5 Tips to Improve Your Pace of Play

Fall Golf
October 13, 2016
Not all whiskey is bourbon but all bourbon is whiskey
October 25, 2016

5 Tips to Improve Your Pace of Play

Following the theme of my previous post [Click Here to read Pace-of-Play Myths], I will continue to tackle the pace-of-play elephant on the course.

There is an abundance of resources but I found some tips on USGA.org and wanted to add some comments.

 “Tee It Forward” unless you are consistently able to reach greens in regulation from the back tees.
In other words, play from a set of tees that is comfortable for you – one where you are more likely to hit lofted irons into greens instead of hybrids or fairway woods. It is acceptable for players in the same group to play from different tees.

An interesting tip.  Egos aside I enjoy making birdies and pars rather than laboring to make pars and bogeys.  It also creates a whole new course for you, if you play the same course often.  Try a forward set of tees the next time around, you may be surprised that it is still a challenge to score from a forward set of tees.  Even mix it up: maybe the odd holes you play from one set of tees and the even holes you play from another.  If anything it may improve your course management.

Minimize your time on the tee
On the tee it is usually acceptable for players to “hit when ready.” You can also save time by playing a provisional ball if you think your original ball might be lost or out of bounds.

In short, if you’re ready, hit the ball.  Honors are great but if the player that has honors is delayed; the next ready golfer should hit.

slow_play_1Keep your pre-shot routine short
Pick your line of play once and trust yourself. Try to take no more than one practice swing, then set up to the ball and play your shot. Most importantly, be ready to hit when it is your turn. Be efficient after your shot too. Start moving toward your next shot promptly.

I try to make it simple.  Golf can be as complicated as you make it.  With my pre-shot routine, it takes about 15-20 seconds to hit.  The purpose for the routine is to calm the nerves, be in the moment and make sure the body is loose.

When sharing a cart, use a buddy system
Don’t wait in the cart while your cartmate hits and then drive to your ball. Get out and walk to your ball with a few clubs. Be ready to play when it is your turn and then let your cartmate pick you up. Or, drive to your ball after you drop your cartmate off and then pick him or her up after you hit.

I like to call this not being a herd of sheep.  You have either seen this or been a part of it.  It’s the flock of sheep moving up the entire hole, ball to ball, shot to shot.  I find it easier to see another player’s shot from a different angle than right next to them. And more likely to keep up with the group in front of us.

Remember that picking up your ball is permitted by the USGA Handicap Systemedmund_golf_tx800
If not in an individual stroke play competition, it is generally OK to pick up your ball and move on to the next hole if you are “out” of a hole and want to maintain pace of play. This applies in match play and many forms of stroke play, including Stableford, Point Quota and best-ball play.

I know I have had my ball in my pocket on many occasions.  When playing, non-stroke play competition, after I reach a certain number of shots I will just pick the ball up.  This may help out any frustrations and the development of bad habits.

Golf is meant to be fun and I try to keep that in mind.  For competitive golf, these tips may not all apply; but if you are just out with your golfing friends you want to have fun.  Golf is not only where I work but a great hobby that I can have for life.  Since playing collegiate basketball, I try to enjoy golf in a different aspect.  Maybe someday I will be competitive, but for now I will enjoy a great game.

Eric Foster, MBA
Eric Foster, MBA
Director of Marketing & Sales | Twitter: @FosterTheRed

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