I have always regarded Justin Rose as one of the most sensible, likeable and eloquent players in the game and his recent comments in his monthly column about slow play confirms this.
Justin talked about the theory that banning green books would not speed up play in the professional game because the problem is due to the sheer number of competitors that the tournament needs to move around the course. This strikes me as the obvious reason why the pace of play is so slow on any local course – the courses try to pack as many people onto the course as possible because they want to make as much money as possible. The problem is not perhaps as endemic on private courses but on municipal courses, which strikes me as a major problem.
I watched the starter on a public course near me send each fourball off as soon as the fairway was clear recently, despite the fact that he could see that another fourball was on the green and another was waiting on the second tee.
Furthermore, I played with my son at the turn of the year. On a nine-hole course, as we walked down the 7th fairway, we looked across to the 8th fairway and saw a fourball on the green, a fourball in the fairway, a fourball on the tee and another waiting next to the tee. Faced with taking another hour to play two holes, we decided to finish early.
In essence, it seems to me that if clubs restricted the number of players that they send out on the course, slow play will improve. However, the vogue appears to be to have 25 groups on the course at any one time, which doesn’t make any sense when there are only 18 holes out there! Simon Noakes, Shenfield