Categorized | 2013, August 2013, Featured, News

Slow Play

By: Wandy Wauran

Slow Play GolfMost of weekend golfers in Jakarta have played a fivehour round of golf at one time or another. Not very fun, is it? You are waiting 5-10 minutes before every shot, the sun is scorching your skin and most importantly, you are playing not so well at that moment. Most weekend golf rounds around Jakarta will take AT LEAST five hours for 18 holes. Why five hours when a round of golf for a foursome should not take longer than three hours and 50 minutes (see R & A policy and guidelines)?

HERE ARE THE REASONS:

The main reason of slow play is that amateurs emulate the professionals. They see how the pros go back and forth on the putting green and think that will work on their own game. They also see how the pros take their time when picking a club to hit. In a nutshell, amateurs are directly influenced by the professionals, as far as slow play is concerned.

Jack Nicklaus recently made this interesting assessment on slow play on the professional tours: “The main culprit in slow play to me is the golf ball and the distance the golf ball goes. Golf, it used to take three hours, three and a half hours. British Open, you used to play the last round in three hours or less. Today they take close to five hours.”

He meant that the longer balls today are the main factor for longer golf courses. 500-yard par 4s are becoming the norm today on tour. Longer can mean more strokes, which means more time. Mr. Nicklaus has some really valid points. His statement also proves that there is a slow play issue out on tour. There have been two players penalized for slow play on two Majors this year: Guan at the Masters and Matsuyama at the British Open. Is it a bit strange that they penalized two Asian golfers? I guess they are trying to use these players as an example that the tour has no tolerance for slow play. In any rate, the professionals need to resolve the slow play issue. Once accomplished, there will be a trickle down effect to the amateurs.

Another reason for slow play that is closer to home is that golf courses in Jakarta do not have a reservation system in place. They will tell you they do, but they don’t. Trust me on this. On the weekend, the golf course will not be able to accommodate the demand for tee times. There should not be more than 30 morning tee times booked on any given 18-hole golf course. Any more than that will be like Jakarta traffic on Sudirman. Unfortunately the only real solution to this problem will mean less revenue to the golf course. John Wooden once said, “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” The economics of golf course tee times are out of our control, but playing faster is very much in our control. The issue above pertains to weekend golf. Weekday golf, in general, should not have issues of five-hour rounds of golf.

No Slow Play!HERE ARE SOME TIPS ON HOW WE CAN PLAY FASTER:

Play from the correct tees. Most golfers let their ego get the best of them. If your drives do not go longer than 200 meters, please tee off from the white. Even if you are a single handicap, do not think you can play from the black (championship) tees. Most of you do not hit the ball as far as the Pros.

Be ready. Do not wait until your playing partners have hit their drive then get your club and put on your glove. On the green, even when it is not your turn to putt, read your putt and go through your routine while your playing partner is putting.

Play ready golf on the tee. Do not worry about who has the honour before teeing off. If there is a shorter hitter in your group, let him hit first since he will not reach the group ahead.

Keep up with the group in front of you. Do not fall behind the group ahead of you. If you lose sight of them, you are probably holding up play.

The key here is to have good common sense; if you know you are hitting your 8th shot on the hole and you are not on the green yet, please pick up your ball. Another key is to have golf etiquette: for example please do not take too long on your cellular phone. Please give these tips a try next time you play on the weekends. I guarantee you will have more fun, perhaps even play better. You will also make it to your meeting without driving like Schumacher.

About Wandy Wauran

Wandy Wauran is a part time golfer, full time golf enthusiast, owner of Big Fish Golf Indonesia and Performance Clubfitting. You can get in touch with him by email: wandy@bfgindonesia.com

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