Pace of play is not a problem on PGA Tour
By mustang6560 on 5/10/12
If you asked on-again-off-again-world number one Luke Donald whether or not slow play was negatively affecting professional golf, he would answer in the affirmative. However, if you asked PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem the same question, he would answer differently.
The question really is, whether we put 146 or 156 players on a golf course playing for $7 million, and we're teeing them off every eight minutes all day long, and we are clearing the decks at the end of the day at dark and often pushing our field sizes so much that we have a wait at the turn, does that relate to the average game? And I don't think it is.

I don't have a problem with playing at a club where they have a clock on every hole, and you're supposed to be done by this minute, because if you're not done by this minute, it means you're going to take over four hours to play. I think that's great.
When we put 156 people on the golf course, they are not going to play in four hours, typically.

Now, when we cut, on the weekend, and we go to, let's say we have got 70 and ties and we are at 74, then we are playing, what, if we play in twos, we are probably playing in 3:45.

These are the same guys that played on Thursday and Friday. These are the same guys that are showing the same deliberation. But when you put that many people on a golf course, that's just not going to happen.
The commish makes a solid point - the more players you have on the golf course, the slower the pace of play. However, we all know that there are certain players on the PGA Tour who do not help the pace of play (Kevin Na!).

One of the biggest contributors to pace of play is the "pre-shot routine". You hear every instructor and his (or her) mom saying amateur golfers need to develop a pre-shot routine. I don't disagree with the premise behind the advice, however, the problem is, when you hit 100+ shots during a round of golf and you spend 30 seconds to one minute prior to each shot going through your pre-shot routine, there is no way you're going to complete 18 holes in under four hours (unless you're playing by yourself).

Personally, I'm trying to "speed up" my pace. I've been told on several occasions from friends that I'm slow, so I'm consciously working to improve the time it takes for me to hit the shot once it's my turn to play. A big part of that is getting ready while your friend is hitting.

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Image via Flickr, Keith Allison


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[ comments ]
JPinMI says:
Boy does this hit a sore spot with me. Two of the guys I sometimes play with are AWFUL about their pace of play. If either of them is part of the foursome, even when the course is empty, a round takes over 6 hours! It's ridiculous, but thankfully they rarely show up.

One guy is a blabbermouth who does not shut up the whole time--including while you're taking your shot--then complains that the round is taking too long. The other guy not only talks non-stop, but he has one of those anal retentive routines that includes polishing the club when it comes out of the bag and when it goes back in, taking at least 10 practice swings (which must immediately be repeated when he invariably flubs his shot) and waiting till the last second to size up his lie, distance, club choice, etc. To make matters worse, he doesn't like to let people play through.

I know some of you will say not to play with them, but sometimes you really don't have a choice. I just try to ignore the talking and keep the group moving along.
5/10/12
 
dottomm says:
My good golf buddy has a really drawn out pre-pre-shot routine. Like JPinMI says. Takes out the club. Polishes it. Practice swing. Set up. Steps away. Ask about the distance. Change clubs. Repeat.
5/10/12
 
Backquak says:
I just told my brother that he needed to work on shortening his pre-shot routine mainly because his is very long and it really doesn't help his game at all, it just tightens him up and he flubs the shot and starts over with the same horrible routine. I mean it's OK to have a long pre-shot routine if you play in the 70-80s but if you play in the 100s, its not working and its time to change it. You think long, you think wrong. Just hit it already.
5/10/12
 
GBogey says:
To me the number one issue that is hurting golf is the amount of time it takes to play a round. More nine hole possibilities, faster play, more executive courses, something has to happen because if 4.5 and 5 hour rounds become the norm, then golf will only continue to decline.
5/10/12
 
DaRupp13 says:
I am very conscious about pace of play, and the biggest culprit I've found is when people don't utilize the wait time they have before a shot. You don't have to hurry your shot to make up time - hurry up between shots. I played with a group Sunday, a father and son. And like father like son, they waited until someone else in the group hit, then began their routine. And by routine, I mean they started to plan their shot. On the green, they would wait for someone to putt, then line their putt up. The easiest way to pick up your pace of play is to get the lining up, club selection, wind measurement, shot selection, etc. out of the way while someone else is hitting or you're waiting for the people in front of you to clear. These are all silent activities so you won't disturb a player in your group who is hitting. When when it's your turn, all you have to do is take a couple practice swings, get aligned and hit.
5/11/12
 
aaronm04 says:
Ask any golfer and most will agree that pace of play is the biggest detriment. I completely agree with DaRupp13. There is so much that can be done while waiting that most don't do.
5/11/12
 
TR1PTIK says:
@GBogey I agree. While I always enjoy playing a full round, the fact is that sometimes I just can't fit a full 18 into my schedule. The problem is that many courses want you to pay full price regardless of how many holes you play. I think courses need to show a little more compassion to the time conscious golfer and split the difference. I also think it would create a little more revenue for courses who's only patrons are retirees and weekend players.
5/13/12
 
MJKern44 says:
TR1PT1K - where in the heck are you playing that they charge you the 18 hole price no matter what? Time to find a different course. I've played all over the country and have never seen a course that doesn't offer a 9 hole price. (Private Clubs excluded)
5/15/12
 
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