Is this the solution to golf's slow play epidemic?

The Scoop

Slow play is arguably golf's biggest problem – particularly at club level. The Fourball team discuss possible solutions

What would YOU do to help eliminate slow play?

Alex: It gets on my nerves when people just don’t crack on once they’re on the next tee. The player with the so-called “honour” is faffing around in their bag looking for a tee and the others are just standing their staring into the middle distance while pretending to work out which way the wind is blowing. Get on with it.

James: It’s often common sense. People need to be educated on where and when is a good time to let people through. Which holes should wait on or which greens you should mark your balls on then let the group behind come through. I think the onus is on the club and the pro shop to educate members and visitors better on the art of playing/letting people through.

Mark: Wave more people through. I’ve no idea why this doesn’t happen more, maybe it’s stubbornness or maybe it’s vanity, but you rarely see this even when there might be one person behind a four. And why wait until you’re slowing down the entire course, let a group through when things are flowing and it will all be a seamless operation.

Steve: It’s really not difficult. If you’re holding someone up just wave them past. The favourite excuse I always hear on the course during a busy competition is ‘well, you’ve got nowhere to go’. Well, I have actually. It’s past you and then we’ll see what happens with the group in front. Slow play winds everyone up and yet lots of players aren’t prepared to take responsibility for their part in quickening things up. It doesn’t have to be a race, either. Let’s just play at a decent tempo.

‘Ready Golf’ has been around for a couple of years now but it’s still ignored by many at club level. Why are so many players so stubborn about the concept?

Steve: I know a player who gets quite upset if he’s had the best score on the previous hole and someone steps up ahead of him. It’s a badge of honour for him, so to speak, to take the first shot. When it comes to playing before helping a partner search for a ball, I understand the reasoning entirely but accept it can also be slightly off-putting if you’ve got one eye on what the other players in the group are doing. Ultimately, it’s about common sense, trying to keep things moving, and not being silly about the whole thing.

Alex: Again, it all comes down to common sense. If you’re on the tee, just get on with it. On the green I’m happy to revert to normal procedure – particularly if it aids my putt in any way…

James: I’m not sure how much of an impact honour on the tee has but I think we should be better on the fairways. Let your man have his honour but then everyone should just use common sense from that point onwards. All go to your balls and hit as soon as you are ready. We all like to play socially but following your man to the left rough waiting for him to hit them marching off towards your ball will rack up a lot of extra time over the course of a round. You don’t have to rush. More speed less haste I think is the saying.

Mark: This sort of works on the tee and it’s quite liberating not to have to go through what everyone has just done on the previous hole and whether Stableford points counts over a gross score. Then it all just reverts to type the closer we get to the green. I’m terrible for this but I can’t stand people wandering about and chatting when I’m about to hit a shot so I quite like having a bit of an order. As for putting there is an obvious advantage seeing someone else go first so we all tend to then back off and don’t seem too bothered any more by the concept of Ready Golf.

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