By Bennett Galloway
Nothing ruins a fun day on the course like slow play! It can kill your over-all experience and feel for any course regardless of how good it may be. Factor in some adverse weather conditions like heat, cold or rain and it becomes all the more unbearable. The below are some simple steps that every golfer should follow. And remember it's not about rushing your shot, just simply being ready when it's your turn. If you already practice the below, you are not a culprit or cause of slow play and thus help stop other peoples eyeballs from bleeding! Do help spread the word!
- Always be ready to play when it is your turn. I know it is fun to watch other players make their shots, but you need to focus on your own play.
- Each player should proceed directly to his or her ball. The group should not travel as a pack, going to first to one ball, then the next, and so on.
- While walking (or riding) to your ball, use the travel time to begin thinking over your next shot - the yardage, which club you'll use and so on. Begin preparing mentally before you get to your ball.
- If using a cart, don't drive to the first ball, wait for the first player to hit, then head to the second ball. Drop the first player off at his ball then drive ahead to the next ball. The first player should walk over to the cart as the second player is playing his shot.
- If your ball is on the far side of the course be sure to take a couple of clubs with you when you walk from the cart to the ball. This way, you won't have to return to the cart if you decide you didn't bring the appropriate club.
- Keep your pre-shot routine efficient and speedy. One or two practice strokes is enough and the longer you wait before making your shot, the less muscle memory you will retain and actually lessen your chance of success.
- Always carry a few extras like spare balls, tees and ball markers in your pocket so you don't have to return to your golf bag or cart to retrieve them.
- If you think your shot might have landed out of bounds or be lost, immediately announce to your marker that you will hit a provisional ball when it is your turn. Don't walk ahead to search, only to have to return to the original spot to replay a shot.
- Never hold up play because you're in the middle of a conversation. Put the conversation on hold, take your stroke, then continue the conversation.
- On the green, begin lining up your putt and reading the break-even before reaching the green. This way when it is your turn you can step right up and make your putt, not begin to read it from that point!
- Leave your clubs on the side of the green in the direction of your cart or the next tee, never in front of the green or on the opposite side.
- Never stand on or next to the green after holing out in order to write down your score. Write it down when you reach the next tee.
- If you are the first to hole-out, either take charge of the flagstick or pick up other players clubs left around the green.
An easy check you can do is to simply look ahead on the course to the group in front of you. If there is a gap between you and them, chances are you are playing slowly. One common misconception is worrying about the group behind you. As a golfer, your only responsibility with regards to pace of play is to simply keep up with the group in front of you. Period! Even if you feel the un-wanted stares from the players behind you when the course is backed up, that is not your concern and you should just block them out of your mind. The pace of play also has no bearing on golfing ability. If you get from tee to green in 3 or 8 strokes it doesn't matter. As long as you don't hover over the ball for too long before executing your shot, you will be okay!
These simple steps will help you navigate the course without causing delay to other players and also show your group that you have and practice good etiquette. Players who fail to follow this may often find themselves just not being invited to golf days while others are. This is one way the game self-regulates itself. So in closing do consider that it is not about rushing your play, but simply being prepared to make your shot when it is your turn