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If every golfer were an 18 or better handicap, would slow play be a thing of the past?


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I think it'd help a little bit. Not significantly, but a little. Cutting down on the number of people spending two minutes looking for lost balls 5 times per 9 holes would help, and it's just plain easier to play faster when you take fewer shots. IMO, some of the most wasted time comes from poor play around the green, for example, the chunked 90 yard shot leads to trading out clubs for the 20 yard pitch, which goes over the back of the green and leads to 5 practice swings to blade it back past the hole. Then there's a long putt that takes a long assessment because the player is getting frustrated, then a second putt from 8 feet, then a tap in. I could pitch on and putt out two or times in the time it takes them to go through that process. Some players will play through that quickly, but not all of them. Some play slower the closer they get to the green and the more frustrated they become. If nothing else, most of the people I've played with at least start taking more practice swings.
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No.  There is far more to playing at a good pace than just skill level.  I've played with a lot of poor golfers in my life, and they were rarely slow.  Most of the time they know that they are going t

I find handicap is a poor indicator of pace of play because it's more the mindset of the player than their skill level. Some guys have a busy life where they try to fit golf into it but don't have

Yes it does. Poor players have to hit more shots and poor players have to look for more balls.  That all takes time. A good player can be slow as well but it's rare to see a foursome of



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I think it'd help a little bit. Not significantly, but a little. Cutting down on the number of people spending two minutes looking for lost balls 5 times per 9 holes would help, and it's just plain easier to play faster when you take fewer shots.

In my experience, it's the better players that spend more time looking for lost balls.

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No one mentioned the "gallery factor".  All four players hunt down a ball, then three guys watch the fourth take practice swings, set up, hit, and watch the ball bounce, roll and stop.  Then they all drive to the next ball, and the process is repeated.

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I can't imagine shooting 120 in 2.5 hours playing by myself let alone with 3 people on different tees.

Originally Posted by awmgolfer

Not at all. My wife who just plays for fun can easily keep pace with myself and the club pro. We are both single digit handicaps and she doesn't have a handicap but she shoots in the 120's. The club pro and I are quick paced players, we can play an 18 hole round in about 2 1/2 hours and she doesn't cause any undue slowness. I have played with other single digit handicaps that is like watching grass grow which still could be faster. Handicap has no bearing on pace of play in my experience.



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Of course the answer is NO.  Pace of play is something learned (or sometimes slow pace is from lack of knowledge.)  An example of lack of common courtesy and knowledge is the guy who gets out of his cart at the green, selects his chipping club, walks to the front of the green and chips 30 feet long (so it is still his shot in the rotation.)  But wait... he has no putter with him.  He goes back to the cart and puts his wedge away and gets his putter.  Then he walks to his ball and does the read from both sides (even though he has already chipped long on the same line.) and finally putts another two or three times, taking extra time on the thrid putt when the break is clearly obvious and not in need of a plumb bob.  I watch this from time to time and wonder... why would he not select his chipper and putter and take them both to his ball, ready to play his next shot with his putter.  I see the same thing when an approach shot might be one of two clubs -- why not take both to the ball so if you need to change clubs you can do it without the long walk back to the cart?  I could give dozens of such examples of slow play, and when the group in front of you does these things and two or three holes open up ahead,, of course you are going to be perturbed.  Please do not ask me to chill out when the slow play behavior is simply lack of courtesy.  Handicaps are not the issue, knowledge and common sense are the issues.

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I'm more than fine with a good player taking more time with his shot. He probably only gets 75 or less shots anyway, so he should be allowed to take some extra time, within reason. We are just out there to have fun after all (I'm just talking about a casual round).

It'd be nice though to root out all the clueless people out there. Would it really hurt golf that much to force players to take an etiquette class prior to being allowed on any course? Once you pass the class (maybe like 20 minutes long), they put your name in the system (the internet) and they can just see if you've taken it already when you go in to pay your greens fees. I doubt it would solve the problem, but it may help some.

In response to the OP though, I'm going to say maybe. Again, there'd be no more clueless 36 handicaps. There'd be no old ladies pitching it around the fairway. Etc. Not there's anything wrong with any of those things IMO. By all means, enjoy the game, regardless of skill level out there. It'd just be nice if they knew etiquette too. And it also would be nice if the better players didn't go Kevin Na out there on the rest of us!

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Originally Posted by Gresh24

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In my experience, it's the better players that spend more time looking for lost balls.


The best player in my regular group spends all five minutes before giving up on finding his ball. He does not take that penalty stroke very easily. On the other hand, he only searches for a ball once every two or three rounds. It is not the low handicap player that burns much time looking for balls. It is the long and wild player that can kill the pace regardless of how good they are around the green and other tricks if the wildness causes searches.

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My favorite golf course, that I regularly play 2 times a week or more, is really tough in terms of the speed of play. Unless you're in the fairway, you really need to have an exact idea of where your ball went in the rough. The rough is usually around 4 inches high and there's many areas where it is between 6-7 inches high, with hazard patches of weeds, cat tails and bermuda at 8+ inches in length. This makes it extremely challenging and fun, however if sometimes it is really hard to walk away from a drive that hit fairway and took an awkward bounce to the rough. Most golfers will spend a few minutes searching for the ball because let's be honest, you hit a 280 yard drive on a tight Par 4, using a ball that runs $30-45/dozen, it becomes personal to find it and play your shot. The cost factors in, the frustration of not being able to play your legit second shot, it's like they should be playing some Benny Hill over loud speakers when people are frantically searching for their ball.

I personally say the hell with it. I'm not rich, but I'm also not going to hold up other golfers for 5+ minutes searching for my ball. If I have a general idea of where my ball may be, I will do my best to search in a wide circle area and close in. If I don't find I'll play another ball near the area where my ball was "lost" from sight. It sucks to give up a shot and give up a $4 ball, but searching for 10 minutes and not finding it would frustrate me even more than losing it to begin with.

All in all, I think course difficulty and the way that the course is groomed also plays into speed of play (obviously). Of course you'll have an elitist or smart ass simply say "Well if you hit the fairway you wouldn't need to find your ball". Well, if I could hit 90% FIRs, I sure as hell wouldn't be golfing a public course and paying for my round. I'd be on TV.

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No!!!!  Upon occasion I play with a fellow who is a scratch, or very close, golfer and he is slow slow slow.  I doubt we have ever completed a round in less than 4 hours 30 minutes.  I don't play with this fellow very often but he is a part of a group I play with and it is an unwritten rule you have to take your turn in the "bag" and play with this fellow when it's your turn.  Very good golfer usually +/- 2 from par, but really slow.

I have seen a lot of these thread that want to correlate high handicap with slow play.  In my experience however slow play is caused by bad habits on the course and not by taking more strokes.  While it is indisputable that taking more strokes takes more time that isn't what causes 5 hour rounds.  I know when I first began to play I would go out early before the first official tee times on a local course with a buddy who got me started on this game, I would fire an amazing 130, walk the course and take 3 hours 20 minutes for the two of us.  So it isn't poor golf that causes slow rounds.

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Originally Posted by ghalfaire

No!!!!  Upon occasion I play with a fellow who is a scratch, or very close, golfer and he is slow slow slow.  I doubt we have ever completed a round in less than 4 hours 30 minutes.  I don't play with this fellow very often but he is a part of a group I play with and it is an unwritten rule you have to take your turn in the "bag" and play with this fellow when it's your turn.  Very good golfer usually +/- 2 from par, but really slow.

I have seen a lot of these thread that want to correlate high handicap with slow play.  In my experience however slow play is caused by bad habits on the course and not by taking more strokes.  While it is indisputable that taking more strokes takes more time that isn't what causes 5 hour rounds.  I know when I first began to play I would go out early before the first official tee times on a local course with a buddy who got me started on this game, I would fire an amazing 130, walk the course and take 3 hours 20 minutes for the two of us.  So it isn't poor golf that causes slow rounds.


Taking more strokes is relative. Every handicap range has the potential for very slow and very quick players. Just watch people get out of their car, grab their clubs, switch shoes, and get to the pro shop. Some people take forever and other people hit the ground running and are good to go almost immediately.

A typical 18 handicap short hitter (e.g. a senior or lady) tends to play quite quickly. They hit the ball straight(ish) and just need an extra stroke here and there to reach the longer holes.  They may not have the greatest short games either, but they tend to play the hole through the opening to the green versus firing over hazards and at every pin.

A long hitting 18 capper can be very slow because they can spray the ball into places a shorter hitter never reaches. But they might also be very quick and lose a stroke here or there near the hole, where sideways shots don't travel too far.

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I've played with poor golfers who take hours hitting ball after ball 50 - 100 yards, but I've also spent massive amount of time waiting for premier golfers to calculate yardage, etc. It goes both ways.

Years ago when I lived in Oklahoma, the city had a half-dozen amateur tournaments a year. By far the slowest people were the A-flight group, those clowns flirting with a single-digit handicap who thought they could meditate the ball into the cup if they measured enough.

Had my most embarrassing penalty ever as a B-flighter playing behind an A-flight logjam. It was a medium Par 4 with a narrow landing area. I hit my drive along the edge of the fairway, and a cart runs out of the trees and almost gets hit. Turns out two A-flight groups were stacked up near the green.

Anyway, it took 25 minutes for the two A's to clear, in which time I forgot where my ball had landed. I had to declare a lost ball, return to the tee box and hit again. No matter -- despite the wasted time, we had to wait on them going into the green on the following hole.

After the round, we checked for Sunday pairings. When we realized we would be trailing A-flight again, one our our guys withdrew from the tournament. "Can't stand slow play," he said.

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I guess that was all I was trying to say.  Being a quick or slow golfer doesn't have much to do with your handicap.

Originally Posted by sean_miller

Taking more strokes is relative. Every handicap range has the potential for very slow and very quick players. Just watch people get out of their car, grab their clubs, switch shoes, and get to the pro shop. Some people take forever and other people hit the ground running and are good to go almost immediately.

A typical 18 handicap short hitter (e.g. a senior or lady) tends to play quite quickly. They hit the ball straight(ish) and just need an extra stroke here and there to reach the longer holes.  They may not have the greatest short games either, but they tend to play the hole through the opening to the green versus firing over hazards and at every pin.

A long hitting 18 capper can be very slow because they can spray the ball into places a shorter hitter never reaches. But they might also be very quick and lose a stroke here or there near the hole, where sideways shots don't travel too far.



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No . I have seen decent handicaper play and they are not playing "ready golf" . That really slow the game a lot .

After tee off , they dont go to their own ball but go to the the ball that furthest to the pin and watch the player hit his ball . After the shot is taken, they move to the 2nd ball that furthest to the pin and watch the shot .

This go on and on to the putting green .

They just drive you nutts !

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For the most part it seems on the greens is where people take forever.  I'm still amazed as the guy walks around and looks at the putt from every angle when he is laying 8 on a par 4.  Then they say I could play great if only I could putt.  It's like they totally forgot the 3 shanks and 4 top shots it took for them to get on the green in the first place.  On the other hand I've played with better players that also take along time on the greens but, it usually only takes them 2 shots max when the worse players can take 4 and still read every putt for a minute.

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Slow is slow - the handicap has little bearing unless a newbie has not been taught any kind of etiquette. I play with a high HC that slows us down because every ball is in the rough or out of bounds and he is determined to find those OOB balls. I have never spent 5 minutes searching for my own ball once on a hole, now picture a guy that can lose 3 balls on a hole. No matter how much I try to get him to move up a set of tees or to tee off with his irons, he wont listen. I play with others of similar skill levels and we are waiting on every shot for the group in front of us.(not that the group in front is slow)

Then there are the single digit guys that are not painfully slow, but manage to slow down everyone else because they insist on parking their carts short of the greens (if not basically on them) and wiping down their clubs before moving onto the next tee box.

Where I play, if common etiquette was observed, everyone's day would be a bit shorter. Unfortunately it seems to be the guys that have played forever that refuse to display any common courtesy.

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No.  I think pace of play is really based on two things, the mindset of the person playing and the course setup, mostly the first.  An associate of mine (hard to call him a friend) is a perfect example, he is the first one to bitch when he is held up by someone (which rarely happens), but is the slowest player I have ever played with.  I've even heard him make comments like, I paid my green fees and I'll take as long as I want to play, or I'm looking for this ball until I find it, a mindset like that ruins it for all, and why no one wants to golf with him.

Also, I find the course setup can have a bearing on how fast the game is played. As an 11 handicap I can hit some ugly shots, and if every missed hit shot requires me to spend 5 minutes looking for a ball, that can really slow down play.

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I find handicap is a poor indicator of pace of play because it's more the mindset of the player than their skill level.

Some guys have a busy life where they try to fit golf into it but don't have the luxury of 5+ hour rounds so they play accordingly with one eye always on the time.  Other guys are escaping from work / family or just have nothing else better to do.  These guys have a few drinks, take their time while they play and feel their green fees entitle them to a full days worth of entertainment.

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