Slow play has been an issue in golf for a long time. It came to the forefront again recently when the No. 1 player in the world, Brooks Koepka, has been vocal about certain players.
He played recently with Bryson DeChambeau, who took two minutes and 10 seconds to hit an eight-foot putt.
Koepka said the solution starts with rules officials enforcing the 40-second rule. DeChambeau said that the timing shouldn’t be just over the ball. He wants golfers who move slowly walking on the course to receive the same scrutiny and punishment as those who take too long pondering their next shot.
When it comes to amateurs playing the game, the slow players need to become aware of their play and we need to have ways to help them.
Here are some ways that we can speed up the game:
• Tee it forward. Choose the correct set of tees from which to play. Play where you can hit greens with lofted irons instead of fairway woods.
• Minimize time on the tee – hit when ready. Also play a provisional ball if your original ball is possibly lost or out of bounds.
• On the tee, always pay attention to fellow golfers’ drives so you can help them find their ball.
• Once off the tee, forget etiquette and play “ready” golf. If you are not the one who is away, but you are ready to play your shot, then go ahead and hit, as long as there is no danger of you being hit.
• If driving a golf cart, drive to the first ball and drop off that player with their clubs and proceed to your ball so you are ready to play as soon as you get to your ball.
• Having a yardage device will speed up play since the golfer won’t have to look for sprinkler heads and walk off distances.
• Always park golf carts to the side or behind the green so you can exit quickly, leaving the front of the green open for the next group to hit.
• On the green, begin reading the green as you walk to the ball. Don’t wait until it is your turn to start reading your putt.
• Don’t bother marking short putts, go ahead and putt out if it’s short enough and not in someone else’s line.
• Consider leaving the flagstick in to putt. It saves time on the green.
• Always keep up with the group in front of you. If you are not able to keep up, let the group behind you play through.
A round of golf should not take more than four hours. If it does, then someone is playing too slow. I hope these suggestions will help speed up your rounds.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses. firstname.lastname@example.org; golfdoctorjean.com