Keeping The Right Position On The Golf Course

Over the years, I have engaged in a plethora of discussions on slow play. I cannot tell you the different ideas that players have on how to speed up the play on the their golf course. Personally, I think staying in the right position is key to speed of play, but that only works if most of the groups are playing at the same relative speed. Of course we all know that if the course is playing slow, it boils down to one or two groups who set the place. Ultimately, from time to time you will find yourself out of position and need some techniques on how to close the gap; well I have a few suggestions.

The first is to play ready golf. I have written about this a important skill and think that if most players adopted ready golf, then the pace on the golf course would be quicker. Unfortunately, this skill needs to be taught to new players and that is rarely done from what I can see.

Play the correct tees. Stop playing the whites just because you think that is where you should be. Select your distances based on ‘Driver Distance Recommended Yardages’:

  • 275 yards 6,700 – 6,900 yards
  • 250 yards 6,200 – 6,400 yards
  • 225 yards 5,800 – 6,000 yards
  • 200 yards 5,200 – 5,400 yards
  • 175 yards 4,400 – 4,600 yards
  • 150 yards 3,500 – 3,700 yards
  • 125 yards 2,800 – 3,000 yards
  • 100 yards 2,100 – 2,300 yards

This not just a Canadian initiative, the PGA and USGA are supporting partners as well.  “When you TEE IT FORWARD, you hit more lofted irons into greens, putt for birdies and pars more often and play faster and score better! 

Follow the three minute rule for a lost ball. Over the years I have watched players look for their ball for 5 minutes, then the rest of the group comes over to look for 5 minutes, then they have a bit of a discussion. Watching this scenario frustrates all onlookers.

Let faster groups go through. If the group behind is watching your every shot and the hole in front is open (this is the important point about this last hint) then let the faster groups go through. I have had discussions with players who refuse if they are playing (in their minds) fast enough, so the group behind will just have to wait. This is poor etiquette in my opinion. There is nothing wrong with letting a group go through if your group is blocking the golf course.

Walk, ride and play to a pace of 4 hours. This timing has a +- time of 15 minutes. My group plays faster, however if we are on this pace, we will slow down to meet this mark. Unfortunately, this pace is a challenge for some players and it does clog up the golf course on busy days. Hence, I recommend that you keep track of your pace and aim for a 4 hour completion.

Keeping in position on the golf course is important to everyone. The enjoyment of playing golf, in my mind anyway, is to play at a comfortable pace to completes the round in the reasonable time of 4 hours.

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


8 thoughts on “Keeping The Right Position On The Golf Course

  1. Jim, four hours seems like an excellent pace. Unfortunately, it’s closer to five if you play during the weekends here in the DMV. All the desk jockey’s (myself included) clog the courses and that is just the facts of life. Can’t wait to retire and turn weekdays into my regular play dates. On the other hand, I could think of a lot of things I’d rather not be doing than spending an extra hour at the course. 🙂



    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish courses all had well trained marshals working at all times. Waiting for complaint phone calls to the clubhouse is usually too late. Marshals could:
    -identify slower groups early in the round
    -help slow groups by fore-caddying, providing yardages, looking for balls, shuttling players, etc. until the group is back in position.
    -requiring slow groups to let other groups through
    -requiring really slow groups to skip a hole to get back into position (maybe with an offer to play hole #1 again to make up for the missed hole)

    Well trained refreshment carts workers can also play a role.
    -they should skip slow groups until they are back in position
    -they shouldn’t interrupt groups as they take shots. Best to wait at tee box rather than stopping the group’s progress in the middle of the fairway
    – they should also not park right in the landing zones.

    Some courses are also using technology with GPS carts and RFID trackers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The thing that bothers me the most about slow play isn’t the slow players. It’s when people being held up in my own group feel the need to gripe about it.

    It’s not that I don’t understand their frustrations. I do. But when they voice those complaints to the rest of the group or shout them at the people ahead, it’s not helping anyone. It exacerbates the problem rather than alleviating it. Anything that frustrates is not where our minds should be focused. Slow players don’t get faster because we demand it. They get slower because they feel us looking over their shoulders and judging them.

    I’ve “endured” 5 and a half hours rounds in the past. Most were abysmal rounds of golf for me because I let the continuous delays get to me. But one or two of them were actually quite fun rounds because we made it that way despite the delays. We founds ways to enjoy ourselves anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin,

      Maturity as a golfer definitely a important factor to not being frustrated during slow play. I have played in tournaments where rounds lasted 6.5 hours in the hot sun. It was brutal. The last few holes, I just laid down in the shade and waited for my turn to play. Trying to remain emotionally calm is an important aspect of playing golf during slow conditions.

      Cheers Jim


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