Golf is a wonderful game and I have spent many happy hours playing on my local golf course. But there seems to be something creeping into the game, more and more, which often spoils a round of golf for many players and that is, slow play. Golf surely should be a relaxing game, not a stressful one, but on occasion there are players that do test the patients of a saint.
In my experience, slow play is not so bad in itself, as long as you can keep moving along, it’s the lesser of the two evils, but when there are long hold ups, this in my view is not acceptable. Having said that, I do realise that things happen on the golf course that are genuinely unavoidable, but in this instance I am talking generally.
I’m sure people do not play golf slowly intentionally, and appear to be totally unaware of what they are doing or should I say not doing. So, to help players just be a little bit more aware of what they and others are doing on the golf course, I thought I would just write a few helpful golf tips on avoiding slow play and to having a more enjoyable and hopefully a more attractive score card in the club house afterwards.
Start the day relaxed
The first tip is not really concerning slow play, but more about starting your golf day in the right way. When you get up in the morning do it slowly and then try doing everything slowly and relaxed, until you reach the first tee, this will hopefully reflect in a positive way on the golf course.
Get to the golf course early
Give yourself plenty of time travelling to the golf course, its better to be waiting in the club house than waiting in a traffic jam worrying that you’re going to be late. There’s nothing worse for a game of golf than arriving late, then rushing around trying to catch up. This can put you in totally the wrong frame of mind, for achieving a relaxing game and low scoring round of golf.
Getting organised when teeing off
When by the tee, make sure that every body in your group knows, in which order they are teeing off, and be ready. Make sure you have your correct tees and ball about your person. Don’t go rummaging about in the bag for golf balls and tees when people are waiting for you to tee off. It is also a good idea to keep a couple of balls in your pocket at all times.
Playing your shot out of turn
When players in a group hit their golf balls to various parts of the golf course, unless you are playing in a competition, it might be quicker for you to take the next shot in the wrong order of play.
Clearing the green early
If you have just finished your putts, don’t stand around on the green talking about the putt you should have holed. Clear the green straight away then talk about it on the way to the next tee.
Take your clubs with you
If you have hit a wayward shot, don’t forget to take your golf trolley everywhere you go, but only where it’s physically possible that is, I have been guilty of this one myself. When looking for your golf ball after hitting a poor shot there is a tendency to forget about the trolley whilst you are trying to find the ball. Then once you have found it, the realisation hits you that your clubs are some distance away, so it’s a walk back to the trolley, bring the trolley back to the ball, select a club and take the shot. This is not good.
Being prepared to take your shot
Whilst your playing partner is taking his shot, if possible, make sure you have already selected the club you are going to use for the next shot and you have a fare idea of where you would like it to go. It doesn’t sound much of a time saver but over the 18 holes and playing a four ball, it adds up.
Keep the scorecard up to date
Give yourself plenty of time to mark the scorecard; don’t leave it until it’s your turn to tee off. Try to get into a routine; otherwise you will end up asking your playing partners two or three holes further on, what they scored on the 6th, 7th and 8th hole. You will not be very popular.
Help your playing partners
If one of your group is having a problem in any way, providing you have already taken your shot, go and help, rather than just standing there waiting.
Eating and drinking on the golf course
Its always a good idea to take plenty of water and some snacks with you onto the golf course, but please don’t be tempted to stop and have a bite to eat when there’s a chance it might hold up play. Try to eat snacks on the move, if possible, and perhaps take a drink whilst waiting at the tee.
Carry spares and be prepared for bad weather
Make sure, everything in the golf bag is in order and ready to use and is easy to get at, for example, water proofs, gloves, hat etc just in case the weather changes. You don’t want to be fumbling around in your bag, when all your friends came well prepared and organised. And they are all waiting for you to take your shot. It’s not a bad idea to carry spares such as, a golf glove, laces, pitch mark repairer, pencil or pen, plenty of balls and so on.
Letting players play through
This is an obvious one for most golfers. If your group is having problems, lost ball etc, and you anticipate a long wait, please ask the group that are playing behind you, to play through. This of course depends on whether you are in, or just behind a competition.
Hitting the golf ball straight
I know this tip is going to sound a bit cheeky, but it is really meant in the best possible way. This could help in preventing some hold ups on the golf course. When learning the game or just trying to improve. I wonder if it would be better to concentrate on hitting the ball straight, rather than trying to hit it out of sight. It’s amazing, the amount of golfers I have noticed, hitting the ball a long way, but can’t hit it straight. If you are a high handicap player, try slowing down your swing and you will keep the ball on the fairway more often, whilst the big hitters are looking for their balls in the woods.
I have noticed over the years that the vast majority of written golf instruction, especially magazines, try to teach you everything about golf, except how to hit the ball straight.
I hope the above tips are helpful and interesting.