Golf Etiquette – Playing Through


Slow play is no fun on the golf course!

Today was a fantastic day  on the golf course. The Bay of Quinte Golf and Country Club was in great shape, the greens were fast, and my foursome was first-rate! Although I did not adjust to the speed of the greens at all, playing a new course is always fun and exciting.

During the round, it rained, the wind picked up, my push cart broke, and I could not adjust to the speed of the greens (oh yeah, covered that already). Some would look at my round and suggest that I might have been able to do something better with my time, but I would unequivocally disagree with that suggestion. Today was a great round because of our group. Everyone played like gentlemen and the stories were funny and numerous!

Working our way round the links did pose a bit of an etiquette dilemma. On a side note, as most of you know, I am adamantly against slow play. As a foursome, we strive to finish our round in approximately 4 hours give or take 15 minutes. Today, we finished in 4 hours and 10 minutes. So, we were right on our target time and the recommended time by the course. After the fourth hole, we let a twosome in a cart go through and merrily went on our way. On the fifth hole, a foursome showed up behind us. The did wait for some shots, but for the most part, I think, they did not have to wait that much. Behind this foursome was two, twosomes who did not join up.

The foursome was always about 3/4 of hole behind us. They never really got closer, but were rarely out of our sight line. They likely matched our speed and carried on their way. Unfortunately, I felt as if they were pushing us quite often. It was nothing they did, but as a rule I do not like to hold anyone up if they are playing faster.

At the end of the day, we did not let the foursome through because they were never that close where the opportunity arose. I think we made the right decision by not waiting for 15 minutes for them to catch us then play through, but it has been a long time where I have felt like I was holding up the course.

So my question to you is: should we have waited the 15 minutes to allow this group to play through?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!


8 thoughts on “Golf Etiquette – Playing Through

  1. Jim,

    Under the circumstances you described, it sounded like you did everything right. Letting the 2-balls through was certainly the right thing to do, and if the 4-some behind you wasn’t waiting, then there isn’t much value in waiting around to let them through.

    I am also against slow play. My home course has a 4 hour pace of play policy so when I find myself in situations that are slower than that, I get a bit impatient. I am still struggling to find a solution to staying patient if I find myself in a slow group. I tend to really rush my own game in order to make up for the slow play of others, which tends to have a negative impact on my score.

    If everyone could just play at a reasonable pace!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh

      Pace of play is definitely an issue at most courses. Thanks for the vote of confidence. I also do not like slow play and generally immerse myself in my surroundings (looking lots, less chatting) to stay focused. Also I find a song to sing that reminds me of the tempo I need to sustain. It is all very…..unstructured. Not sure this helps.


      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim, like you, I’m generally a very fast player. I get very anxious on the course if I feel like I’m holding up anyone behind even the least little bit, even as part of a group that is keeping up a decent pace. As a general rule, I err on the side of letting folks go through if they are so inclined, especially if they “catch” me on a par 3. However, it sounds like you weren’t holding anybody up, and under the circumstances you described, I probably wouldn’t have worried about it after a couple holes.


    • David

      Thanks for your input. They seem to stay us out of reach. They definitely did not catch us on a par 3. I am generally a fast player as well, that is why it bother me a bit. Thanks for sharing.



  3. If you are putting out on most holes before the group behind you gets to their approach shots, I think all is well. If you find that they are always sitting in the middle of the fairway behind you while you putt, I would have considered letting them through. With that said, there has to be somewhere for them to go, no sense letting them through so that you can wait for them all day. Also, at a 4:10 pace, I doubt anyone was feeling held up.

    On Friday I played with a female friend and one of her friends (both are decent players in their 50s) and on the 12th hole the marshal actually stopped the group ahead (who we found to be slightly slower than our desired pace) and asked them to let us through. It was a private course (clublink) and the group ahead of us were guests, while my playing partners were members, so that might have had something to do with it, but it seemed strange to hold up the pace for 10 minutes to let a group catch you and play through.


    • Aaron

      Thanks for your story. It goes to show that there was no real right answer. We did play a bit of an accordion action with the group. It is just something I was aware of and mentioned to my group. Overall, everyone was ok with our decision.



  4. Had a slow round yesterday 4hrs 45mins. One of our group was a 31 H/cap, new to golf and the course. It was pouring down, and windy as hell. The 31 was very deliberate in everything he did, pre shot routine especially.Tried to hurry him along, but to no avail.We were the lead group out in a competition, so no point letting anyone through. They got close a few times, and at the end of the day we all ended up in the clubhouse for a drink. the slowness was mentioned, and I spoke to the organizer and asked him why he put this chap out in the first group. He admitted it was a mistake, and will look at grouping and handicaps next time. A friend of mine had a similar experience, he plays off 7, and was put in group against a guy playing on a 39. Computing how many shots he got was a nightmare, for both of them.


    • Pete

      I appreciate what you are saying. Especially in competition. This is a real tough situation for everyone. In your case, the slow play was out of your hands. But, we older players understand and generally make the proper decision on when to let players go through. Thanks for sharing.


      Liked by 1 person

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