News From Terre Haute, Indiana

On & Off the Course

July 21, 2007

On and Off the Course: Pace of play shouldn’t be snail’s pace

TERRE HAUTE — Golf is a wonderful game but it can be very trying. Not only is it often a daunting task to hit that little golf ball with accuracy and athleticism, sometimes your playing partners or competitors can make a round of golf about as much fun as getting your teeth pulled.

The main reason (besides lack of ability) for stress on the golf course is slow play. If you have played more than one round of golf in your lifetime, odds are that you have been subjected to slow play. If you’ve only played one round in your lifetime, odds are that you were the cause of it! That is excusable though. People new to the game have a lot to learn and a lot to think about. It’s the habitual slow players who have played the game for a long time that should really know better, and speed up their games.

Slow can be a relative term, so for the sake of clarification, slow play is when someone takes longer than the time stipulated by the course that it should take to play nine or eighteen holes. For most courses, eighteen holes should be able to be played by a foursome in four or four and a half hours. Some treacherous courses expect play for a foursome to take up to five hours. Anything longer is what I would consider a death march!

Ability, or lack thereof, is not the main cause of slow play. If your score is in the 100s, you would think you’re going to take longer than someone who shoots in the 70s or 80s. That’s not always the case though. I have seen low handicappers play painfully slow, and high handicappers zip right along. It doesn’t really take all that long to hit a shot, it’s the time taken between shots that can add up to an exorbitantly long round.

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