Slow play - where is the real problem?
Kiu Chee Khuen | Taman Bukit Indah
Dear Mr Editor,
“A FLIGHT OF 4 GOLFERS SHOULD FINISH 6 HOLES IN NOT MORE THAN 1 1/2 HOURS”, so read an old forgotten signboard at the tee box of Hole 6 of a golf course somewhere in Ulu Selangor.
This brings to mind the No. 1 complaint heard from amateur golfers in Malaysia SLOW PLAY.
And commonly, the majority associates slow play with senior citizens or ladies.
Now let’s get real. The rules of golf says that you have only five minutes to look for your ball and professional golfers are now timed at 40 seconds, to complete their shots from the time they address the ball.
That’s about the two direct rules regarding the pace of play required but Slow Play is addressed as an ETIQUETTE, whereby a golfer is always required to play at a reasonable pace and not to hold up the group behind.
So back to the senior citizens and ladies who do not hit the ball a mile away. They do play at a reasonable pace as they take less than 30 seconds to hit the ball a mere 100 meters. If you work out the math for a 400 meters long par 4, they take 120 seconds to reach the green in four shots, including walking and putting time, they often complete the hole in 10 minutes.
Hence, they don’t hold up the group behind.
The real problem of slow play lies in two areas, or should I say, is due to two bad etiquettes.
Firstly, an obsession about scores. Many golfers don’t realise that they spend a good two minutes on each hole to “record” their score, mulling loudly over the missed “birdie” or “eagle”, give instant teaching lessons to your fellow golfers or worst still - “arguing about golf rules”.
If you work out the mathematics, 36 minutes of unnecessary banter were wasted on a beautiful day on the course and probably raising the temperature and blood pressure of the group behind, and also your own group.
Secondly, not helping your fellow golfer to finish the hole. Small and little deeds like helping to stick the flag back after completion of play, or raking bunkers can save valuable time for everyone.
How do we solve slow play? By making it compulsory to hire caddies and using buggies instead of allowing golfers to walk?
Again a big no, as good etiquette is not derived from hiring caddies or using buggies.
Eradication of slow play comes from the golfers’ good heart and practise of good etiquette.
Don’t you think we owe it to ourselves to enjoy a round of golf without upsetting the poor souls playing behind?