For sport participation, golf ranks near the top. Holing out from the fairway, one-putting, chipping in or striping one down the middle, the hero shot can give you an exhilarating feel which cannot be replaced. Many people I come in contact with playing for the first time express a universal admiration for the game. Remarks I hear often are as follows: I get it now. I understand why people play. Golf is so addicting. Why has it taken me so long to pick this up?
In addition to my own perspective of golf, I perpetually inform others of how rewarding the golf situation is here. Essentially you can play year round with a high enough dedication. Furthermore, financially, it is a magnificent prospect to play golf in Oregon compared to other states. Here, you can play anywhere from $25 to less than $100 on illustrious courses. Elsewhere, you are looking at prices ranging north of $200. Talk about rough.
Granted, it’s not always a slot machine out there coming up cherries each time out. One of golf’s enduring handicaps remains a frequent occurrence here in Oregon: slow play. (My inspiration today comes from a 4 ½ hour round- during the week -at Quail Valley behind a foursome who finished three holes behind the group in front of them). What causes this or why does it happen? There’s a good debate for later. For now, how to fix it? Well…if I were king for a day…here is what I would do…
Divot repair tool. When checking in at the pro shop for your tee time, each player must show a divot repair tool to the sales clerk or starter. Each player must have their own and explain when and how to use it. No tool, no play.
Golf etiquette and slow play. Before receiving a scorecard, each player (not one per group) must provide a laminated business card with information regarding pace of play and allowing faster groups to play through. Such information can be printed at any golf course’s website you plan to visit. (Clearly the cooperation of golf courses would be required here; for argument’s sake, we’ll say this is a given).
Threesomes or less only. Professional golf does it this way and time has arrived for the amateur ranks to follow suit. Exponentially speaking, as the number of players in a group increase, so do the odds of less skilled players being in a group. Foursomes shall only apply in a tournament setting.
Carts only/Walking only courses. Certain courses shall be assigned as a carts-only course or a walk only (no drive carts). A common myth is taking drive carts increase the speed of a round. False. The problem with carts is people take them everywhere. Two people share a cart and nothing but back and forth ensues. A walk-only course means people walk straight to their ball and hit when ready. Naturally, this rule coincides with the threesome rule more conveniently. How much of a coincidence is there where Bandon Dunes has no drive carts and is regarded as one of the premiere resorts in the world? Surely this is not the only reason, but it helps.
Computer time code. Roger Maltbie, NBC commentator, once remarked, “Here is a scorecard. If you return it in less than four hours, knock a stroke off your round.” Nice. Each course is computer linked. You check in for your start time. When finished you return to the pro shop and they log your completion time. Next time you play, at any course, if the computer shows your last round over four hours you will be allotted certain time slots to play for slower players. Improve your pace of play, receive favorable start times. Remember, I am king today. What I say, goes.
Bottom line, slow play means slow players. No one ever thinks it is them. Recognizing your ability or skill level is the ultimate decider. Being cognizant of those behind you is necessary. Most golf courses are not overly concerned about this matter. Getting to the green, and I don’t mean the grassy kind, more so the cash variety, is their priority. Hence, the slow play issue is left to the playing contingent. Until the day comes when I become golf king, we are left to govern ourselves. Keep golf enjoyable, pick up the pace people.