So what do we know about slow play?
Well, for one, you could ask 100 people what's the biggest problem in the game and 95% would reply: 'slow play'. Ask them if they themselves are responsible for slow play and not one would admit to it.
You wouldn't, would you! It's pariah status. And that of course is one of the reasons why it's such a problem... no one believes they're slow, even when the group ahead has pulled two holes clear. They'll have an excuse that allows them to justify their snail-like pace of play... I lost a ball, I had to check the yardage, I had to rake everyone else's footprints in the bunker, it was a really tricky putt, my pipe went out.
When Is Slow Play, Slow Play?
When the group in front of you holds you up, that's when. It doesn't matter how many people there are in your group - if you're being held up, good etiquette says that you should be waved through.
I know that a single golfer has no 'right' to play through a fourball in these circumstances, but common sense should always prevail.
What is it in a golfer's mindset that makes inviting someone to play through so difficult?
- Is it an insult to his or her golfing prowess?
- Is it the 'I'm not slow so I'm doing nothing wrong'?
- Is it the 'I'm a 4-handicapper so I'm better than you and I can take my time'?
- Is it the 'I'm a 24-handicapper so I need to take my time'?
- Is it the bloody-minded 'I've paid my green fee/subscription and I'll take as long as I damn well please... so sod off'?
|Damn ball's around here somewhere.
If you play and love the game you have undoubtedly encountered such situations - and you know full well you'll encounter many more. Why? Three reasons:
- Because club management is rarely prepared to do anything about it... other than a bit of lip service, the occasional sign on a clubhouse board and/or a passing comment at the AGM. Even Course Rangers often fail in their basic duties. I've only ever seen one telling a group to shift it;
- Because slow golfers aren't held accountable;
- And because as golfers we compound the situation by not having the cohones to tackle these golfing sloths.
We need to start making a stand... and my next blog will address how.
In the meantime, here's a new invention that has been beautifully designed to slow the game up even further. I don't like knocking new ideas, but this is a time-wasting invention if ever I saw one:
Slow Play - Golf's Curse (Part 2)
Slow Play - Golf's Curse (Part 3)