Pace of play
Last year The Golf Club Secretary conducted a survey on what our readers and their members thought of Slow Play. We were delighted that golfers from all over the UK responded in their hundreds. Out of the 26 different options we originally offere, the top 10 from the survey were:
- Being ready to play
- Pre shot routines
- Players not calling through when a ball is not found
- Players taking longer than 5 minutes to search for a ball
- Not picking up in a Stableford when the player cannot score
- Clubs left on the ‘wrong’ side of the green
- Marking cards on the green
- Players not carrying or playing provisional balls
- Depth of rough
- Player ability
From that list it is clear that the pace of play, in the view of the respondents, is almost entirely the responsibility of the players. At every level of the game the Pace of Play is a major cause of dissatisfaction and dismay. We were determined that during the five autumn Regional Qualifying Tournaments for The Golf Club Secretary – 19th Open Championship, we should try and encourage a practical response from the competitors, who, being secretary/managers we described as ‘The Guardians of The Game’.
We drew up ‘The Ten Commandments’ and asked everyone to read them before they played. In three out of the five events, there was little improvement and one venue, playing off the White competition tees, at close to 6750 yards, three ball rounds took over four hours. At one course where there was a two tee start and a course of 6100 yards, the average time came down to about three and a half hours with no need for ‘encouragement’. The final competition of the year was at Hankley Common played over a course of 6400 with sixty competitors and a two tee start. We made a concerted effort to ensure everyone read ‘The Commandments’ – the first three ball were round in three hours ten minutes and the last in three hours forty. The result was that lunch had to be brought forward and everyone had a smile on their faces. It worked, and everyone enjoyed themselves.
Please note that as ‘Guardians of the Game’ we would ask you to not only read but try wherever possible to adhere to the following:
- Keep up with the game in front not ahead of the game behind.
- Whilst mindful of your fellow competitors, we wish to encourage READY golf; be READY to play YOUR shot as soon as you are READY.
- If there is ANY doubt that you might not find your ball always play a provisional just in case. Once you can no longer score a Stableford point, put your ball in your pocket.
- Keep up curaged.a good walking pace.
- Make sure you line up YOUR putt whilst your fellow competitors are putting. Continuous putting and holing out is encouraged.
- Feel free to encourage slow playing partners to play quicker.
- Distance-Measuring Devices are permitted in The Golf Club Secretary – Open Championship.
- Please remember to replace divots and where necessary repair two pitch marks, before leaving the green.
- Whilst not wishing to spoil anyone’s enjoyment, we all believe that SLOW PLAY is a killer – for a Stableford and despite the quality of the golfing test ahead of you, by adhering to the above, it should be perfectly possible for a three ball to play the 18 holes in 3 hours 40 mins (not 3 hours 30 mins, as recommended as the majority of competitors are not playing their ‘home’ course and have not had a practice round).
- Mark the card on the next tee, not on the green and at all times be considerate to your fellow competitors