Pace of Play has been a huge issue over the last 5-10 years with the addition of longer golf courses with more challenging design elements.
Trust me, nobody wants to play a 5 1/2 hour round. It is not fun and takes up most of your day to complete.
There are a few key points to keep in mind when you are playing a round of golf that can help you speed up play without hurting your game.
1. Play “Ready golf – “Ready Golf” is a term used in golf that refers to playing your shot when you are ready even though you may be closer to the hole. In tournament golf, it is normally the player further from the hole that plays their shot first. However, when you are playing a recreational round it is good practice to play your shot when you are ready to hit. Your playing partners may be farther but if they are searching for a ball, assessing their lie, or trying to decide on a club to use then it is best to go ahead and play as long as they are not in danger of being hit with a wayward shot.
2. Choose Your Club Wisely – Many of you are playing courses that are “Cart Path Only” or you have to park in designated areas and cannot pull right up to your ball. In this case, estimate your distance to the hole as best as you can and choose a club you think should work. In addition, bring 2 other clubs with you just in case you misjudged the distance, lie, and/or wind. (i.e – If you chose a 7-iron then also bring the 8-iron and 6-iron to the ball). This will save valuable time walking back to the golf cart.
3. Abandon a severely Lost Ball – If your ball went into a heavily wooded area or maybe near a water hazard then give it a look for a minute or two and drop if you cannot find it. If you are keeping your handicap and worried about the rules, then hit an extra ball from that spot as a provisional so you do not need to walk back. Chances are, if you are deep in the trees and find it you are going to have a tough time getting out in 1-2 shots so do yourself a favor and play on with another ball.
4. Putting – There are a few things with putting that can be done to improve the speed of play. First, look at the break of the green as others are walking up or reading theirs. Don’t wait around until it is your turn and then do a full analysis of the green. Have an idea before it is your turn and then confirm it when you are up. Secondly, don’t sweat over the 2-footer. 99% of the time you will make that putt so it is not necessary to mark the ball, clean it, put it down, and then putt it. If you want to putt it then just finish it up after your initial putt was hit. Those valuable minutes will pay off with a quicker round.
5. Tee it Forward – The last, and probably most important Pace of Play suggestion is to Tee it Forward. This initiative was started to give you an opportunity to challenge yourself based on your “real” handicap. Most players play from the tees too far back from their skill level and end up shooting high scores because the course overpowers them. If you played from a tee more forward than normal, you will still be challenged greatly but it gives you a chance to hit short clubs into holes rather than having to hit a hybrid or fairway wood all the time.
To learn more about Tee It Forward please click here – Play Golf America’s Tee it Forward Program
If you follow this advice it will help make your rounds more enjoyable and not feel like an eternity. If you have any questions or would like to know how improving your golf game can help speed up play then please give me a call.