GottaGoGolf’s best pace-of-play tip will shorten your round by at least 20 minutes. I promise! And contrary to what many players think, it’s neither rude nor against the rules.
THE BOSS at our course asked if our women’s club could pick up the pace a little bit this year. Our rounds were getting longer, he noted, and our early-morning starts set the tone for the rest of the day.
Strategies were discussed, and after breakfast, a few of us braved a cold and windy afternoon to put some of them into play over 18 holes.
One simple tactic brought us into the clubhouse in 3 hours and 45 minutes. And I’m talking about a fivesome on the front with a foursome on the back, in tough conditions, with all of us pushing carts, none of us single-digit handicappers and only one of us breaking 90.
Here’s what moved us along: When two players had putted out, they headed for the next tee while the other two finished on the green.
Think about this for a moment. Instead of three players standing around while one player putts, two players are actually advancing the group and can tee off while the other two are on their way.
It’s not possible for four players to tee off at once anyway. So why do we usually all walk to the tee together? There is absolutely nothing in the current Rules of Golf that requires all players to remain on the green until the others have putted out. And the new Rules of Golf emphasize pace over that traditional etiquette where the player with the lowest score on a hole would tee off first on the next.
“In stroke play, players may play ‘ready golf’ in a safe and responsible way,” say the 2019 Rules.
It might seem rude at the dinner table for two people to leave early, especially if the bill hasn’t yet arrived. But in a golf foursome, isn’t it more polite to save precious time for one’s companions? Especially with such a simple, harmless strategy?
There were a couple of other things our group did around the green that might not fly currently in a USGA competition but are to be encouraged in a recreational round. In an informal yet natural way, we split into twos at each green, so that someone who was ready but not away would putt while the other tended the flagstick. And unless we were stressed out or walking on another player’s line, we continued to putt after a miss.
Last year, our fivesome/foursome would have felt pleased about finishing in under 4½ hours. We were shocked when we looked at the time and saw how many minutes we had shaved.
There’s only one problem: You can only go as fast as the group in front of you. So here’s one more tip: Print this out and carry a few copies.
And for more tips, see our Ultimate Guide to Playing Golf Faster. This one is right there in No. 7. Let me know if it works for you.