The only problem with golf is that the slow people are always in front of you
and the fast people are always behind you.
Brian sent me the above quote and I’m sure we all can relate to it. How many times have you been on a steady golf pace only to run into the group in front of you or have a group behind you catch up to you? If you’re a golfer, it happens almost everytime you golf.
Golf is best played behind the group in front of you!!!
So, how fast should you play when golfing? A good pace at a busy time should be about 4 hours. Your goal should be to remain 1/2 of a hole behind the group in front of you. Basically, keep up with the group in front of you. Don’t try to stay ahead of the group behind you. This is very important when teeing off at a busy golf time. You’re behind pace if you end up more than a half of hole behind the group in front.
You don’t have to play 5 hour rounds during peak golf times. Here are some tips to help speed up your round:
- Be ready to hit as soon as it is your turn. Socializing can wait until you hit your shot.
- Carry a spare ball in your pocket. That way you have it if you need to drop a ball or take a mulligan.
- Set a maximum number of strokes per hole. A lot of times golfers use double par. Pick up your ball if you’re over the limit for that hole.
- Reduce the number of your practice swings. Even Sergio has reduced his pre-shot routine.
- Turn off you cell phones. Your business is on the golf course. Try and make calls at the turn and not during your round.
- Maintain silence when other golfers are hitting their shots. Your conversation can affect your fellow golfer’s concentration leading to poor shot, resulting in taking more shots and more time.
- Try to determine yardage and what club you’ll use before you arrive at your ball.
- Take multiple clubs when you can not take your cart or bag up to your ball. It is a good idea to take a club for the yardage and one higher club.
- Watch the shots of your fellow golfers so you can help them locate their balls.
- Try and look for your ball alone. Let the rest of the group hit their shots if possible. If you can’t find your ball within a couple of minutes (a couple of minutes to me is two minutes), drop another ball.
- When approaching the green, park your cart or place your bag off to the side of the green and toward the next tee.
- Line up your putt before it’s your turn.
- If you get a “gimme” , take it, don’t try to make the putt anyway.
- Putt out (on short putts) rather than marking and waiting.
- After finishing a hole, don’t take practice putts.
- Limit conversation on the green.
- When everybody is on the green, the person closest to the pin should tend or pull the flag.
- The first person who putts out should tend the flag for others and put the flag in the hole on completion of the hole.
- Fill in your scorecard at the next tee box, not on the green.
- Give tips to your friends on the driving range or the practice green, not on the course. Teaching golf on the course slows everyone down.
Now, what if it isn’t a busy tee time? This is where golf etiquette should kick in. You should let the group behind you play through if there is no one in front of you for a hole or two and the group behind you is pressuring you. As a ranger, I actually approached a slow group that had another group pressuring them from behind. I asked the golfers to let the group go through. Surprisingly, one of the golfers was more than a little upset. He said they were golfing at a great pace and didn’t need to let the group behind them through.
I asked the gentleman one easy question. “Do you like having the group behind you pressure you?” Think about it. It was upsetting him since the group behind them were pressuring them. It was also upsetting the other group cause they constantly had to sit and wait. But, no one needed a stressful round.
Well, the group ended up letting the other group play through. Later, the gentleman that was upset waved me over and thanked me for suggesting they let the other group play through. He said the rest of their round was relaxing since they could play at their own pace. So, there’s nothing wrong with letting a group play through if there is a group faster than you and there is room for the group to play through.