Next year’s Austrian Open will be the first major golfing tournament to feature the shot clock. This will aim to speed up the game by giving each player a specific time limit to make their shot.
Whilst many traditional golfing fans will be horrified to see how the best players in the world are being hurried into making their shots, the shot clock is being introduced to broaden the appeal of the game to a wider audience.
Thankfully, the new time limits still give golf players a fair amount of time to plan their next shot. The first player in each group will get fifty seconds to play, whilst each following golfer will then get forty seconds to make their shot.
If any player at the Austrian Open fails to make their shot in the required time, they will receive a one-shot penalty.
This will be issued in the form of a red card against the player’s name, and whilst it might not be quite as bizarre as some of the other penalties that have been issued against our golfers, it will certainly add a degree of pressure to our sporting stars.
But the introduction of the shot clock does come with a few handy features that allow players a little respite from the action. This is because players will have two time-outs per round that can be used to double the allotted time for each shot – particularly handy when the dealing with a difficult bunker!
The introduction of the shot clock is certain to shake up the game as certain players like Jonathan Byrd have already been highlighted as being some of the slowest in the game.
As a result, it’s going to be interesting to see how golf betting sites like Betway and the likes calculate their odds for tournaments like the WGC-HSBC Champions could be affected in the future as a result of this new technology.
Although the Austrian Open doesn’t tee off until 7 June, it will still give players a limited amount of time to check how they can adapt to the new playing conditions.
Initial trials of the shot clock have so far enjoyed a largely positive response. The recent GolfSixes tournament in Hertfordshire used the technology successfully earlier this year with both players and fans stating how it managed to speed up the game without marring the players’ performances.
The impressive Austrian golfer, Bernd Wiesberger, has already stated how the shot clock has helped improve the pace of play, and it’s going to be fascinating to see which golf stars manage to use this new technology to their advantage.
Whilst there will be many players and fans who will be resistant to the changes, it’s clear that the game of golf needs to cater to the demands of the all-important television viewing audience who will always be hungry for more action-packed sporting events.
So whilst some players might feel inhibited by the introduction of the shot clock, it’s going to be a massively entertaining addition to the game for the rest of us.