Slow play - where is the real prob­lem?

Kiu Chee Khuen | Ta­man Bukit In­dah

Golf Digest (Malaysia) - - From The Gallery -

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?

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