How can golf club committees help to banish slow play?

Eight ideas for golf club committees to consider

slow play
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Eight ideas for golf club committees to consider

Slow play solution 1: Have periods when only two-ball matches are allowed on the course. This does not mean that four golfers cannot meet up and all play together during this time - they merely have to play foursomes, not fourball.

Slow play solution 2: Allow adequate space between groups on the starting sheet. The R&A guideline is for eight-minute intervals when play is in two balls, 10 or 11 minutes when in three balls and 12-minute intervals for fourballs.

Slow play solution 3: Leave some slack in these timings, maybe by having a five-minute fallow period on the booking sheet every hour. This helps clear any delays that have arisen. Otherwise if a group arrives late on the tee, on a busy day all subsequent groups will be teeing off late.

Slow play solution 4: Have distance marker posts. Some courses only have measurements on sprinkler heads, so everyone spends time hunting around for the nearest sprinkler head and then they have to walk up to it to peer at it to read it before walking back to their ball.

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Slow play solution 5: Ensure green-fee players know how to get around the course. Have a sign by the green pointing you where to go to the next tee when this is not obvious. That way players can leave their bag in the right spot and don’t waste time afterwards working out where to walk to.

Slow play solution 6: Does the rough have to be so long? The average handicap for men in the UK is 16, for women 25 - most golfers find golf hard enough already. Does the extra length of the rough achieve much other than slowing the pace of play through having to stop to hunt for balls?

Slow play solution 7: Similarly, what about keeping the ground below the trees in woodland areas reasonably clear so that players can swiftly find their errant shot? The player will still end up penalised for their bad shot as they are likely to have to ‘take their medicine’ by chipping out to the fairway between tree trunks, branches etc.

Slow play solution 8: Ensure players can get round the course quickly. For example, are there enough bridges across that wide stream? If there is only one bridge and its on the left of the fairway, is this slowing down golfers who have hit to the right side of the fairway?

Roderick Easdale

Contributing Writer Golf courses and travel are Roderick’s particular interests and he was contributing editor for the first few years of the Golf Monthly Travel Supplement. He writes travel articles and general features for the magazine, travel supplement and website. He also compiles the magazine's crossword. He is a member of Trevose Golf & Country Club and has played golf in around two dozen countries. Cricket is his other main sporting love. He is the author of five books, four of which are still in print: The Novel Life of PG Wodehouse; The Don: Beyond Boundaries; Wally Hammond: Gentleman & Player and England’s Greatest Post-War All Rounder.