| Pace of Play

HK Golfer - - Contents - By Dr Brian Choa

HKGA’s Chair­man of Rules sug­gests read­ers of some ways to im­prove pace of play in golf.

Hav­ing of­fi­ci­ated in a re­cent pro­fes­sional tour­na­ment where the pace of play with some groups was ap­palling, Dr Brian Choa, HKGA’s Chair­man of Rules, re­minds read­ers of some ways to avoid this. One of the main themes of the new (2019) Rules of Golf is to im­prove pace of play in golf. The new changes will in­clude re­duc­ing the time al­lowed for a ball search from five min­utes to three, en­cour­ag­ing ready golf when­ever nec­es­sary and more dra­co­nian penal­ties for of­fend­ers.

The usual ad­vice to move smartly be­tween shots, be ready to play and to be sit­u­a­tion­ally aware, that is to say, to be aware of your group’s po­si­tion in re­la­tion to the group in front, are points that ap­ply to all golfers.

How­ever, three prob­lems are mainly seen among elite play­ers, both pro­fes­sional and am­a­teur. Of­ten the slow­est play­ers are among the best golfers, de­spite their tak­ing far fewer shots dur­ing a round.

The first is poor co-op­er­a­tion within the group. Far too of­ten we see pro­fes­sion­als, par­tic­u­larly, stand­ing around do­ing noth­ing un­til another player has com­pleted his/ her stroke. For ex­am­ple, player A takes 50 sec­onds (the max­i­mum al­lowed for the first to putt) to as­sess and ex­e­cute a putt. Play­ers B and C should, at the same time, be start­ing to as­sess theirs as far as pos­si­ble with­out af­fect­ing A. When it is their turn to play, they can com­plete the rest of their prepa­ra­tion. This way, B and C can usu­ally ex­e­cute their putts in around 20 sec­onds. Fail­ure to do this for putts and fair­way shots can eas­ily add up to 2 min­utes to the play of each hole, which means adding 36 min­utes to a round.

The sec­ond fault I call in­for­ma­tion over­load. Good play­ers of­ten want ex­ces­sively pre­cise in­for­ma­tion, es­pe­cially on putts, that they can­not re­ally use. For putts of 12 feet and above, we know that even putting ma­chines can­not hole out 100% of the time. Spending an ex­ces­sive amount of time read­ing putts not only slows play but prob­a­bly takes away feel for the shot. Ob­serve the way play­ers like Tom Wat­son, Rory McIl­roy, Brandt Snedeker and other top put­ters go about their busi­ness. They are not slow, and they do not over­load their brains with un­nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion.

The third fault is tak­ing too much time over rou­tine shots, such as a tee shot on a par-4 or par-5 holes. If you use your max­i­mum al­lot­ted time for a rou­tine shot, then any ex­tra time taken over a dif­fi­cult shot will im­me­di­ately put you over your pre­scribed pace of play.

What play­ers should aim to do is to work on tak­ing just 10 sec­onds off each shot. Mul­ti­ply this by 72 as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive score for a round and mul­ti­ply by three again for a three-ball, and 36 min­utes will be taken off a round with­out the player hav­ing to rush any­thing.

Dr Brian Choa, HKGA’s Chair­man of Rules

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Hong Kong

© PressReader. All rights reserved.