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No practice swings and twoball tee times: European Tour chief's 'crazy' ideas to solve slow play

No practice swings and twoball tee times: European Tour chief’s ‘crazy’ ideas to solve slow play

Keith Pelley has some interesting suggestions on how to deal with his 'pet peeve' - the continuing menace of slow play
 

Could you play 18-holes without taking any practice swings? What about rushing round the course every Tuesday and Thursday mornings?

The man who brought golf the Shot Clock Masters and GolfSixes has some interesting new ideas about how the sport can try and stamp out slow play.

“You might look at these and go ‘this is crazy’,” European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley told the industry at the online GolfBIC conference.

But he urged viewers to think about ways they could quicken up the game and get more people involved.

Among his other suggestions were:

  • Special times for twoballs only
  • Men’s and women’s club nights together – playing only six holes
  • Fourballs have to putt with the flag in

Pelley said: “These are just some ideas. It’s always been a pet peeve of mine – slow play at all the golf courses, not just in the professional game.

“And so, how innovative can we be? That’s the slogan. You might look at these and go ‘this is crazy’ and my last idea [ready golf, no practice swings in specific time slots] is probably not doable. But think about it.

“First of all, why can’t we have speed golf on Tuesdays and Thursday mornings – from 7am to 8.30am? If you’re playing from seven to 8.30, you’ve got to walk. You have to be in a twoball. You’ve got to play within two and a half hours.

slow play

“I played with Ross Fisher. We played from the backs at Wentworth. He closed me out on 14 so that maybe helped a little, but we played in just over two hours and 20 minutes, walking the West course.”

He added: “Men’s [and women’s club nights together] Play six holes, let them play for an hour and 15 and come back. Special times for twoballs only; fourballs have to putt with the pin in. It’s been incredible. Covid has taught us that putting with the pin in is something that you get used to, and it is definitely quicker.

“And last the one I know it sounds crazy but Ready Golf, no practice swings. You just can’t have a practice swing, you have to play Ready Golf.

“These are just little things that we have to try to address, because we constantly hear ‘I don’t have four hours to play. I don’t have four and a half hours to play’.

“Trust me, the Millennials and the Gen Zs are completely different in terms of their ability to focus for an elongated time.

“So I think this is going to be a big challenge going forward for our game: how we can play, and how quicker we can play?

“That is exactly why we’ve done GolfSixes. We put it in the professional game. Now there’s golf courses playing it all over Scotland, the R&A are adopting it as well.

“We’ll bring it back on the pro circuit because we think it is a massive opportunity.”

What do you think of Keith Pelley’s slow play ideas? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me.

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Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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