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So What's The Hold Up?


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How To Play Faster
Here's an excerpt from the latest issue of GFW. Thoughts?

Slow golfers are the scourge of the game. Here, 12 ways to pick up the pace of play (and please the masses behind you).

1. Shop around. If you want to play at a decent pace, be a smart consumer. Before making a tee time, ask if the course has a starter, tee time intervals of at least eight minutes, and a USGA Pace rating. If the pro shop can’t answer your questions, take your money and your time elsewhere. And if you hear the words, “Listen, sweetheart….” organize a boycott.

2. Be ready to play on the firs tee. Don’t use the first four holes as a warm-up. In case you haven’t been paying attention this is what happens when you bumble your way to the first tee still tying your shoes: You top your first ball and immediately re-tee. Not wishing to slow things down any more, you fire away, missing your second attempt in the exact opposite direction. Meanwhile, the group ahead of you (remember them, the ones you were supposed to keep up with?) has reached a location outside your calling area. Good work. You’re well on your way toward ruining the day for the rest of the golf course. Why not do a rain dance while you’re at it?

3. Practice your short game. Research has shown that getting up and down in three strokes moves play along more rapidly than getting up and down in five strokes, three tomahawk chops and two throws. Seriously, too many of us take more time to go the final 10 yards than to go the first 400. Here’s the cool thing about having a decent short game: chipping it or lagging it to a few inches from the holes means your work is done. Short work around the greens gets you home faster.

4. Pick up. Please explain why you think you’re playing in the U.S. Open. If you are going to make a core higher than eight, for the love of God, pick up. And by the way, this is different from picking up after your eighth stroke. If you’ve hit two balls in the water on a par 3, pick up. As Frank Hannigan, former executive director of the USGA, television analyst and golf’s critic emeritus, once wrote, “Can there be anything more ludicrous in the entire spectrum of sport than a person of any sex with a bonafide USGA handicap of 33 perspiring over a four-foot putt for a seven?” Answer: No.

5. If you are alone in the cart, you should be moving toward your ball. While standing and watching your cart partner go through her pre-shot routine is both informative and entertaining, it gets you and your group no closer to finishing the hole, and much closer to causing the group behind you to go Tony Soprano on you. And please, park the cart past the hole and on your way to the next tee.

6. When it’s cart-path only, take multiple clubs, including a wedge. This is common sense, which is why it needs to be explained to golfers. Do not unstrap your golf bad. If you are 145 yards from the green and cannot eliminate from the club-selection equation a banana, an extra sleeve of balls, a shoehorn, a Band-Aid and the lucky rabbit’s foot that you’ve clipped onto your towel ring, you need to get your doctor to up the dosage on your Aricept prescription.

7. Be prepared. Getting around the golf course before sundown means expecting the unexpected. So have an extra ball in your pocket on the tee in case things to wildly out of control Also, focus not only on where your stray tee shot is headed (find a landmark), but watch your playing partners’ shots, too. Finally, use every restroom you come across. Pretend you’re a 6-year old and I’m your mother and we’re about to go on a long car ride.

8. Appoint a pace-of-play warden for your group. Her job is to talk to the starter and get the recommended pace of play for the day, then watch the clock and the groups ahead and behind a regular intervals. Her word, like that of Judge Roy Bean, should be law. There are two benefits to this: 1) it makes pace of play one person’s responsibility, not the group’s. 2) A personal marshal means avoiding potential confrontation with those power-hungry, Gestapo-like trolls that have taken jobs at golf courses as “marshals” or “players’ assistants” because they’re too damn cheap to pay for golf. One other thought: Rotate the job among your regular group. No one likes being the assistant principal all the time.

9. Don’t play with men. Like a brontosaurus in the final days of the Mesozoic Era, men on a golf course are genetically slow and stupid. Despite it not mattering in the least, they have to know yardages and wind direction, they wait for greens to clear on short par 4s, they discuss Tiger’s 3-wood. They ask of every 3-footer, “Is this good?” They play for money. None of this improves pace of play. Says slow-play guru Bill Yates, “Players [he means men] may not be hitting it that much farther, but they think they do, so they wait to hit on a 320-yard hole because they saw a tour pro doing it once.”

10. If you have a choice, play a back-tee yardage shorter than 6,500 yards. Not that you’ll be playing from those tees, but shorter courses mean one thing for those playing from the front tees: less real estate to traverse from one green to the next tee. Less real estate improves pace of play. It’s fun to play the newest courses, but because many of them are built to withstand the onslaught of technology, their typical yardages often approach what is technically referred to as “idiotic”. The hectare you have to traverse from back tee to front tee is essentially the equivalent of adding an extra shot to every hole. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need to hit any more shots per hole.

11. Consider walking. Admittedly for some of us, the concept of walking is about a foreign as doing your won oil changes, but in the interest of maintaining reasonable, consistent pacing, walking is often preferable to riding in a cart. Few things are as inane as racing along in a cart to our golf balls only to have to wait one we get there.

12. Discover the joys of a sensible pre-shot routine. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that it’s not the speed of our golf swings that slows us down; it’s all the mindless inactivity in between the actual swings that leads to aneurysms in those playing behind us. The more we stand over a shot contemplating its intricacies, the more likely we are to simulate the Tin Woodsman with our golf swings. Pull. The. Trigger. Pretend you’ve never seen a pro tournament with all its yardage-book-consulting, caddie-lining-up nonsense that goes with every swing.
Here’s a trick: Stand behind your ball and make one practice swing. One. And make it an idle, carefree motion. Think of it as priming the pump, not a dress rehearsal. Then, pick a target. Address the ball, setting the left foot first and then the right. Take one more look at the target. Swing. If that takes longer than 25 seconds, you’re either in a body cast or dead. Do the same thing before every shot, and you’ll improve your pace of play. Now wasn’t that easy?
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All good tips, but I'd like to add one...

 

If you're in a group, especially 3 or more, let the solo guy walking behind you play through. No matter how good all of you are, he's going to go a lot faster and be a lot less frustrated If he's not spending 4 hours watching your group putt. Just a suggestion, not that this happened to me on Wednesday or anything... :golfer:

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All good tips, but I'd like to add one...

 

If you're in a group, especially 3 or more, let the solo guy walking behind you play through. No matter how good all of you are, he's going to go a lot faster and be a lot less frustrated If he's not spending 4 hours watching your group putt. Just a suggestion, not that this happened to me on Wednesday or anything... :golfer:

 

Very good tip. I wholeheartedly agree. :D (cool) It's happened to me playing behind groups of both men and women.

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  • 3 weeks later...

THIS IS FOR BOTH SEXES. (If you are in dought, see your doctor.)

 

Here is my tip:

After 10 years of marshalling at a tough course, here is what I tell my SLOW groups. "You need to catch the group in front of you. Here is how you do it. Get ON and OFF the Tee and ON and OFF the Green as fast as you can.

 

On the tee:

If you are ready to tee off . . . GO!. Don't worry about honors.

On the green:

If you are ready to putt . . . PUTT! Don't wait for the golfer farther away. Do not mark your ball for your next putt . . . finish out. THEN, GET OFF the Green as fast as you can. DO NOT Talk about why you missed the putt or RE-try the 75 footer you just missed. DO NOT write down everyone's score at the cart. AGAIN, do not write down everyone's score at the cart. DO NOT put your clubs away. Hold them until the next tee.

 

If you do these tips you will catch the next group in ONE HOLE.

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