Slow play is the bane of most players. An 18-hole round of golf should take between four and four and a half hours but often, they are much longer.
So what can be done to speed up play?
1. Pace your game on the course.
If a game takes four to four and a half hours, then after one hour you should be on the 5th fairway; after two hours…on the 9th green and after three hours…playing the 14th.
Monitor your play. If you are behind the noted times, you are probably playing too slow.
2. If you are ready to hit…hit.
It is nice to have the honour but if others are on the tee and ready to play, they should hit-off to keep the flow of play going.
3. Don’t waste time looking for lost golf balls.
The rules of golf allow five minutes when looking for a lost ball…not seven or ten or longer.
If you suspect your ball is lost, play a provisional ball and save time by not having to go back to the spot from which the ball was played.
Once the five minutes has elapsed, declare the ball lost and continue play.
4. Read putts while others are putting.
A lot of players do not line up their putt until their playing partners have marked their ball or putted out. You should line up your putt as others are putting (just be sure you’re far enough away to not be distracting), and once their ball is rolling, get your ball down and start your routine. If your ball isn’t in the way, you can put it down and pick up your mark before it’s your turn to hit.
5. Go easy on practice swings. A practice swing or two is a good way to get the best from your game. However, practice swings should not delay the game. Michael Breed of “The Golf Fix” suggested a 45-second pre-shot routine from the time you pull the club to the follow through. That’s really the slowest-case scenario. Shoot for 30 seconds. If you’re on the tee or at your ball and it’s not your turn to hit, feel free to take a few extra practice swings provided it does not distract fellow players. Just be ready to go when it’s your turn.
6. Don’t take calls on the course You’re on the course and among people, don’t stay buried in your phone. Leave it in your bag or cart with the ringer off so it doesn’t disturb your golf partner when they are standing over a three-foot putt should it go off should it ring.