They are out there to have fun. True friends would understand this concept. 

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53 minutes ago, IncomingFore said:

I'm stuck as to what to do.

Are they slow players or just slow because they're not good? I will never give anyone a hard time for playing slow due to poor play because that guy could be me on any given day.

If they're just not that good, I'd encourage them to bend the rules a little in a casual round for the sake of everyone's enjoyment. Drop and play the ball out in the fairway instead of spending a lot of time looking for the ball in the fescue, maybe even just pick up and drop near the green if they're out of the hole just to chip and putt out.

1 hour ago, IncomingFore said:

I don't want to tell them I don't want to play with them. But me and the other decent player are already secretly just planning on going back to the course ourselves without them.

Honestly this kind of makes you sound like a bad friend. You should be able to discuss this with your friends and try to help them become more aware of pace of play and etiquette and stuff. Instead you want to avoid them because you think playing with them negatively affects your score.

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20 minutes ago, Patch said:

... let my friends who are the slower golfers, know up front, that to keep up with the pace, they will sometimes have to pick up their ball, and move on ....  They are out there to have fun. True friends would understand this concept. 

This is a nice way to speed things up.

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This is a common problem among more advanced golfers. That's why you often see the good golfers bunched up into clique groups.

You knew your buddies weren't very good. You also encouraged playing at a course that was probably far beyond their ability. Just because you can afford to play there doesn't always mean that it's going to be enjoyable. If your friends are struggling, suggest playing from shorter tees, or suck it up and help out.

 

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Let me get this straight:  The slow play > irritated at parters > you played worse than you like > their fault

Perhaps:  Playing bad that day > general irritation > slow play is annoying > pissed at partners for no reason

 

A couple things IMHO (your mileage might vary) -

1 - Others don't irritate me - I get irritated - it's my choice to let them.  Though people can be very irritating, it still comes down to me.  If they do it on purpose, that's something else, but then I just disconnect and play my game.  Same concept - still my choice.

2 - Sometimes I play good, sometimes I play bad.  I tend to blame my execution - everything else is interesting, but in the end, it's simple - I played bad that day.  Making a lot of inferences to move away from that conclusion doesn't help my game.

I fail a lot on #1 up there in that I can let myself get annoyed (we're human).  But now that I treat it as a rule, it happens a LOT less and golf is more fun - even on slow days.

It's just a game - I help my slow friends, if it's really dumb, I find myself relaxing while waiting, checking out the course, or I'll even play ahead if it's getting to me a lot.    Enjoy your friends - you have friends that play with you, that's a bonus.  Play the harder courses with your friend that matches up with you better.  But it's a two some now - be careful, you might get matched up with a couple scratch golfers that are annoyed at your game.

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One thing that can really help a situation when you have lesser-skilled friends is to pick the right course. 

Even lousy golfers can play at a good pace if they don't have to search for balls. Pick relatively open courses where even a stone-cold shank can be tracked down fast.

Honestly, there are plenty of courses in my own area that I have no business on right now, so I go where it is friendly. 

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In regards to your game - when I've faced these situations (and one specific round comes to mind), I try to speed up everything but the shot process.  Walk faster if walking, be ready when it's my turn, read my chips/putts while others are preparing to play their shots.  I do these things normally, but make extra sure to do them when my group is slow.  But I'll still take my normal time (which is IMO faster than average on the fairway, average around the greens) to take my shot or yes, my game can deteriorate.  

To speed up my group, I'll usually just say out loud after everyone holes out - "WE need to pick up the pace as the group behind is really waiting," and then go to the next tee box as fast as possible.  Usually gets the point across.

One other thing - if playing a difficult course with less skilled golfers, I'm not afraid to suggest at the beginning of the round that "you'll probably want to play the xx tees." Too many times golfers want to play the same tees to be social.  WRONG!

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Was out with a guy and his 19 year old son yesterday. He invited me to play at his private club. It was warm and busy. Early on the back 9, twosomes were getting bunched behind us and 4somes infront of us were slowing us down. He drove himself nuts, worrying about what was going on behind us, when he could do nothing about it. There was no where to go. The club allows folks to play two's or three's. 

I never turn around. My job is to keep up to the folks in front of me. Your job, if you want to, is to ask me to play through, if you can. We started 5 minutes late. We finished in 4 hours 10 minutes and probably waited 2-3 minutes 5 or 6 times. 

It was a beautiful day, surrounded by forest and the foothills. Did I mention, I never turn around.

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1. Play with your friends at slow times or less-busy courses, even if that means playing lower-quality courses (The Golf Gods will not strike you down, I promise.)

2. Be honest that sometimes you and your friend sometimes want to play better courses and not want to deal with them OR that they have to pick up their ball if they're affecting pace of play.  

3. You have your best, average, and worst scores.  You can't expect to shoot 84 today because you shot it yesterday.  

4. Not every round of golf has to be played for a score.  Why not just go out and have fun with your friends?

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I'm still trying to figure out the low 80s scoring after 2 or 3 years in the game !😲

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On ‎8‎/‎19‎/‎2019 at 8:01 AM, IncomingFore said:

The past couple of weeks, a buddy and I have been playing our best golf since starting 3 and 2 years ago, finally breaking into the low 80s. It's been a great, and I've been really enjoying the game a lot with this buddy.

We also have several other friends that are not nearly as good, and this is where the problems started this weekend at a higher end course we all purchased rounds for on Group Golfer. The other two players in our group were shanking the balls all over. If they weren't going out of bounds, they were duffing shots, or loosing them into the really tall grass along the fairways. We would spend time trying to help them find their balls, driving from shot to shot.

There were multiple groups keeping pace behind us, and the other decent player and myself started trying to pick up the slack for the other two. It destroyed our games. I had a constant sense of urgency on every shot, and it just caused me to get irritated with the game and the other two players. This compounded into us having to make up shots that any other day we've done over and over. We kept pace and finished in 4 hours, but I only think we were able to, because me and the other decent player were constantly trying to just get the ball down the fairway. This was a pretty crummy experience dropping to a 96 after shooting an 84 the day before on course of the same slope rating. My head wasn't in it, and it felt rushed the entire game.

I'm stuck as to what to do. I'm friends with these other two players, and it's usually never a problem if there's just one of them in the group, or the rest of the course is playing slow. I don't want to tell them I don't want to play with them. But me and the other decent player are already secretly just planning on going back to the course ourselves without them. Do you folks run into this, where you feel like your game suffers because your rushing to make up for others in your group? How do you manage this both on and off the course?

It seems to me that, if you're keeping up with the group ahead of you, then you're doing what you should be doing and groups behind will just need to wait their turn. If it's the group ahead of you that's slowing things down then you can ask to play through them. If you're keeping up with the group ahead of you and they're keeping up with the group ahead of them then the groups behind you are just going to have to wait their turn. If you were to let them through they'd just be waiting for the group ahead and nothing would have changed.

On the other hand, if there are empty tees and greens ahead of you then the thing to do is to let the group behind you play through and try to keep up with them. If you fall behind again you let another group through, and so on. I think it also doesn't hurt to speak clearly and honestly to your group (while looking at each member in turn) about the group's need to keep pace with the group in front. In my opinion, quiet frustration is not going to help anyone.

We were behind a slow foursome, the other day. We could see that they not only played worse than we do (hard to believe!) but they also hadn't yet learned to play badly as quickly as we have. But, it was also clear that they weren't lollygagging around. They were moving a fair pace between shots (of which there were many). They didn't spend an inordinate amount of time looking for lost balls. (of which there seemed to be many).  When they finished putting the ladies were actually trotting off the green to get to their bags and move on. They were not standing around in a group yakking about their shots and putts or doing their scorecards or cleaning their clubs or anything that they could have been doing while waiting their turn on the next tee. That made it much easier for us to wait a bit for them.

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6 hours ago, burr said:

I'm still trying to figure out the low 80s scoring after 2 or 3 years in the game !😲

Low 80s on some courses is high nineties from different tees or low 100s on a different courses. It might equate to mid 90s or considerably more where you play.

"Low 80s" means nothing without context, as does "breaking 80". Where? What conditions? What length? There are courses with no hazards, easy rough, easy bunkers and no OB where on a bad day it would be hard to shoot 90 even if you are a modestly accomplished player.

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On 8/19/2019 at 10:01 AM, IncomingFore said:

We also have several other friends that are not nearly as good, and this is where the problems started this weekend at a higher end course we all purchased rounds for on Group Golfer. The other two players in our group were shanking the balls all over. If they weren't going out of bounds, they were duffing shots, or loosing them into the really tall grass along the fairways. ...

If the higher end course is more difficult than your normal course, then it proved to be a mistake to bring along your duffer pals. If the Duffers are just out for social fun and never work on their games, then you two 80s Twins will be frustrated with them - especially when the course is full.

You and the other 80s shooter may have to play one course for challenge, and an easier course for fun with the Duffers.

Don't feel you have to "sneak away" to play the higher end course. I suspect the Duffers will play much less than you two 80s Twins. Unless the Duffers are your bosses or something similar, just play less with the Duffers and more with each other.

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Each of my friends have routines of different speeds, but none are terribly slow. Personally, getting contact lenses helped me play faster because it eliminated my need to clean my glasses before every shot.

What bugs me are certain habits a couple of them have. They will finish a hole and walk back to the cart, then with people waiting back in the fairway, they will stand there pointing to where they hit shots, calculating their score on the hole and then sit in the cart writing down the scores before moving to the next tee. I constantly remind them that we have people waiting, but up to now, I haven't been able to change their behavior.

One guy tends to hit a chip shot, let's say from 50 yards out, and he'll walk to the green with his putter from there instead of pulling the cart up by the green. Sometimes I go back to get his cart. He's getting better though.

One guy we used to play with is notoriously cheap. (He would regularly need a bathroom as soon as the check for lunch arrived) We stopped calling him to play because he constantly spent way too much time looking for lost balls in the lakes and canals. One time when he was riding with me, I drove off and left him because he refused to stop looking for balls while he held up people in the fairway. I have absolutely no time for people like that. His wife is a good friend of mine and she once asked me why we never called him anymore. I told her the truth and there was no question she understood.

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