July 29th, 2010 by Kristofer Anderson
All too often courses are backed up because of one or two groups creating a log jam. Etiquette has certainly taken a hit on the course over the past decade and only appears to be getting worse. Slow play is the biggest enemy of any golf course and it is something that can easily be prevented.
When amateurs watch golf on television they see professionals taking forever to play a shot. There are many reasons for this. First of all they are playing for millions of dollars and every stroke can make a huge difference. Second of all, it is guaranteed to take five to six hours for them to play. With the cameras, waiting on rulings, and crowds, the players have learned to take their time on every shot rather than wait time after time. If at any time they are distracted they will start their pre-shot routine all over again. The most important factor is skill level. When a person has the ability to control a shot within a yard or two it take more time to determine which club to hit, how hard to swing, and what shot shape to select. All of these factors lead to slow play on the PGA Tour. The problem is the amateurs that see this and believe that following their example will improve their game, which unfortunately is not true.
For the average golfer the truth is that taking too much time is detrimental to their game. It is far more important to have a solid and consistent pre-shot routine that is expedient. By repeating this routine before every shot you will increase your chances for a successful shot. Walking around a putt unnecessarily will only make most golfers unsure about their initial reaction to the circumstances. There is nothing wrong with preparing for a shot, unless it is taking so long it begins to negatively impact your ability to play.
The appropriate fix for slow play begins on the range. Develop a short pre-shot routine, something that takes around 15 to 20 seconds. This can consist of anything that signals your mind to think about the swing. It is all up to you, just stay consistent. Next time you are on the course concentrate on keeping this routine consistent throughout the round. Be prepared when it is your turn to play and start your routine. You will be surprised how much your play can improve and speed up.