Slow Play – What can be done?
Whenever pace of play is discussed in golf, it’s guaranteed to be a hot-button topic. Ask golfers for a slow-play story and you will be regaled with how a certain round was ruined by the blowhards in front of them.
But while there are numerous suggestions on how to speed up play, today’s focus is on perhaps the single biggest choke point — the putting green. Possibly more time is wasted in this area than any other on the golf course. Surprisingly, the biggest time wasters can sometimes be ranked in inverse order to handicap index.
It can be maddening to observe four good players play tee to green briskly and then dawdle on the putting surface as each putt is examined from four angles. And nothing is more demoralizing to the group behind than being in the fairway and watching this process unfold.
What can be done? Some of these suggestions could be considered fantasy or alien to the sensibility of the modern game, but in conversations with NCGA members, it’s clear nothing rankles golfers like slow play.
1) Bring back continuous putting. Nothing worse than a golfer who marks a two-footer.
2) Re-think etiquette. To the uneducated observer, it’s almost comical to observe the tap dance and re-routing golfers take to avoid stepping on a line. This point of etiquette has become extreme. Not to advocate stepping directly on a line, but simply stepping over a line will help move things along, especially since no one wears metal spikes anymore.
3) On the same vein, there’s no reason to mark unless the ball really is directly on a line. When you arrive at the green, clean the ball and put it back down. Marking really does slow the process.
4) Bet less money. If your life savings isn’t at stake, you might not take a half hour to line up that knee-knocker.
What else can be done? What do you think?