Pace of play is always a hot topic in the golfing community. The amount of time it takes an average foursome to play 18 holes of golf continues to be addressed by everyone involved in growing the game.
And for good reason…pace of play is often the reason golfers quit the game or would-be golfers never start to play.
What is the proper pace of play?
It should take a foursome anywhere from 3 hours 45 minutes to 4 hours 30 minutes to play a round of golf. A number of factors can impact the speed at which a group plays, such as the skill level of the players, difficulty of the golf course and weather conditions. Some of these factors you can’t control, but others you can and should.
So what can we do to improve pace of play?
Here are some of the things I do to play faster golf.
Strategies to Improve Pace of Play
- Address pace of play with everyone in your foursome before teeing off at the first hole. Make sure everyone is on board with keeping your round moving.
- Keep up with the group in front of you.
- When you’re ready, play, no honors. (Honors in golf is having the lowest scoring player on the previous hole tee off first on the next hole.) Be courteous when playing this way and communicate with everyone in the foursome.
- Use continuous putting whenever possible. There is no reason to mark that six inch putt and wait to finish out.
- Visit your bag once, not twice, whenever possible. For example, tee off with your driver and then jump in the cart with your driver in hand. When you arrive at your ball, get out, driver goes into your bag and take out the proper club for your next shot. One visit to the bag, not two. If you play your entire round this way you will save about 15 minutes.
- If you keep score for the group, mark down the scores on the next tee, not at greenside of the hole you just played.
- If you are playing a match and score is not a priority, pick your ball up when you are out of the hole. You are out of the hole if your score has no influence on the outcome of the match.
- Maximize your score per hole at double the score of par for the hole. For example, on a par 5, max out at 10 strokes and pick up.
- Watch where your ball goes and watch the shots of the other players in your group. If everyone does their best to watch where golf balls go it will speed up the search for a ball from any errant shots made by your group.
- Take an extra club when you get out of the cart. It’s always better to have the extra club just in case you want to use it then to have to call your golf cart partner to drive back to you because you need a different club.
- Always be ready to play, especially when it is your turn. If you’re not ready for some reason, tell another player in the group to go ahead of you and play their shot. There is no reason to stand around and wait.
Pace of play really comes down to being courteous and using common sense so that everyone can enjoy their round of golf in a timely manner.
If you want to linger, do that at the 19th hole.
Do you have any tips for improving pace of play? Share your comments.