Paying by the hour for golf, and waving the white flag
There was a story on golfdigest.com about a Missouri golf club taking an innovative stance against slow play by charging golfers for the time they spent on the course ($10 an hour), rather than a flat green fee. If they play slowly, they pay more. Also, you can play for an hour and leave the course.
My take on slow play is that it mostly happens when fourballs with higher handicaps are placed in front of golfers with lower handicaps. And if the higher handicaps are slow, they sometimes get the lower handicaps hitting drives into them. A high handicap has the same privileges as the lower handicap to enjoy the round. For new golfers, it’s no fun starting a sport, and having seasoned guys hit balls into your fourball.
Lower handicaps will always wait behind a fourball of higher handicaps, irrespective of how fast they play. They will often wait to play their second shots on par 5s, for the green to clear, so this also slows down the game. My solution is that golf clubs should reserve certain times for certain handicaps. Low handicaps, for example, can tee off early morning and early afternoon, and high handicaps later.
Then there is the issue of faster fourballs playing through a slower fourball. The problem lies in the awkwardness of asking to play through. Can clubs not implement a system where they hand each fourball a white flag? As soon as you wave this to the fourball in front, they can see you are willing to pass. In return they wave their flag back to show they are happy with this.
Lastly, I have never in my life played social golf with anyone who timed their search for a lost ball. One or two minutes saved here per hole can make a huge difference. Heinrich du Preez, Pretoria