Slow Play Test
You Might Be a Slow Player If ...

Slow Play … the bane of golf.  No one likes it … no one advocates it … no one admits to it! 
Forget what you see on TV – those 5 ½ hour rounds you see on the PGA Tour or any of the other Tours are NOT what we should be aspiring to.  Just because the pros do it, doesn't make it right. 
The slowest player in the world doesn't think that he or she is slow (or at least won't admit it out loud).  Do you think that you are a fast player?  Let's find out. 
Take the following quiz.  Answer the questions honestly.  Only you will know how you answer them, so be honest.  Then we'll analyze your responses. 
  1. Have you ever taken more than 40 seconds to play a shot? 
  2. Do you feel compelled to stop at every body of water that you come across to see if there are any golf balls within easy reach and if there are, pull out your ball retriever and go after them – even when everyone in your group has a ball in play on dry ground? 
  3. Have you ever walked over to your ball without a club in hand to assess the situation and see what club you might want to hit and THEN go back to the cart to get a club?
    then realize it's the wrong club and walk back to the cart to get another one?  
  4. Have you ever sat in the cart and watched your fellow cart partner hit their shot, waited until they got back in the cart and then driven the cart straight across the fairway to hit your shot? 
  5. Do you take more than 1 practice swing per shot? 
  6. When finished putting, do you sit in your carts next to the green and record the scores and/or settle any doubtful points before heading to the next tee? 
  7. Do you sometimes leave your cart (or pull cart) in front of the green while you putt? 
  8. When you have 250 yards left to the green, do you wait until the green clears even though the longest approach shot you've ever hit in your life is 150 yards (including roll)? 
  9. Do you wait until it is your turn to putt before you plumb bob it or study the line? 
  10. When playing in Better Ball competitions and your partner has holed out for a 5, do you insist on sinking your putt for a 10 so that “you can have a score for the hole”? 
  11. If you and your group like to walk, do you all stand together while someone hits before heading over to your ball? 
  12. When you make the turn after 9 holes and you run inside to use the facilities, do you also stop to "primp"? 
  13. When you make the turn after 9 holes, do you insist on ordering something off the grill that has to be cooked before heading to the 10th tee? 
  14. When someone in your group is looking for their ball in the tall grass or the woods, do you sit (or stand) idly by while they look for it all alone? 
  15. When waiting to play, do you insist on finishing your story or joke even though the group ahead is gone and it's clear to hit? 
  16. Has your group ever walked into the clubhouse upon completing a round in a shotgun start to a rousing round applause from the rest of the players in the field?
If you have answered YES to one or more of these questions, then you MIGHT be guilty of  slow play!!!!
Let's take a look at each one of these questions and see where and how we might be able to speed things up.
  1. It should take you no more than 40 seconds to play your shot when it is your turn to hit and you are free of interference and distractions.  These 40 seconds include time spent pacing off yardage, checking wind direction etc., etc.  Now, in fairness to the first person to hit off the tee, or the first one to play an approach shot or the first person to chip or putt, an extra 10 seconds or so is allowed for that person to assess their shot.  The other players in the group have the advantage of using her 40 seconds to get ready to play their own shot, so once it is their turn, there is no excuse for them to take longer than 40 seconds.  Regardless, it should never take anyone more than 60 seconds to play a shot.  Go ahead right now and check your watch or find a clock with a second and sit still and time out 40 seconds – it's an eternity!  Okay, once in a great while you might be faced with an extremely difficult or tricky shot and it just might take a bit longer than 40 seconds to figure out what to do.  That's acceptable.  But if you start using that excuse on every shot you make, maybe you should take a couple of weeks off and regroup!
  2. Leave the ball hawking for an afternoon when you aren't playing golf.  Even if the group ahead of you is still not out of range, you should be at your ball, assessing your shot and ready to play when the group ahead is out of the way.
  3. Use the time spent driving or walking up to your ball to assess your next shot.  Especially if it's “cart paths only”, never walk to your ball empty-handed.  Take the club you most likely think you will need and then take the next higher and next lower club.  9 times out of 10, one of those 3 clubs will get the job done.
  4. We've all agonized watching the group ahead of us when one player plays a shot, gets in the cart and then drives straight across the fairway for the other person to hit.  There is no excuse for that.  Golf is a form of exercise!  If you are not going to be in the way of the other player, grab 3 clubs (see item #3) and walk over to your shot so that you can be ready to hit when your cart partner has finished hitting.  Or, if you have a legitimate need for a handicap flag, take the cart over to your shot while your cart partner is hitting.  Either way get to your shot and be ready to hit!
  5. Honestly, there is no need for more than 1 practice swing, maybe 2, unless you are faced with an extremely difficult shot or lie.  If you're not sure how you should be swinging the club, you should be at the practice tee and not on the golf course.
  6. When everyone has finished putting out, drive or walk to the next tee and record the scores while someone else in the group is teeing off.  Settle any doubts about scores at the next tee.  In any case, move away from the green so that the group behind you is free to hit.
  7. Pay attention to where you park your cart or leave your pull cart or bag.  Park your cart, pull cart or bag as close to where you will be exiting the green and heading to the next tee as possible.  Seconds spent leaving the green and running back to move the cart that someone left in front of the green add up.
  8. I'm sure we've all done this.  We wait for the green to clear ahead of us, even though we can't reach it (or even come close) because who knows, we might hit a career shot.  The green clears, we get ready to hit, we make a mighty swing and the ball goes 50 feet.  Ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, and no one wants to hit a shot that might land short of the green and “disturb” someone while they're putting.  Valid argument.  However, unless you are 100% sure that your shot is going to land within 80 – 90 yards of the green, don't wait to hit.  Most shots that land outside that range are not going to disturb anyone putting unless the ground is rock hard, and if the ball hits the ground 100 yards out and happens to roll up to the green, chances are it still won't bother anyone.  This is a situation where common sense dictates when you should hit.
  9. Don't stand around and wait until it is your turn to putt to walk over to your ball and study your line, unless you will be interfering with someone else or standing on someone else's line.  Remove loose impediments on your line of putt when someone else is doing it as well.  Stand behind you ball, plumb bob it, do whatever you need to do to study the line so that when it's your turn to putt you can step up and pull the trigger.
  10. If you are playing in a Better Ball competition and your partner has holed out and there is no way you can help your team gross or net, PICK UP!!  There are methods for figuring out how to calculate a score for a hole when you pick up so that you are able to post that score.  We won't go into that here; there is a nice section on the USGA website on how to adjust/post scores in these types of situations -
  11. See item #4 and its discussion.
  12. I have actually seen this happen!  When you make the turn, go ahead and use the rest room, but really, you don't need to do much else at this point – no one is going to see you except the people in your group and you're only going to do it again when you get done, so just wait until then.
  13. We certainly don't want anyone starving to death on the golf course, but if you absolutely must have that grilled chicken sandwich, use your cell phone and call the order in ahead of time – say on the 9th tee.  And if you don't have a cell phone, someone in your group probably does.  It shouldn't take any more than 5 – 10 minutes between putting the flagstick in on the 9th green and hitting the first tee shot on #10.  Again, there are always exceptions for emergencies but those should be few and far between.
  14. If someone has lost a ball, it is only common courtesy for everyone in the group to help look for it.  The quicker that ball is found, the quicker play can resume.  Okay, so you can't stand the person in your group who lost the ball, and you really don't want to help them out.  Look at it this way, the sooner the ball is found, the sooner play can resume and the quicker you will be done, thereby shortening the amount of time you have to spend with her!
  15. Save the jokes and the stories for the 19th hole.  If you can't finish it before it's time for someone to play a shot, just hold the thought.  We are here to play golf, with the emphasis on the word “play”, implying action.  Standing around talking and laughing is fine as long as the group ahead is still in the way and no one can hit.
  16. Self explanatory.
If every player in a group of 4 could shave 30 seconds off the time it takes her to play a hole, that would add up to 2 minutes saved per hole x 18 holes or 36 minutes per round!!!!!  
If you typically take 70 seconds to play every shot, you can shave those 30 seconds off in one fell swoop by playing that shot in 40 seconds or less!!!!!  And if you shaved 30 seconds off every shot on the hole – wow – the results could be mind boggling!


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