Golf is a game of beauty, patience, recreation and the enjoyment of nature, but to follow the rules of golf you better do it at the proper pace, not fall out of position or you’ll be put on the clock. Tick-Tock, Tick, Tock.
I’ve been put on the clock in competition, but I’m sure it was not my fault as I’m a pretty fast player, but the entire group gets put on the clock when you fall out of position. Under many rules of competition you need to play in a pace that calls for a round of golf in about 4-hours and 30-minutes. You are out of position if you are 15-minutes behind the group ahead of you, which is about one open hole.
In the recent World Golf Championships at Firestone, Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington were put on the clock being 17-minutes behind the group ahead of them. Bear in mind they were the last group and they were not holding up another group. One consideration is the size of the gallery with Tiger and how it is more difficult for the players to move between holes and wait for the crowd to settle down.
Tiger criticized the situation because it caused Harrington to rush several shots trying to speed up and possibly caused him to hit poor shots. There was talk of Tiger being fined for the criticism of the situation. Should the players on tour stay out of position, they can be penalized and or fined.
Here is a top-5 list of reasons why golfers play slow in my opinion.
1. Not ready when it is your turn.
2. Swing don’t think. Don’t over analyze the situation.
3. Pay attention. Watch where your ball goes, and watch the ball of others.
4. Don’t be Jim Furyk. Jim will take practice swings after a bad shot and backs off putts every time.
5. The group ahead is likely out of the way, get ready to hit.
The mantra should be, Stay up with the group ahead of you, not only stay ahead of the group behind you.
If you play at a good pace, you and the others will enjoy the experience and likely you will play better, so be a good soldier out there and do your part.
John Abendroth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for your golf questions.