My first round of golf was almost my last—6 hours! It was so hot and I was so frustrated I nearly lost it. But I loved the game and was actually pretty good at it. So I stuck with it and we joined a course with a “4-hour round” rule which was wonderful. Of course there were days when 4 hours was impossible due to weather.
But I found that most of the problems with pace of play is people not knowing the etiquette or the rules of golf. Also, some people think every round is the U.S. Open and they have to hit every ball. It’s much more enjoyable if you play for fun unless you plan to compete. If you plan to compete, you must have a USGA handicap and follow USGA rules. If you don’t plan to compete or need a USGA handicap, there are plenty of things you can do to speed up play.
1. Pick up your ball after you have hit it enough for a bogey. That is, if the hole is a par 4 and you have already hit the ball 5 times, pick it up. Move on to the next hole.
2. Never get more than a 1/2 a hole behind the group IN FRONT of you. Forget about the group behind you, they are not how you should measure where you should be on the course.
3. If you are behind, skip grabbing food and drink at the turn. Make food and drink a reward for being on schedule. If’ you’re behind at the turn, try to make up time as soon as possible.
To address the pace of play problem the USGA is showing five “While We’re Young” public service announcements, featuring golfer’s Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Clint Eastwood, Annika Sorenstam, Paula Creamer, and golf instructor Butch Harmon. I love the one with the kid’s and Tiger but my favorite is Arnie and Clint Eastwood. The “While We’re Young” line is from Caddy Shack and used in the PSA with Paula Creamer.
You can find more tips on improving the pace of play at the USGA Pace of Play site and speed up the game of golf by learning Golf Etiquette.
It’s a great game and one that can be played for a lifetime. Don’t forget your sunscreen!