BEST WAYS TO SPEED UP PLAY
Regarding the proposed changes to the Rules of Golf (April editorial), I suggest the following.
1 Limit potential rule changes to the usual necessary refinements. Consider the following amendments: (a) Permit repairing spike marks. A large percentage of players do this anyway! (b) Amend out of bounds penalty to NO penalty stroke, only count actual strokes played. This was suggested by Tim Finchem during a retirement interview (February), using the logic that a ball played into a water hazard lining a hole would be dropped under penalty of one stroke, hence would be lying two, not three.
2 Simple ways of improving pace of play without rushing (or jogging). (a) On the tee. Replace head cover and put club in bag while partners are playing their shots. All players should be ready to walk as soon as the last person has played. (b) Don’t religiously prefer your lie, local rule permitting, when it’s not necessary. Most clubs unfortunately permit temporary preferred lies, or permanently when not justified (often purely to pacify members), a practice of which the R&A is critical. (c) Refrain from holding conversations when a fellow player is about to play. (d) On the green, line up your putt and repair pitch marks while waiting for your turn (without disturbing others).
All the above can save half an hour (or more) over 18 holes. Bill Colston, Port Elizabeth