After a while do you ever wonder why you feel like you are left to find your ball on your own, hitting last when you should be hitting first, people behind you are always standing with their hands on their hips, last to walk up to reach your group on the green as they are lining up their putts or perhaps they’ve already putted out holding the flag waiting for you? Or maybe you’re just a chatterbox who talks too much instead of hitting. If this sounds familiar, then you are the lollygagger of the group. Ok, to put it bluntly, you’re holding up the whole damn course and you need to pick up the pace. Don’t take offense to it, just get up and hit the ball. If you hear someone say, C’mon Norton! (Naw’n), you know you’re slow. (Just a little Honeymooners joke.)
So, my question is, when do you think you are considered, “fallen out of position”? Well, you are considered “out of position” once your group is more than one shot behind. Not, one hole behind, but one stroke out from the group in front of you. Most people mistaken that. If you are a foursome or fewer and the group in front of you is a foursome, you should always be one stroke behind them. When the group in front is approaching the green on a par 4, your group should be ready to tee off. After teeing off and by the time you reach your ball, identify it and figure out what club to hit, the group in front should be walking off the green. Take your practice shot, line it up and swing away.
So, what makes a player so slow? Let’s start with my biggest pet-peeve, course management. Course management for the amateur is different than it is for the pro. First off, the pro has a caddie to help manage him and it’s more about selecting the correct club. However, course management for the amateur means a whole lot more. Yes, like the pros, selecting the correct club for your game to keep the ball in play is very important, however, it’s also knowing whose ball to approach first, when to drive over to your ball and ready yourself to hit next. You should always leave a player to hit while others are on a search and rescue mission. Then switch places to allow the next person to hit. Searching should happen in succession with others hitting and alternating this action. Also, it’s about where you place the cart for both players to manage their equipment. If close enough, I always try to split the difference in half, so we can work on readiness at the same time. Or you can drop off your partner and go to your ball. How about lining up your putt and having a plan before it’s your turn. Everyone should be ready after the first person putts. After leaving the green, pull your cart away immediately and score your group at the next tee box so the group in the fairway can approach. I cannot stress this action enough. When you reach the next tee box, you need to either score first while others are teeing off or score after you hit if you have honors. It is very frustrating to see everyone writing scores while no one is teeing off. And lastly, police your own pace as well as your groups pace to keep everyone in position. Honors should be put aside and play ready golf when you are out of position. You’re not pros playing for a million-dollar purse. It’s only a lousy $5 Nassau and the group behind you could care less! Hit the ball Naw’n!
Nothing says slow play like the guy who sits in the cart waiting for his cart partner to hit while his ball lay 20 yards to the right. Instead of figuring out his yardage, taking a club and walking over to be ready, he insists on sitting in the cart and waits to watch his partners shot. Then he waits for the partner to clean his club, put it away, get in the cart, talk about his shot and drive 20 yards over to the other guys ball. Now he gets out talking about his friends shot, grabs his yardage scope, shoots the pin, talk, talk, talk, takes his club, walks over, lines it up, practice swings two or three times and then hits the ball. I have videoed this, since I had plenty of time to witness it, and on average, these two guys took 1.5 min each to hit. If they regularly shoot 90, do the math people. That’s 1.5 min per shot x 180 shots for both = 270 minutes divided by 60 min to an hour = 4.5 hrs. Yup 4.5 hrs. You may think, ok that’s the normal time it takes to play a round of golf. However, there are 4 people. I’m only giving you the time for two guys. So now what happens to the other cart you ask? Yes, exactly. They rush trying to keep up pace with the rest of the field. They wind up playing like crap all because the other two are plainly selfish. What should have been a pleasant, 4.5-hour round, now took a grueling 5.5 hours.
Now onto my next pet-peeve. The guy that wants to hit driver on every hole because his ego is too damn big. It’s all about distance for this guy! However, his shot barely hits the fairway. Now the group is constantly in the woods looking for his ball. If that guy had the brains to have course management, he would know it’s not about distance on every hole. Course management is having the sense to play a shot that will keep the ball in play. I think a group should have the right to take the driver out of one’s hands when he can’t make an educated decision. No one wants tics or poison ivy and the group is tired of looking for his ball. They are the slowest group out there. This selfish, lack of consideration mentality, creates animosity against him. He has no clue that he ruined everyone else’s round because their game lacks a sense of flow and rhythm. After the round he has the audacity to complain about others, the weather, course conditions, etc. He has more stories than Mother Goose! And then he will say, “my game wasn’t good because it was just too slow”. Well HELLO! And you wonder why no one wants to be teamed up with you and you are always the last group out. Total denial or just oblivious.
And my last peeve, which may alternate with my first peeve, is ATTITUDE! If you think that because you paid to play too, that warrants you the right to take your sweet time and you want your monies worth, then you are sadly mistaken, Mr. Arrogant Golfer! Golf isn’t about you, your game or your money. Golf is a game of integrity, honor, respect, responsibility and sportsmanship. None of which represents your attitude. Take your attitude and go fishing where all the time in the world is focused on you. The only ones that will be waiting you and the worm. Enjoy!
I will end on this last note: If you play your shot in the moment, you are also setting up and managing your next shot. Always be one step ahead. Set the example and others will follow.
Fairways and greens!