Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What's The Rush? Golf Pace Of Play

Yesterday I joined some relatives I hadn't seen in a while for 18 holes. I was really looking forward to it. On Sunday, hubby and I hit the range to work out some kinks and I just knew it was going to be a great round.

The first nine holes were awesome. The driver and 3 wood were cooperating and my short game had definitely improved. For once, hubby was only beating me by a few strokes. I did notice something coming up behind us though on the ninth tee...it was the speed golfer!

Okay, first let me just say that we had already let a twosome play through on the second hole. Even so, the cart computer showed we were only six minutes behind pace. We thought this was quite good considering one of our group was a bona fide beginner that had never played a full 18 before.

But alas, as I mentioned...when I was waiting my turn at the 9th tee box a guy with a push cart was jogging, nearly running, up to the tee. There were two others trailing behind him, trying to match the running start. Two of my group had already hit or else I would have insisted that speedy and the crew go before us. We played the hole and made the turn up to the clubhouse. I stayed with the carts while the rest of the group went in the clubhouse to fill up on food and drinks for the rest of the round.

Sure enough, speedy and his crew came running around the turn. They stopped long enough to talk to the starter and were kind enough to point to me and wave their hands around. Nice. The best part was watching speedy hit from the blue tees and stick a lovely 90-ish yard drive. His buddy got up and did about the same. Sweet. I figured they might want to work on their actual game as opposed to trying to run through a round but who am I to judge?

When the refreshments were full we got up to the 10th tee and the starter couldn't be nicer. We had let 2 groups through, got snacks/drinks, had a beginner in the group, and were still only 14 minutes behind. He mused that if those few minutes are that important in your life then perhaps golf is not the game for you. We agreed. He watched us all hit our first shot and wished us a fun round.

We thought we were safe now that speedy and his group were gone. We were wrong. After we teed off, a single (so we thought) was right up our backsides. Hubby offered to let him play through if he was alone and he took us up on the idea. He wasn't alone and he teed off into us on the fairway as did the other two with him. I never even heard a "Fore!" uttered. Okay, fine. We're there to enjoy ourselves. If you must go then please do. This guy gets into a bunker, takes three shots and can't get out, and finally picks up his ball. His two buddies end up in the trees, go searching for a ball, shank 20 yards over and over, and eventually pick up. We ended up waiting for them on the next few holes and they finally skipped an entire hole to get away from us.

We were able to enjoy the remainder of our round without any further interruption. I did see speedy and his crew on a hole adjacent to ours later and they tried to stare us down but I smiled and waved until they walked by. I felt sorry for them and the other group that let a few minutes made such a difference in their lives. I guess it made them feel better about themselves to judge us. Oh, and in case you were wondering - we finished the first 9 in 1:48 and the whole round was done in just over 4 hours on a 6,274 yard, par 70 course.

For those of you who don't play all the time you should know that it is expected etiquette to let a smaller/faster/more skilled group play through. The people I play with are always happy to let others go through as am I. Pace of play is a hot topic among golfers. This link has a survey that claims most golfers believe they are fast and others are slow.

When you're outright bad it is a bit silly to insist that you go in front of someone and then make the group that you just passed up wait on you. Being an outright jerk is never cool either. Unfortunately, in golf as in life you will run in to those folks now and then. I prefer to keep my blood pressure low and take the time to enjoy my round. I won't dilly dally and I'll let all of you speed golfers through, please just be cool about it!


Lindsay said...

Oh my gosh, I am so bad at golf that when I go again I will make sure to play on the most quiet course during the least busy time of day. And of course I would let people play through.

Apryl DeLancey said...

Yeah - I try to go when it isn't busy in general. I can't stand being rushed - it isn't a race!

Heather said...

I've had men at the tee see us gals in front and insist to the starter, or proshop, that they play through–before we even tee off!

Great article Apryl. I have no problem letting someone play through, but waiting on rude hackers is another story.

Apryl DeLancey said...

Yeah, it's just as bad as people insisting that they play from the blue or black tees when they should play from the white at most. That's always fun.

PureGolfJourney said...

I can't stand playing with people whose sole purpose seems to be to get through a round within a certain amount of time. I hate slow play just as much as the next guy, but I also hate people who just walk up to their ball and whack away without thinking just so they can "keep it moving".Whats the point of trying to be quick if you play like crap (and end up hitting more shots...thus taking more time anyways!)..Play ready golf and you'll be just fine. Great post Apryl!

Apryl DeLancey said...

Thanks for the compliments! I agree - ready golf is the way to go!