Bill Wilson

Speed of play and procedures that will help your game

I planned with this article to finish off with putting but have had a change of mind. Instead, we will cover speed of play and procedures that help you play your game in a reasonable and acceptable amount of time. Next article will be on putting.

Most golf courses ask groups to play their game in 2 hours and 10 minutes maximum for nine holes and 4 hours and 20 minutes maximum for an 18-hole round. When following a few simple procedures even beginners find it easy to play within these time requirements. The key is to keep up to the group ahead of you. For example, if the group ahead has finished putting and are walking off the green (putting surface) on a par 3 (your next hole to play) then you and your group should be arriving at the tee box of that hole. If your group arrives at a tee box on a par 4 and the group ahead have already completed this hole then chances are you are falling behind. Not a major concerned with this as the game sometimes is like and accordion. Happens from time to time but be sure to keep an eye on this group so you do not fall further behind. Try if you can to catch up.

Tips for speed of play allowing for your group to keep up with the group ahead:

*Play ready golf. If you are ready to play your shot and no one else is then go ahead.

*Do not do your scorecard work on the green last played. Do it on the next tee.

*Always leave your equipment (clubs, pull cart or power cart) off the green but in the direction of the next tee. For example, next tee box to the right of the green you are playing then equipment to be placed before you putt off the green and in line to the next tee box or path leading to it.

*Continuous putting. After hitting your first putt continue on until holed out unless doing so will interfere with another player’s putt. For example, standing on someone else’s line of putt.

*Practice swings are always good before each shot but limit yourself to one only. If you are having a hard time keeping up to the group ahead, make a plan with your group to illuminate practice swings until you catch up to this group. It is amazing how practice swings negatively affect speed of play.

*If you are a beginner and are concerned with holding following groups up then follow these tips and play your rounds during quite times on the course. Check with Pro Shop as to when these days and times are available. As your game improves you will loose this concern and feel comfortable playing in busier times.

*If you are a beginner do not worry about scoring. Leave that until later when your ball flight becomes better. Only allow yourself so many full shots to reach the green. If not on the green when reaching this number (say it is 5) then pick your ball up and place it on the putting surface. Possibly front and center. Putt until you have holed the ball out.

Be sure that when you play tournament golf (this includes ladies’ day, senior day and men’s night) that you do play by the rules. For casual golf when out with family or friends does it really matter if you have a few of your own? Most tips here are within the rules but a couple are not.