Avoid Slow Play
Much has been written recently regarding the “decline” of players starting this wonderful game but the industry has changed hugely since I started golf over 30 years ago. There has been a complete shift in the way golf clubs are managed along with an array of membership joining and playing options for current and new golfers to suit our ever changing life styles.
I love introducing new players to the game, with the ladies through my GolfingGirl programme which I set up 6 years ago. It was one of the first pilots in the UK with a very successful proven track record. I introduce a number of playing sessions to men and ladies groups making the game more enjoyable, accelerating learning and ultimately helping with shot and decision making skills all which help to avoid slow play with increased knowledge.
This approach can only be good news as golf is now much more accessible to a wider audience, with limited time available there are numerous 9 hole and shorter courses such as the Jubilee course at Three Rivers Golf & Country Club catering for all levels of experience.
I came from a non golfing family so I had to learn pretty quickly a wide range of etiquette features from my coach and more experienced players.
It is not unusual for the new golfer to take a number of months to start to feel comfortable in a playing situation which is often forgotten, with so many external factors to deal I thought I would write a few key pointers which I hope will make it easier for our new golfers and current players.
Avoid Slow Play
- Preparation is key marking your golf balls with a sharpie prevents any rules infringements when identifying your ball
- If in doubt always play a provisional ball if playing in a competition
- Remember 5 minutes is the maximum permitted time to search for your “lost” golf ball
- Plenty of tees and markers in an accessible place with a pencil if marking a score card to save time on the teeing ground and greens
- Limit your practice swings, remember we are playing golf not working on our swings on the course. Let’s focus on the target “hit it chase it and hit it again”
- When playing winter rules “pick and place” ensure your tee is handy and you do this at your earliest and safe convenience
- When marking a scorecard please do this whilst your partners are teeing off, all too often players mark their cards standing on the green whilst others are waiting to play their shot. Please also remember not to hit your ball whilst golfers are still counting their shots on the green!
- If using a trolley please make yourself familiar where the exit point to the next tee is, taking your trolley to this point prior taking your first putt
- Please don’t leave the last player who is putting to replace the flag, it’s not very friendly!
- Play from the tee markers and courses which reflects your golfing handicap or ability level. I believe before too long many courses will change the teeing ground concept and move towards handicap tee markers as opposed to the traditional gender red, yellow and white markers.
- Try using the yardage marker posts rather than DMD (Distance measuring devices) until your are familiar with club distances. When I was playing on the Ladies European Tour we had to visualise our yardages and use our comprehensive yardage books which had been prepared in advance. I integrate this skill within some practice sessions as slope readings can’t be used during competitions.
- If you feel pressurised by a group behind just simply wave them through, you will have a more enjoyable and sociable round which is the primary reason for the majority for playing a sport.
All in all as a PGA Fellow Golf Professional I love to see happy new players on the courses and have introduced some 300 Golfinggirls so let’s all do our bit to assist and respect our fellow golfers to ensure everyone enjoys their golf.