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Play Good…Play Fast…Play Bad…Play Faster!

The message in this blog’s title will be very familiar to those privileged to have played at the highly revered (and very exclusive) Seminole Golf Club in Florida. It is a message that should be placed on every 1st tee at every golf club around the world.The curse of the slow golfer. Every golf club has them (Seminole may be a rare exception) and everyone has a favourite golf story involving the gruelling, never-ending test of patience actually playing 18 holes in the company of one of these much reviled golfing “characters“.

This issue of painfully slow progress round a golf course is nothing new and occurs too often at all levels of this great game.

Social media channels are packed with images of some top pros going through their interminable pre-shot routines, lining up every putt from every conceivable angle and assessing all potential factors likely to influence the result of every shot.

Keegan Bradley takes an age to take a putt during the WGC-Match Play – and misses!

Painful to watch and absolutely no reason for this behaviour on any golf course. Can I suggest anyone guilty of such conduct should be required to view footage of the legendary champion Lee Trevino at his imperious best.
Brief discussion with caddie, club selected, set up, couple of waggles, ball on its way. Less than 10 secs start to finish.

Super Mex would almost certainly have arrived ready to play his next shot and Big Bryson would still be on page 56 of his air density charts.

As Scotland’s Golf Tourism industry starts to welcome back international golf visitors to the game’s spiritual home in 2022, many of our finest links will be dealing with heavily subscribed tee time booking sheets on virtually every day of the main playing season. This is when our clubs’ starters, course marshals and entire golf operations teams will really earn their stripes.

Maintaining that fine balance between ensuring each and every much valued client has the finest golf experience possible during their visit whilst simultaneously encouraging and monitoring the overall pace of play by all groups is a thankless task and would make a great training programme for the diplomatic corps.

”Your place on the course is behind the group in front, not in front of the group behind“

Fortunately the vast majority of amateur players appear to possess a well tuned inner stop watch. They walk briskly between shots, they play sensibly keeping their ball in good positions, they are ready to play when it is their turn to play, practice swings are kept to a minimum and putting is carried out with little fuss and without any unnecessary delay.

The very best company for a swift 18 will also have a solid understanding of the basic rules of golf and a keen sense of etiquette.

Admittedly there is a significant difference between a social or medal round at your local club compared with one of our great links layouts such as Carnoustie or Royal Dornoch on a blustery day, packed with groups of visitors; many of whom will be seeing these mighty cathedrals of golf for the first time. Inevitably many of those shiny new Titleist Pro V1s will go sadly off course resulting in numerous searches through brutal rough and the whins or sucked into one deep revetted bunker after another.

The sheer difficulty of these layouts can create havoc with the game of even the most talented of golfers. For medium to high handicappers it can easily turn what should be a special day into a gruelling test of physical and mental grit and determination.

For those visitors planning a first Scottish links tour it may well prove a shrewd move to ignore the temptation of the very toughest courses, save funds by selecting some high quality courses nearby and deploy the spare funds on high quality accommodation and possibly an extra visit to a local distillery or special restaurant.

In the process you support local golf clubs, enjoy faster rounds and a very warm welcome in the clubhouses afterwards.

 

 

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