I believe that most golfers don’t like being held up on the golf course and despise it, if they are held up for more than a couple of holes, as this is a harbinger of what to expect for the rest of the round.
Slow play is not something new but is getting worse, so how do we address this problem as it is one of the main reasons for people leaving the game right along with the intimidation factor (see my book “Just Hit It”).
First, we need to thoroughly research and clearly define the problem. Then we need to develop some practical solutions, followed by simulations and real tests to determine the efficacy of the solution(s) to eliminate the problem.
Based on some extensive surveys it is evident that we have a multifaceted problem and thus a multifaceted solution is needed.
I believe that slow play is a disease that is badly affecting the game. It is better to find the cause of the disease which will eliminate the need to find a Band-Aid solution.
Band-Aids only work on scraped knees and cut fingers which will eventually heal by themselves as Mother Nature will take care of this for us.
This is not the case for the frustration of slow play as the only solution Mother Nature has is to not play. Playing only nine holes at the same slow pace is not a solution.
The cause of the problem is the lack of a true understanding of what is so attractive about the game. I suggest that we have an instinctive urge to evaluate ourselves. Like throwing a rolled-up piece of paper across your office, with the intention of it landing in the waste basket which, if successful, results in an excited exclamation — “YES” — and a hair-raising tingle of satisfaction. This is very personal but satisfies the self-evaluation process.
If the waste basket is too big the satisfaction is proportionally diminished, and if it is too small you would look elsewhere for the self-evaluation challenge. The challenge must be realistic.
A golfer must be able to score a par on every hole — about 25% to 30% of the time. One of the best course designers, Dr. Mike Hurdzan of Hurdzan Golf Design in Columbus Ohio has been on the forefront of recognizing this and has contributed significantly to designing and/or re-designing playable courses.
A playable course is one which will help significantly in speeding up play, but this must be accompanied by education of golfers, course management, and also a little more attention to Section 1 of the Rules of Golf i.e. “Etiquette”.
Golf course architects and good course management need to play their part.
If you don’t catch fish, you move on to another pond but if you still don’t catch fish, after a while you stop fishing and look for a challenge elsewhere.
What solutions do you have regarding slow play? Please share your thoughts by replying below.