There has been a lot of talk about slow play the last few years, and a lot of people have highlighted it as one of the major “problems” with the game. With problems comes solutions, and there have been a lot of suggestions about how to speed the game up.
I don’t have any groundbreaking solutions on how to get the average foursome time down from 4h45min to 4 hours, but I do have some tips on how to play a fast round of golf. By fast, I mean sub 2 hours for 18 holes, but you won’t be able to do it on a Saturday afternoon with your buddies stuck behind a charity tournament.
Set A Goal
To play fast you have to go into the round with the mind set that you are going to play fast. Give yourself a time goal and check after 9 to see if you are on pace. Having a goal will keep you on task when you think about looking for balls in the long grass off the 3rd fairway. Don’t check your time constantly, this will slow you down and potentially distract you. Remember, its not a race and at the end of the day the main objective is still play a round of golf and hopefully post a decent number.
The first foursome of the day will set the pace for the rest of the day (god help the starter if that group turns in a 4h45min round as this means 5 hour rounds in the afternoon). To play fast, you need to be in front of that first group. As soon as your pace is dependent on another group you are doomed, because they don’t have a 2 hour round in mind.
As for playing late, it is hit and miss. It is always tempting because the first tee looks dead, but the issues arises when you run into the 4:00pm tee time on the 15th hole who is looking at foursomes all the way home. You played the first 14 in an hour and a half, but the last 4 is going to take you an hour.
Hopefully you have no issues being along with your thoughts because playing a really fast round is generally reserved for those flying solo. I am not saying you can’t play quick as a 2,3, or 4some, but as you add players “fast” becomes a relative term. At this pace, golf is no longer a social game, talking only slows you down.
By Ready For A Workout
If you tee off at 5am, chances are the pro shop isn’t open yet and thus getting a cart is not an option (if it is an option, and there are no cart restrictions, take the cart and shoot for a 1h45min round). If you are out of shape the 1 hour front 9 might feel great, but I guarantee you’ll be sucking wind half way through the back 9. The quicker you play, the more of a work out golf becomes, being in good enough shape to walk the 8+km, with 20 lbs on your back and shoot your handicap is more of a task than it sounds. To reach a sub 2 hour round goal you need to be in almost constant movement. I am not talking about speed golf, so you don’t need to run, but you should be walking with a purpose out there.
Dump the cart bag and pull cart, nothing is efficient as carrying your golf back. Get yourself a light one and put only the essentials in it. If there are clubs you can do without because you never hit them, leave them in the car with the extra dozen balls you normally carry. Lugging around a heavy back is a sure way to slow you down and potentially hurt your back.
Stick To Familiar Ground
Pick a course you know really well. Knowing yardages and greens without having to think too much about it will save you lots of time. Playing a course you know well removes the need for range finders, gps or pacing off yardages.
Play Ready Golf
Everyone has heard to the term ready golf, but for this you need to take it to the next level.
From tee to fairway, figure out your yardage, club and shot on your way to the ball and be ready to drop your bag, take a practice swing and pull the trigger when you get to your ball. Now is not the time to second guess yourself.
On the greens, I still pull the pin on anything inside 10 feet, but I don’t go out of my way to get the pin first on longer putts. Knowing the greens, I don’t spend too much time looking at the break, generally just a quick glance.
Take Your Medicine And Move On
If you handicap factor is under 10, the max you can take on any hole is a double bogey. With this in mind, don’t hit provisionals, don’t spend 5 min looking for your ball, just drop a ball and play the hole out knowing you made a double. If your tight for time, just pick up and head to next hole.
If you are interested in ripping around in 2 hour or less, give the above tips a try. Already a speedy player and have some tips of your own? I would love to hear them!
See you at the turn