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October 1's Trap Five: Speeding Up Play

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The problem doesn't lie in the extremes, but in the "mucky middle." What do you do about bogey golfers? They'll shoot 85 to 95 regularly - should they follow the rules? If they don't, well, their "I broke 90 today, honey!" isn't very honest. What about the guy trying to break 100? Or the guy trying to break 80? Or his personal best-ever 104?

I sucked at golf in the beginning. We all did. Nobody broke 100 the first time out. I hacked it around and I made damn sure I walked quickly. I realized that a bladed 5-iron goes as far as a bladed 6-iron, so I didn't agonize over club choice.

But I never reported an actual score. If people asked how I did, I said "I had one par today!" or "I struck the ball pretty well" or "my putting was great."

But you can darn well bet that when I was approaching some barriers (breaking 90 was the first one, because I came in under 100 pretty quickly, or would have if I was keeping an actual score under the rules), I started playing by the rules. I still had the "quick play" mentality, and the course I first learned on didn't have that much trouble (Green Meadows, Dave). And my scores "counted."

I wish everyone could know when that border was crossed, or at least that when they say "I broke 100" they add an asterisk, even in their own head, to their score, knowing that the four drops they took really taint their achievement. I wish, but it doesn't happen.

Until then, why, drops or not, the five guidelines laid out (and the next five too) should help people play more quickly.

P.S. I occasionally take a swipe at another ball in a handicap round (i.e. non-competition), but I never play the second shot. I always play the first. By the strictest of rules, that's considered "practice" during a round of play and is illegal, but I draw my own personal line there. It happens rather infrequently to boot.

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The problem doesn't lie in the extremes, but in the "mucky middle." What do you do about bogey golfers? They'll shoot 85 to 95 regularly - should they follow the rules?

The "mucky middle" is exactly right, Erik, in more ways than one.

"Ed" hits his shot into the trees and can't find it. Takes a drop where he last saw it go in and hits a tree limb trying to get back out onto the fairway. Barely gets it back out on his next and ends up carding a quadruple for the hole...including the penalty his assessed to himself. "Paul" hits the same drive as "Ed" but takes a provisional, just in case. First ball's lost but the provisional is in good shape and "Paul" gets away with a bogey. Three stroke difference and "Paul" played by the Rules. I don't care, personally, if you play by the Rules, or not, in a "friendly" round. You owe it to yourself to know the Rules, though.
Like your example of the 2 stroke penaly if you putt out with the flagstick in place. I did that last weekend and wasn't even aware it was a rule so instead of shooting 112 I really shot 114.

Ain't that one a booger? Five-footer from the fringe that goes in with the pin in and you're "golden". 20-footer on the putting surface that goes in, with the pin in, and you add two penalty strokes. (Technically, it has to

hit the flagstick to incur the penalty but try to putt one in that doesn't hit it. ) Rick

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Taking 2-3 practice strokes for every shot! Think about it if you shoot par you've taken over 200 practice strokes...

It may annoy people, but im sorry to say this is what ive just started doing and it has helped me a lot.

Im rigid in my pre shot routine now, i take 3 practice swings, pick a marker 1 ft ahead of my ball, line up and hit the ball. Since i started this, ive managed to make a indent on my handicap and have got to 27...Woo Hoo ;)

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