If time is money, and we shouldn’t waste money then is a four-hour round a waste or a solid investment?

National Club Golfer team members Mark Townsend and Karl Hansell discuss the finer points and give their views on whether a four-hour round can be acceptable.

Mark Townsend is in the ‘YES’ camp

I will happily get up earlier on a Saturday rather than any other day of the week to play golf. And when I do I don’t want to run round, I don’t want to play an abbreviated version of the game and I don’t want to spend my time clock-watching to see if we’re ‘making good time’.

Like every other golfer on the planet I consider myself a quick player, in my case for the simple reason that I play better when I have less time to think.

I’ll spend just the five minutes looking for my ball and, in a passive-aggressive fashion (by walking off slowly in the opposite direction), I’ll coax my playing partners into doing likewise. I’ll be ready to play, leave my bag in the right spot and do all the little things right.

But I’ll also want to stop at the halfway house for a chat rather than watch my playing partner unsuccessfully check his phone for a football score I’ve no interest in and I’ll want to drink it all in. 

I might even, if I’m feeling very assertive, change clubs when the wind picks up. I’d much rather play in a four so it will take time as we battle away to produce a risible 29 points before going home, none the wiser, and already looking forward to next week.

You aren’t a pro, you’re a hacker. Karl Hansell chairs the ‘NO’ campaign

The general consensus is that club golf is on its backside.

The world is getting busier and we’ve all got less spare time, so I don’t think that anyone can argue that our sport isn’t suffering.

Think about it. Cricket introduced Twenty20 because no one has the time to stand around in a field all day. So why should golf be any different?

Thankfully, there are quicker versions of the game than 18- hole stroke play, and just playing nine matchplay holes speeds the game up no end. 

As someone who most often plays in a two- ball, the most obvious thing that would speed up my round is golfers in front getting out of the way. 

Stood on the tee, looking out at the foursome who stubbornly refuse to let us through (are golfers the most oblivious creatures on the planet?), it’s tough not to get wound up when you watch a wannabe Keegan Bradley assessing his putt from four angles.

And why does everyone have to mark their ball on the green? You aren’t a pro, you’re a hacker. So pack it in – I’m waiting to take my tee shot and hoping to get a quick pint in before I have to head off home to do my chores. 




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