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Tips to Improve Slow Play


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I'm not one to rush through a round of golf (I like to enjoy the time out there), but I'm very conscious of pace of play and our position on the course relative to other groups.  I'm usually the first person in our group to notice if we're falling behind and urge others to pick up the pace.  Even as a high handicapper, there's no excuse for unnecessarily slow play and it's not hard to keep your place on the course:

1)  Play ready golf.  Don't stand around on the tee box waiting for the guy with honors, who is writing scores down, taking a leak in the bushes, putting his glove back on, etc.  If you're ready, get up there and hit!

2)  Nothing wrong with having a pre-shot routine, but don't make it an arcane ceremony involving throwing grass in the air, plumb-bobbing the fairway, circling your ball three times, taking five practice swings and four deep breaths standing over the ball before you hit.

3)  If you're walking to your ball from a cart, take several clubs with you - whatever you may need for the shot.  Walking clear back to the cart because you don't have the right club is a big time-waster.

4)  If you're using a laser rangefinder/GPS, have it out and ready as you approach your ball.  Don't wait until you're standing over your ball to pull it out of the cart/case and faffle around with it.  Have it ready, give it a quick look and pull the trigger.

5)  On/around the green, play ready golf.  If somebody hits out of a bunker and is still away, other people should putt rather than standing around waiting for him to rake the bunker, gather up his clubs and walk to his ball on the other side of the green.

6) Again on the green - if you don't concede putts/gimmes, finish the putt out rather than marking your 4-inch tap-in for triple bogey.

7) Whoever has putted out should grab the flagstick and have it ready to put back in the cup as soon as the last person is done putting.

8)  Clear the green immediately.  Don't screw around practicing that putt you missed, putting gloves back on, counting your strokes, etc.  And don't sit/stand right off the green writing down your scores - go to the next tee box and do it while somebody else is hitting.

Like # 6

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I understand this concern, but I think there are definitely ways you can do it without being confrontational. One of the normal members of our men's club group is pretty slow, so I have learned to per

When I was a beginner, I took 5+ hours to play a round of 18 by myself.  And I rushed and didn't waste time. When I asked some of the single digit handicap golfers how I could speed up my play.

I'd rather be behind a slow group than in a slow group. Nothing is worse than knowing you're holding up the course because the bozos in your group are oblivious. Standing around the green and shoot

I have always viewed pace of play issues like a traffic jam.  Put too many cars on the highway or in the case of golf, golfers, just one slowdown anywhere on the golf course will cause a systemic shut down of the golf course.

A lot of it can be attributed to the golf course that tends to stick too many tee times close together so that groups are not spaced evenly apart to promote faster play.  But ultimately it's the golfer and their attitude.

In other words, we (golfers) are to blame.

Just like a lot of others before me said there are any number of ways to speed play, but it only takes one individual in the group that feels above all others that will put the pace of play to a crawl.

What do you guys think?

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First, thanks to everyone who offered me tips on the use of carts. I'll be sure to review them before my next round that has a cart and other people (I use a cart for summer rounds in the desert, but I often have a multiple hole section of the course to myself). [quote name="iacas" url="/t/82192/tips-to-improve-slow-play/36#post_1146695"] I think that's a fair assumption, but I don't know that it has to do with the use of the cart. [/quote] When I'm walking, I'm aware of how much noise I'm making -- for example, I can avoid my irons from clattering too much. I'm not really alert to how much noise I'm making when I use a cart -- and part of that is inexperience. I'm also more able to hide from view when someone is hitting -- I know, for example, at my home course which trees (and even routes) I can walk towards a ball that won't interfere with where some shorter tee shots land. Anyway, these are things I need to work on, especially if I'm going to start playing nicer courses at usual times.
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I normally don't experience pace of play issues for the courses at which I play....but it happens occasionally....like this weekend.  The starter let a 4-some start on #10 despite #1 being wide open and a steady flow of traffic already on the course.  Compounding the problem, is that this 4-some felt like they owned the course and proceeded to hit numerous drives.  We watched one idiot top about 6 consecutive tee shots.  The rest were not much better and equally entitled to get a good tee shot.  They weren't that good from the fairway either and naturally had to find and collect all the balls hit from the tee.  The result was that the 3-some in front of us, my partner and I, the 2-some behind us and the 4-some behind them are stacked up at #10.  We complained to the starter and then re-played the front 9.

What makes this really irritating is the blatancy.  The slow group could see the growing crowd gathering behind them on the 10th tee.  They didn't appear to give a damn.

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Wow, that's amazing, no way would I stand by and watch that happen, if there's a wait the group ahead of me gets one mulligan and it better be snappy, after that go take a drop on the fairway, I can't imagine the earful a group would get for 6 balls off the tee at the places I frequent, at Bethpage it would get ugly quick.

And being the courses don't seem to care much I think it's up to players to police the course more, I was told not to say anything once out of fear of a fight but come on, if there's blatant slow play the group needs to hear it, fighting is not happening, just words.

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I normally don't experience pace of play issues for the courses at which I play....but it happens occasionally....like this weekend.  The starter let a 4-some start on #10 despite #1 being wide open and a steady flow of traffic already on the course.  Compounding the problem, is that this 4-some felt like they owned the course and proceeded to hit numerous drives.  We watched one idiot top about 6 consecutive tee shots.  The rest were not much better and equally entitled to get a good tee shot.  They weren't that good from the fairway either and naturally had to find and collect all the balls hit from the tee.  The result was that the 3-some in front of us, my partner and I, the 2-some behind us and the 4-some behind them are stacked up at #10.  We complained to the starter and then re-played the front 9.

What makes this really irritating is the blatancy.  The slow group could see the growing crowd gathering behind them on the 10th tee.  They didn't appear to give a damn.

Where in Central NY was this?

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I normally don't experience pace of play issues for the courses at which I play....but it happens occasionally....like this weekend.  The starter let a 4-some start on #10 despite #1 being wide open and a steady flow of traffic already on the course.  Compounding the problem, is that this 4-some felt like they owned the course and proceeded to hit numerous drives.  We watched one idiot top about 6 consecutive tee shots.  The rest were not much better and equally entitled to get a good tee shot.  They weren't that good from the fairway either and naturally had to find and collect all the balls hit from the tee.  The result was that the 3-some in front of us, my partner and I, the 2-some behind us and the 4-some behind them are stacked up at #10.  We complained to the starter and then re-played the front 9.

What makes this really irritating is the blatancy.  The slow group could see the growing crowd gathering behind them on the 10th tee.  They didn't appear to give a damn.

I see this all the time. That's why my opinion is so cynical. Problem is more cultural and psychological than informational/knowledge related. People do whatever the hell they want.

On a related note, I'm paired w/people who don't fix ball marks or rake all the time. I'm always fixing ball marks, I fix so many because of slow play (and people don't fix their ball marks), but rarely does anyone see my example and try fixing ball marks themselves. Same with raking bunkers. People suck. Or a least big metropolis indifferent people. This doesn't hasn't annoyed me for a long time - not good.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Topper

I normally don't experience pace of play issues for the courses at which I play....but it happens occasionally....like this weekend.  The starter let a 4-some start on #10 despite #1 being wide open and a steady flow of traffic already on the course.  Compounding the problem, is that this 4-some felt like they owned the course and proceeded to hit numerous drives.  We watched one idiot top about 6 consecutive tee shots.  The rest were not much better and equally entitled to get a good tee shot.  They weren't that good from the fairway either and naturally had to find and collect all the balls hit from the tee.  The result was that the 3-some in front of us, my partner and I, the 2-some behind us and the 4-some behind them are stacked up at #10.  We complained to the starter and then re-played the front 9.

What makes this really irritating is the blatancy.  The slow group could see the growing crowd gathering behind them on the 10th tee.  They didn't appear to give a damn.

I see this all the time. That's why my opinion is so cynical. Problem is more cultural and psychological than informational/knowledge related. People do whatever the hell they want.

It only takes one or two groups like this to slow down the pace.   People need to understand some of us have things to do after the round.   Marshals also need to be active in policing (for lack of better word) the course for pace issues, and nudge slow groups along.

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I am fairly lucky now...The courses that I now play pretty strictly enforce pace of play.  They have multiple people monitoring the course, and they are not afraid to have a chat with a group, and if the group doesn't catch up then they will tell the group to skip a hole to get back into position.  Or they can leave.

They have the pace of play rules displayed on the front and back doors of the pro shop.  At the counter of the pro shop and on the first tee.  Things still slow down at times but overall for busy public courses on a weekend I have been pretty happy with the pace.

A couple of weekend s ago a 4some I was playing in caught the twosome in front of us on the 3rd hole.  They were a hole behind the group in front of them, which was also a 4 some.  They were decent players, just acted like they were on the PGA tour.  Both players would walk around the green a couple of times reading putts.  But only when it was there turn...etc..basically copying how the PGA tour players move....By the 4th tee box a marshall warned them to step it up to catch up.  On the 6th hole the marshall asked them to skip a hole.  They threw a fit but did.  We caught them again on the 10th.  On the 12th they were asked to leave....Another fit ensued but they did leave.  The pro at the shop told me he refunded them for the back 9.  And they have a note in the computer system showing that they are slow players...

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I am fairly lucky now...The courses that I now play pretty strictly enforce pace of play.  They have multiple people monitoring the course, and they are not afraid to have a chat with a group, and if the group doesn't catch up then they will tell the group to skip a hole to get back into position.  Or they can leave.

They have the pace of play rules displayed on the front and back doors of the pro shop.  At the counter of the pro shop and on the first tee.  Things still slow down at times but overall for busy public courses on a weekend I have been pretty happy with the pace.

A couple of weekend s ago a 4some I was playing in caught the twosome in front of us on the 3rd hole.  They were a hole behind the group in front of them, which was also a 4 some.  They were decent players, just acted like they were on the PGA tour.  Both players would walk around the green a couple of times reading putts.  But only when it was there turn...etc..basically copying how the PGA tour players move....By the 4th tee box a marshall warned them to step it up to catch up.  On the 6th hole the marshall asked them to skip a hole.  They threw a fit but did.  We caught them again on the 10th.  On the 12th they were asked to leave....Another fit ensued but they did leave.  The pro at the shop told me he refunded them for the back 9.  And they have a note in the computer system showing that they are slow players...

Awesome!   My home course have similar policy but only once, I saw them make a group skip a hole which they obliged without causing a scene.   And they were part of a tournament group.   The policing and enforcing the "pace" rule is all it takes IMO.  But many courses don't care or are unwilling (afraid of revenue impact).

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I'm not sure that there is a whole lot more that you can do to speed up play. I live in Florida and put the clubs away after Christmas because the courses are expensive and the pace of play is brutal. Once you get past four hours, I start to lose interest. The worst part is seeing the rangers drive by and say "there are no gaps, everyone is where they should be". One thing I have noticed at some local courses that I play regularly in the summer/fall is that cram golfers on the course without tee times because they need the revenue.  Until the golf industry starts to make it's way back to the boom times in the 90's and 2000 I think this will be a regular occurrence.

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I am fairly lucky now...The courses that I now play pretty strictly enforce pace of play.  They have multiple people monitoring the course, and they are not afraid to have a chat with a group, and if the group doesn't catch up then they will tell the group to skip a hole to get back into position.  Or they can leave.

They have the pace of play rules displayed on the front and back doors of the pro shop.  At the counter of the pro shop and on the first tee.  Things still slow down at times but overall for busy public courses on a weekend I have been pretty happy with the pace.

A couple of weekend s ago a 4some I was playing in caught the twosome in front of us on the 3rd hole.  They were a hole behind the group in front of them, which was also a 4 some.  They were decent players, just acted like they were on the PGA tour.  Both players would walk around the green a couple of times reading putts.  But only when it was there turn...etc..basically copying how the PGA tour players move....By the 4th tee box a marshall warned them to step it up to catch up.  On the 6th hole the marshall asked them to skip a hole.  They threw a fit but did.  We caught them again on the 10th.  On the 12th they were asked to leave....Another fit ensued but they did leave.  The pro at the shop told me he refunded them for the back 9.  And they have a note in the computer system showing that they are slow players...

this is awesome...wish more courses had the balls to tell players to hurry up or GTFO.

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I am fairly lucky now...The courses that I now play pretty strictly enforce pace of play.  They have multiple people monitoring the course, and they are not afraid to have a chat with a group, and if the group doesn't catch up then they will tell the group to skip a hole to get back into position.  Or they can leave.

They have the pace of play rules displayed on the front and back doors of the pro shop.  At the counter of the pro shop and on the first tee.  Things still slow down at times but overall for busy public courses on a weekend I have been pretty happy with the pace.

A couple of weekend s ago a 4some I was playing in caught the twosome in front of us on the 3rd hole.  They were a hole behind the group in front of them, which was also a 4 some.  They were decent players, just acted like they were on the PGA tour.  Both players would walk around the green a couple of times reading putts.  But only when it was there turn...etc..basically copying how the PGA tour players move....By the 4th tee box a marshall warned them to step it up to catch up.  On the 6th hole the marshall asked them to skip a hole.  They threw a fit but did.  We caught them again on the 10th.  On the 12th they were asked to leave....Another fit ensued but they did leave.  The pro at the shop told me he refunded them for the back 9.  And they have a note in the computer system showing that they are slow players...

That last line really takes the cake for me. I always thought it would be a great idea, but never knew anyone was actually doing it. What's the name of the course?

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Its meadowood golf course in spokane wa. Its a county owned course. There are 3 county courses all connected in a computer system. All 3 of them take slow play very seriously. When you go play your name gets entered into the customer computer system. They jave the ability to attach notes to the person. They have the tee times spread out very well also. All 3 really run a pretty tight ship. Its not perfect for sure. But i havent jad any 5hr nightmare rounds and i am a weekend player
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I've weighed in on this discussion before here in this forum, but I feel my experiences are different than the majority. Most of the rounds of golf you encounter in this town are 5 hour rounds of golf. If you are lucky, you may get away with a 4.5 hour round. If you are unlucky, prepare for a 6 hour marathon round. I feel the reason for the long rounds here are simple; people are on vacation. They have no where to be (other than to make their afternoon tee-time if they are playing 36 holes). Spending 10 minutes flirting with the beer cart girl. Drinking way too many beers. Reading every putt for 90 seconds. Full team search for an obvious lost ball. Fishing balls out of water hazards. No real "strategy" when it comes to driving a golf cart with a partner. These are the common "time-sucks" I often see.
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A friend of mine made a big mistake with one of our vacation rounds. The fella should of known better since we previously played the course, but he had my bruv (only a very occasional golfer) and a brand-spanking new golfer play this tough course. It was a fancy place with GPS in the cart and the display showed how far behind pace of play we were. At one point, we were 30 minutes behind the 4 hours or whatever. The two less experienced retired on the 13th and we almost made the thing up with just the two of us, not that we were playing worth a darn.

As it was, it was ok because almost nobody was on the course with us. Still, it goes to show that we need to care for the newbies with us. Pick the courses and times for them to get their first licks in.

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Here is a tip to improve pace of play, hire ugly cart girls, or better yet, hire guys for the job.

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I have always viewed pace of play issues like a traffic jam.  Put too many cars on the highway or in the case of golf, golfers, just one slowdown anywhere on the golf course will cause a systemic shut down of the golf course.

A lot of it can be attributed to the golf course that tends to stick too many tee times close together so that groups are not spaced evenly apart to promote faster play.  But ultimately it's the golfer and their attitude.

I tend to agree with this comment.  When the tee times just don't allow for someone to even spend a minute looking for a lost ball without holding up the people behind you it will end up in a traffic jam.  Even if that foursome gets back on track quickly you have created a jam behind them that will take some time to correct.  Most golfers are going to hit a few not so good shots and will need an extra amount of time to find the ball and figure out their next move, whereas tee times on a lot of course are based on everyone in the foursome playing without error on every foursome.  So have one player lose a ball or put one OB without realizing it and you have a traffic jam.

I do also agree there is an attitude problem with some  players that seem to think the "bought" the course with their green fees.  But I see this as problem that the courses could solve with proper ranger presence and reasonable pace of play rules that are enforced (some courses do and actually remove players that don't cooperate from the course).

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