Courses have to share blame for slow play

While golfers can definitely learn how to play a little faster by following some of the following practices endorsed by Play 240 GOLF, owners and operators of golf courses first need to make an important change to allow more time between starting times.

I’ve preached this for many years, but it was nice to see that USGA Executive Director Mike Davis was on the same page in an interview with Golf Magazine, pointing out that sending players off every eight or nine minutes just added to the amount of time it took to finish a round.

Mike Davis

Mike Davis

“Mathematically, it can’t work,” he said. “All that does is put more people out on the golf course and make it slower for everybody. If you’re the owner-operator and you send people out every 11, 12, 13 minutes, you can get as many people around in a day, but instead of making it a six-hour round, you’ve made it a four-hour-and-45 minute round. And you know what? That person is happier and that person will play more golf.”

At the recent ING Spring Conference at the Reunion Resort near Orlando, I heard about Play 240 GOLF and thought passing along some of its etiquette fundamentals could help golfers themselves get around quicker.

Steve Aronson, an avid golfer, came up with the idea for Play 240 GOLF after being paired with a notoriously slow golfer on consecutive days in a club tournament. Aronson shared his experience; “It was extremely frustrating watching the prolonged pre-shot routine time and time again over 36 holes. I wanted to tell the guy he was slow but realized after a couple of subtle comments he was not going to pick-up the pace no matter what I said.” Aronson went on, “There had to be a way to let this guy know and others like him how to play golf at an acceptable pace. I realized telling someone they are slow was not the answer. They don’t believe it to begin with and even if they did accept the fact it does not help them play any faster.”

Aronson decided an education program all golfers could share was needed to teach slow golfers how to be ready to play their shot in a reasonable time. After careful study and much research the 10 rules were written. Once written it became clear the rules are simply nothing more than good golf etiquette fundamentals. No different than not stepping on playing partners putting line.”

The first fundamental according to Aronson is the most important and simply states: “Be Ready to Play When It Is Your Turn.” Aronson explained, “Golfers that are not ready to play when it is their turn is the single biggest reason for slow play.”

Aronson also suggests as part of being ready to play, have your glove on, determine distance and what club you want to hit before it is your time to play. Go ahead and play when ready; even doing so before assisting another player to look for possible lost ball. When riding, drop the other player at his ball instead of waiting for him to play first. Play from the correct set of tees based on your ability. Go to to see all of the rules.

I agree with Aronson that following these rules players can get around in four hours or less unless, of course, the courses where they are playing haven’t tried to force to many players off too close together.

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