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What Constitutes Slow Play?


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On 3/13/2021 at 3:40 PM, PSherrard01 said:

This is a discussion that I have with people at my club on which there is disagreement. My club posts on its scorecard that a foursome should play in under four hours and fifteen minutes. However, it also says that a team is out of position when it is not one shot behind the group in front of it. People in my club regularly complain about slow play and certain players playing slow (as I would imagine people in most clubs do). But how slow does a group have to be before being pegged as "playing slow"? Some groups play much faster than others (sometimes because the players in it are younger and move faster) and it makes it difficult for a group behind it to keep up with them (especially if they are requiring more shots to get around the golf course). If a group is a hole behind on the back nine but they are still on the "course pace" of 4:15, are they playing unreasonably slow? 

I guess the question is, should slow play be defined by position or by time? Obviously the position rule only applies when a group begins play immediately behind another group, but in club competitions that is normally the case. 

I argue that a group is slow only if they are behind the course pace defined by the time established by the golf course, but others disagree.

Thoughts? 

I play in a course where maybe a Sunday at worst or otherwise tournaments only, do we have more than a few groups playing.  On a day when we have a few groups at most, whether you take 3 or 6 hours makes no difference since nobody gets held up.  So, I look at it as slow play holds up groups behind you, or you are being held up.

Only in larger courses where there are many people playing does time really come into it.

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It’s odd you assume this without ever meeting them. Please keep the subject to slow play and don’t read emotions into posts or insult other posters. Same goes with @Frank F and @ncates00. Keep it

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This is such a easy answer.   If you are not waiting on the group in front of you, but you're holding up the group behind you, you are playing slow. 

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27 minutes ago, iacas said:

Playing 18 holes in 3.5 hours is nowhere near a “hurry.”

To you.  But you are a scratch player.  The lowest HC of the guys with whom I play is perhaps 25?  The worst of us, me, is somewhere north of 40.  Taking the median, that means it takes us an average of about two strokes/hole each, more than than it does you.  (And that, frankly, is almost certainly optimistic.)  A goodly number more of our shots end up having to be chased down in the rough, too.  (And, yes: We are aware of, and more-or-less abide by, the three minute rule.  [We don't actually time it.])

34 minutes ago, iacas said:

Your 4.5 hour pace would be P-A-I-N-F-U-L to me, in a twosome, behind you.

Understood.  That's why we let groups like yours play through.

What can I say?  We do the best we can not to inconvenience other players.  Only thing we could do more than what we do is simply forgo playing.

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I don't know why 4+ hours ever became a standard round. That's a glacial pace to me. 

That being said, I've been in foursomes where one player easily adds an hour to our round. It's mostly mannerisms and little things that add up. They won't be ready when it's their turn. They look too long for lost balls. They take a long time to cover and put away clubs. They talk when they should be hitting. They park in the wrong locations around greens, taking longer to walk back, etc. It's all of these things and it's maddening. 

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10 minutes ago, Braivo said:

That being said, I've been in foursomes where one player easily adds an hour to our round. It's mostly mannerisms and little things that add up. They ...

I was lucky enough to be introduced to the game by an experienced player who regards course etiquette to be every bit as important as playing the game.

My second game ever was with a threesome. At one point our balls were near one another on the fairway.  My one friend took his stroke--after which he found me saying something to the other friend, without a club in my hand.  He bitched me out for not being ready.

As I stepped up to my ball I heard the one friend object to his comments.  "He has to learn this," was the response, to which the other conceded.  And he was right.  And I did.  It did not happen again ;)

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47 minutes ago, SEMI_Duffer said:

Only thing we could do more than what we do is simply forgo playing.

Or get yourselves down to a single digit handicap!  😁

49 minutes ago, Braivo said:

I've been in foursomes where one player easily adds an hour to our round. It's mostly mannerisms and little things that add up. They won't be ready when it's their turn. They look too long for lost balls. They take a long time to cover and put away clubs. They talk when they should be hitting. They park in the wrong locations around greens, taking longer to walk back, etc. It's all of these things and it's maddening. 

That sums it up well.  People think that to play faster golf they have to rush/run between shots and hurry up their swings. Not true.

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If you look at a round of golf entirely, the time it takes for an individual to give out of their day, it can be up to 8 hours/round. By the time driving to and fro, maybe a little practice, a 5 hour round, the math says it's going to be a long day. A few things that aggravate are, excessive practice swings followed by a duff, golfers not being at their ball and hitting when they should be, and golfers playing the wrong tees for their skillset. Things could be a lot better without that much effort.

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Ah, human nature.  There are slow drivers on the freeway.  Slow shoppers in the grocery checkout aisle.  Would you expect anything different on the golf course?

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Just now, Double Mocha Man said:

Ah, human nature.  There are slow drivers on the freeway.  Slow shoppers in the grocery checkout aisle.  Would you expect anything different on the golf course?

Probably not, but it is good to always encourage ready golf, for the sake of all. Slow drivers? lol, I would be afraid to 'encourage' them, I might be the target of road rage.

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5 hours ago, iacas said:

Playing 18 holes in 3.5 hours is nowhere near a “hurry.”

Your 4.5 hour pace would be P-A-I-N-F-U-L to me, in a twosome, behind you. I played Southern Pines two weeks ago, waited on every tee, and finished in 3.5 hours in a twosome. And we were competing. It felt slow. We had push carts, too, and that course isn’t flat.

A Twosome should always be faster than a foursome and just because a twosome is on the heals of a foursome does not mean the foursome is playing slow.  If the group in front is a twosome then they should gradually pull away from the foursome in which case letting the twosome behind play through is appropriate, could even say "Necessary".  But if the foursome is keeping up with the group in front of them then letting the twosome play through from behind does nothing.

Often when I tee off in a twosome the starter will tell us what is ahead of us and if the course if filled with foursomes we know we will wait and there is no point in playing through, unless we know there is a gap.

I've had 4 hour rounds feel slow and 4:30 rounds feel fast, it all depends on how steady the pace is.  If it is "Start-Stop-Start" then no matter how fast the round actually is it will always feel slow.  That is often the case with a twosome behind several foursomes.

Not sure if it was a foursome ahead of you at Southern Pines but if it was and you still finished in 3.5 hours then you really should not accuse the foursome of being slow.  Yes, you were "Start-Stop-Start" which sucks, but if the foursome ahead of you finished in 3.5 hours you should consider yourself lucky.

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4 hours ago, pganapathy said:

I play in a course where maybe a Sunday at worst or otherwise tournaments only, do we have more than a few groups playing.  On a day when we have a few groups at most, whether you take 3 or 6 hours makes no difference since nobody gets held up.  So, I look at it as slow play holds up groups behind you, or you are being held up.

Only in larger courses where there are many people playing does time really come into it.

Unfortunately here in Michigan (US) most courses are busy and that is why pace-of-play is a big discussion here.  I'm not sure what your definition of "Few Groups" is but I would love to be one of 5 or 6  groups on an 18 hole course.  My guess is often we have 30-40 groups on the course at the same time.  NOTE: I seldom play private courses so they may be very different.

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On 3/13/2021 at 12:02 PM, sjduffers said:

G  There is no reason (other than slow play) that a round should take 4 hours and 15 minutes.

age disagrees with you.

 

For context, When playing solo,  I routinely finish 18 in a shade over 2 hours, (Update; just checked Golfpad, and my pace of play is 1:54)  2-1/2 hours, with nobody in front of me, feels slow. It is not due to few strokes...I am at best a mediocre golfer...my best handicap ever was 12.8 but it is currently 14.2 and heading north...I have so lost my swing that I actually hit a ball backwards this past Saturday, something I have never done before. Didn't slow me down though. 

 

However, I have for 20 years played a 2-man scramble format. We play ready golf, nobody bothers to look for lost balls for more than a few seconds as the partner will inevitably have put one in play we can find. The winning team scores between 75 and 85. We are not good golfers and never have been. However, the winning scores used to be between 85 and 95 before age sapped distance.

Yet as our scores have modestly lowered, the times have increased. They are not taking long pre-shot routines, not losing time to practice swings to hit the same duff they could hit with no practice swings, not leaving the cart in inappropriate locations...it has far more to do with me at 50 being 10, 17, and 22 years younger and they simply cannot move as fast as they used to.

Age slowed them down and the rounds are longer simply because of that. Playing ready golf, drive to the ball, hit it, rinse, repeat...4:30 rounds are not unusual with them. And I am always watching for ways to speed them up...but outside of a time machine that lets them move faster...it ain't there. 

 

Because I have been friends with these guys for 20-30 years each...we have been to weddings, funerals, baby births, shared all sorts of life experiences...the round is fun because of the people, not the pace of play but with two being late 60s/early 70s...they genuinely are not physically capable of a 3-1/2 hour round.

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8 hours ago, SEMI_Duffer said:

To you.  But you are a scratch player.

Final score has very little to do with this. I've played with fast guys shooting 100 and slow guys shooting 68. Score matters far less than you seem to think.

8 hours ago, SEMI_Duffer said:

A goodly number more of our shots end up having to be chased down in the rough, too.

I could list things, too. For example, I'm often playing much longer tees than you play.

8 hours ago, SEMI_Duffer said:

What can I say?  We do the best we can not to inconvenience other players.  Only thing we could do more than what we do is simply forgo playing.

4:15 is slow, so I doubt that.

8 hours ago, Braivo said:

I don't know why 4+ hours ever became a standard round. That's a glacial pace to me.

Yep.

8 hours ago, Braivo said:

That being said, I've been in foursomes where one player easily adds an hour to our round. It's mostly mannerisms and little things that add up. They won't be ready when it's their turn. They look too long for lost balls. They take a long time to cover and put away clubs. They talk when they should be hitting. They park in the wrong locations around greens, taking longer to walk back, etc. It's all of these things and it's maddening. 

I regularly play in foursomes, walking, in 3:00 to 3:15.

3 hours ago, StuM said:

A Twosome should always be faster than a foursome and just because a twosome is on the heals of a foursome does not mean the foursome is playing slow.

If they're taking 4:15 to play 18 holes, they're playing slow.

3 hours ago, StuM said:

But if the foursome is keeping up with the group in front of them then letting the twosome play through from behind does nothing.

I understand if the whole course is full, but just "keeping up with the group in front" is not the same as that. THat's not a "there's nowhere to go" situation.

I've seen twosomes play through several groups, and finish over an hour ahead of the first group they played through.

3 hours ago, StuM said:

I've had 4 hour rounds feel slow and 4:30 rounds feel fast, it all depends on how steady the pace is.  If it is "Start-Stop-Start" then no matter how fast the round actually is it will always feel slow.  That is often the case with a twosome behind several foursomes.

Yes, "flow" often matters more than actual pace.

3 hours ago, StuM said:

Not sure if it was a foursome ahead of you at Southern Pines but if it was and you still finished in 3.5 hours then you really should not accuse the foursome of being slow.  Yes, you were "Start-Stop-Start" which sucks, but if the foursome ahead of you finished in 3.5 hours you should consider yourself lucky.

It was a twosome. In a cart. It was cart path only, but they didn't really follow that.

And I didn't say they were slow, I said it felt slow, and we had to wait on them on almost nearly every tee (almost all after about the fifth).

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20 minutes ago, iacas said:

I understand if the whole course is full, but just "keeping up with the group in front" is not the same as that. THat's not a "there's nowhere to go" situation.

I've seen twosomes play through several groups, and finish over an hour ahead of the first group they played through.

If there is a gap, I say Play through and fill it. The key people need to understand is it is "Play Through" not "Stop and let the group behind pass".  Maybe off topic, but I've seen people putt out then wait for my group to hit up to the green and putt out only to find them waiting at the next tee having not teed off because they want to let us "Play Through".  This then causes the group behind us to be on their A#% quickly and does not improve flow.  Yes, it helps me because I am now past the slowpokes, but it does not help other groups farther back.

I wish I could find a good, easy read item, to help educate some people on what "Ready Golf Means" and "Why it Matters"  It needs to be an easy read because there are some people that just can't handle anything complicated.  In my league there was a guy that would wait for me to rake the greenside bunker and go to my ball before he would putt his.  I would say to him "We play ready golf, go ahead an putt while I rake".  He would reply "I'm not ready" as he stood there with his putter because he was 1 inch closer to the hole.  (NOTE: The key phrase is "there WAS a guy", this year I am running the league and he was a sub, not a regular player.  I am moving him to the bottom of the sub list and simply will not call him.)

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50 minutes ago, StuM said:

If there is a gap, I say Play through and fill it.

The problem with that is that people will not know if there is a gap unless the course loops back and forth on itself, or they're talking about the group in front of them (or maybe the group in front of them).

Like I said, I've played through three groups, four groups… before. It's still the right thing to do, even if the group can't necessarily see a "gap".

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Patience.

Golf helps me work on my flaws and weaknesses.  My patience, like my swing, still needs work. As we head into warmer weather, I know I'll get the chance to work on it. 3 hours feels like a long round to me right now.  I'm going to miss temps in the 30s and 40s that keep most people away!

 

I walk, and my game is like this: Walk to the ball; hit the ball. Walk to the ball; hit the ball. ...when I have to stop and wait on someone, it breaks my rhythm and drives me nuts. (Patience!) Especially when people have long, complicated pre-shot routines (Patience!!), or they walk from cart to ball, measure the distance to the flag, and then walk back to the cart for a club... (Patience!!!) ...or they walk over to their partner's shot and watch them, and then walk to their shot to play their ball. (Patience!!!!) ...or they do all of the above and then s..l..o..w..l..y amble back to their bag and futz around with their clubs before moving on.  (Oh. I'm so sorry. My 6-iron never goes more than 160 yards. I don't know what happened there.)

 

Slow play vs. playing slow

Slow play is when you slow the play of the people behind you.  (It may not be your fault - there may be a slow group in front of you too.  That's still slow play.)  Playing slow, though, is when a player wastes time. (That's on the player.)

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