Can I Play Through?

Experienced golfer understand that a round of golf should be played in 4 to 4.5 hours.  This works out to be about 15 minutes per hole.  This is not a written rule, but more of an etiquette thing.  Playing behind a group who are taking their time….I mean taking their time is frustrating, tiring and hard to keep up your concentration.

I remember playing in a tournament about 5 years ago.  It was the first round and the positions were not racked and stacked so strong players were playing with more inexperienced players.  The group in front had two players who sauntered up the course, read their putt from 4 angles, waited until others played before even starting their shot routine, marked their score on the green by looking back at the hole and counting where their ball went and my favorite…..marking their ball on the green after each shot no matter how close the ball was to the hole.  Our group, and the 6 groups behind us, were extremely frustrated when we finished.  The group ahead was three holes back when they finished….aargh!!!

It was the first time in a tournament I asked to play through.  I know…bad form…but I just could not help myself.  And no they did not let us go through.  What all the players did was lodge a complaint that a 6 hour round was unacceptable!  Then asked where the marshall was during the round.  The next day these two players (who shot in the high 90s) were warned to keep up or be assessed a slow play penalty.  The next day they sped up to 5 hours….still to slow in my opinion.

After a bit of research I found three (of many sites) that talk about speed of play.  They offer advice on how to speed up your play and how to play around in 4 to 4.5 hours that I think you may find useful. says to not wait for others to hit their shots and then decide it might be time for you to find and prepare to hit your ball. advises to watch your ball land and select a spot in the distance to use as a visual marker when looking for your ball. Have others in your group watch each player’s shots. This helps speed up the time to find a ball that is not in the fairway. suggests to take the clubs that you need for subsequent shots, including your putter, when you leave the cart for an approach (to the green) shot. You can then walk directly to the green, without having to return to the cart, while the other player moves the cart to the greenside parking area.

To answer your question – I like to play at 6 am.  I can 18 holes by myself in 2 hours and 15 minutes.  I aim to play a round as a four-some in under 4 hours all the time.

Ultimately speed of play is important for the everyone to enjoy a game of golf.  So I ask you – is speed of play important?

6 thoughts on “Can I Play Through?

  1. Pingback: Slow Play and Golf | The Grateful Golfer

  2. Pingback: TEE IT FORWARD | The Grateful Golfer

  3. Good post. I am sure slow play will be the death of me, I just can’t stand it. I almost always play early in the morning or late in the day to avoid it. It is one of the reasons I invested in good rain gear, the course is always empty on a rainy day.


  4. I understand and agree with everything you are saying. But slow play will always be part of golf at every level. My philosophy: When play is slow, play slow. If you really need to do something after a round of golf, go bowling.


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