Slow Play !

Ah, slow play – the curse of virtually every course the length and breadth of the entire country! No topic is more widely discussed in clubhouses every week, so what can WE do about it at Rickmansworth?

As a Club, we have 2 responsibilities; to our fellow RGC members and to the general public who we share the playing of Rickmansworth Golf Course, week in week out. It is not fair to anyone to unduly delay play and spoil the enjoyment of others. Medal competitions are the most common culprits where ‘every shot counts’, but I’m sure we can all speed up a touch to get the most from our golf.

Some pointers to remember when playing…

  • Play a ‘provisional’ ball if you think there is danger that your first ball maybe lost or not easily found. It’s a lot quicker to play a second ball from the tee than walk all the way back! Remember to always announce the brand name and number of your provisional ball to the others in your group, as if you don’t then it automatically becomes the ball in play (see rule 10-3 and rule 27).
  • Look for your own ball before heading over to help others (where practicable).
  • Keep an eye on the time when you start your search – remember you have a maximum of 3 minutes to search for it. The 3 minutes starts from when the player (not anyone else in the group) arrives at the approximate location of where the ball is likely to be. If the ball is not found within 3 minutes it is deemed officially lost, even if it’s then found after the 3 minutes, so you must play your provisional ball (or go back to where you previously played your last shot).
  • Leave your bag or trolley near the exit to the green
  • Mark your scorecard on the next tee, or if you’re first to tee off, then play your tee shot then mark the card.
  • If your group has lost a long way on the group ahead or even an entire hole, allow the group behind to play through. There’s no shame in this and it benefits everyone. The group behind will certainly appreciate it! FACT: we all lose balls from time to time even good players(!), and in some cases maybe 2 or 3 players lose balls on the same hole, so unavoidable delays do occur!
  • Putting can be a major cause of slow play, sometimes it is unavoidable – but on many occasions, it can be sped up. The first person to reach the green can announce the order of play, especially if 2 balls are a similar distance from the hole. Try to hole out as much as possible and avoid marking, unless you think you’ll be standing on someone else’s line. Unnecessary marking wastes time. If you do need to mark, then stand way back out of the way of other player’s eye lines.

It must be said, that as well as slow play spoiling the enjoyment of a round of golf, fast play can be equally un-enjoyable for co-players and the groups in front and behind. Let’s face it, most of us get to play golf just once or maybe twice a week – we play for the enjoyment of being out on the course with our friends. There is no need to be racing around as that does not actually help YOUR game, especially as you play your best golf when you’re relaxed  – as the great golfer Walter Hagen once commented; “Don’t hurry, don’t worry, you’re only here for a short visit, so be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” Well we don’t have too many flowers along the way at Rickmansworth, but we do have a lovely course to enjoy.

Happy golfing!