There have been many articles written about Pace of Play, but I felt the urge to write yet another. Maybe someday we can get through to those who disrespect others on the golf course. I was listening to this morning’s GolfRap show on TGD Radio when I heard George and Hugh talking about pace of play, and George describing his 6 hour and 20 minute round on Sunday. How many times have we been on the course and witnessed total disregard for other players by a group of groups playing much slower than they should. When we hear that the time required to play is one of the issues affecting the growth of golf in America, this issue is often avoidable with a little consideration from the offenders.
I personally have been told (by slow golfers) I paid my money to play, leave me alone. In my humble opinion, paying to play also includes a responsibility by you to respect the time of others who also paid to play. It is not that difficult to keep up on the course and to finish a round in a respectable amount of time. Respectable to me is in the range of 4 hours. As bad as I play, I can play with 3 others at my level and still play a round in 3 1/2 hours if not held up by others. I realize that is faster than the average, but it can be done. I’ve played 18 in as little as 2 hours and 45 minutes. George’s patience to play behind the guys he mentioned is remarkable.
Slow play often includes the same old issues. I’m always amazed at golfers who play the back tees and rarely hit a fairway. It seems they would rather brag, “We played it from tips”, rather than have a chance at shooting a realistic score. The guys that wait for the green to clear on an unreachable par 5 are of the same cloth. Perhaps the most disrespectful are those who will take multiple drives / shots with others waiting. Hey, when I’m on the course alone, or with no one behind me, I will sometimes hit an extra ball when I’m not keeping score. But doing this when others are waiting is not acceptable. Yes, it is still OK to play by the rules and hit provisional and / or second shots when you spank one into the water or woods, but hopefully that doesn’t happen on every hole. If it does, do the rest of us a favor and please play your round when the course isn’t so packed.
All of us who love the game need to collectively do our parts to help it grow. Does my venting on the issue help? Probably not, but at least I feel a little better. Pace of play is something that is the responsibility of every golfer. If you’re playing with someone who is repeatedly taking too long to play, kindly assist them to pick up the pace. I’m all for playing by the rules of golf, but if taking a drop otherwise illegal drop makes sense in a “non-tournament” situation to keep from holding up those behind you, take the drop!