Pay­ing by the hour for golf, and wav­ing the white flag

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Gallery -

There was a story on golfdi­ 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

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