Fast-play tips from 'Land of 2.5 Million Rounds'
I live in The Villages in Florida, where there are 648 holes of golf and 2.5 million rounds of golf played annually. 99.9 percent of the golf is played by retirees who are 55 or older. Most of the golfers who play the 298 holes of championship courses play them at 5,800 yards or less. Yet play still can be slow (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Nov. 9; Nov. 8; Nov. 7; (“It’s time to call foul on Tour’s stall tactics,” Nov. 6).
A few of the slow-play offenses I witness are easily correctable.
On the tee, play ready golf. Don’t wait for the guy celebrating his birdie on the last hole. Let him revel in his accomplishment rather than wait for who has honors.
Coming off the green, go directly to the next hole before replacing your clubs.
Coming off the green, wait until the next hole before recording scores and adjusting for strokes and/or points.
If you are 50 feet from the hole on the green and someone is 10 feet away but on the fringe, don’t wait because he is not on the green. Just putt.
If you are given a putt, pick it up and move away. Don’t putt anyway and then take the gimme score.
Keep your clubs together on the green so you don’t have to walk back to get the ones you didn’t use.
When faced with a 270-yard second shot to a par 5, don’t wait for the green to clear before hitting when the longest 3-wood you have hit recently is 180 yards.
Always park your carts behind the green, but especially on 18. Move behind the green for the handshake and settlement of bets.
When your foursome tees off behind another foursome and after the first hole the group ahead is more than a half-hole ahead, you are playing slowly. Pick up the pace.
Hopefully these easily accomplished tips can get the average round to four hours or less.
Cary B. Sternberg
The Villages, Fla.
Put the dawdlers’ names in lights
If J.B. Holmes gets away with taking four minutes to hit a wedge shot, we can’t bank on the PGA Tour deciding to assess fines or strokes. Make it personal and on-the-spot public (“It’s time to call foul on Tour’s stall tactics,” Nov. 6).
You can get a report from each hole about where the gaps are between groups. If one group has opened a gap of one hole, send a timer to follow that group for a few holes and find out who the dawdler is. Give that player a slow-play warning, and at the same time, post the warning on all electronic leaderboards located around the course.
Embarrass them into playing faster. Name names publicly. Let them see their name as a slow player everywhere they look. Make a slow player (Jason Day?) be constantly confronted with his pace of play while he’s playing and the need to defend it afterward. After a while, he just might get tired of it and start speeding up.
‘Shut up and hit the shot!’
Enforce the slow-play mandate and force accountability among those in violation of it. Get rid of the fines and start hitting these guys with strokes, and if the slowpokes still don’t get it, put them on the bottom of the tee sheet on a regular basis (“It’s time to call foul on Tour’s stall tactics,” Nov. 6).
I agree emphatically with John Hawkins, and I think most of my fellow fans would agree. The PGA Tour has been too soft on this issue, and those of us in the real world of golf wonder why. Money? The PGA Tour, European Tour, USGA and R&A should develop the courage to enforce slow-play rules that already exist – and maybe institute more.
The pros walk the course with talented, highly paid caddies who have mapped the course down to the blades of grass. As a few famous players have said, “You should know your shot when you reach your ball.” There shouldn’t be a long discussion (ala Jordan Spieth, et al.) over what club to use or target to shoot for.
Pull your club, shut up and hit the shot!
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