What makes a round of golf enjoyable? Long drives? Clutch putts? 19th hole? Friendly competition? For many golfers, a quick and efficient round is paramount. I contacted Corey Burd, the Director of Golf at Bailey Ranch Golf in Owasso for an assist. He provided some essential tips to improve pace of play on the course. I followed his comments with my own comments in italics.
1. Play ready golf. Go ahead and begin preparation for your shot while waiting on others. Get your distance, select your club and make your practice swings before it's your turn. Don't wait until it's your turn to begin your pre-shot routine. I blame television and Sergio Garcia.
2. Take the necessary clubs. When walking a distance (where carts can't go) make sure to have the clubs you need. Anticipate different kinds of shots you might need to play and take extra clubs. This will save you from walking all the way back to the cart to retrieve the correct club. I actually practice this but notice many golfers do not. Solid advice.
3. Keep pace with the group in front of you. If you fall more than a hole behind, invite the other groups behind you to play through.
Don't just try to stay ahead of the group behind you. Keep up with the group in FRONT. This will help pull groups around the course faster. A faster round means less explaining to the family next time you want to get in 18.
4. Pay attention. Watch the other golfers in your group as they hit their golf ball. Watch the ball until it completely stops. Nothing slows down golf more than looking for lost golf balls. You'll speed up play and your partners will appreciate you helping them find that expensive ProV. I don't play golf in the fall when the leaves hit the ground. Colorblind + ball covered in leaves = maximum frustration. Plus, I have the attention span of a three year old.
5. Hit a provisional. If you believe your ball to be lost out of bounds or outside a water hazard, you can hit a provisional ball. This means you will not have to go back to the tee to hit another one in the event you don't find your first ball. Keep an extra ball in your pocket. Don't walk back to the cart for a provisional. Besides, you may like the second one better. I kid, I kid.
6. Putt it out. Most of us are just out for a leisurely round of golf. Footprints and spike marks are not the problems they used to be in the past due to soft spikes and firmer putting surfaces. Be courteous but try to finish off short putts when at all possible. Unless big money is riding on the putt. Otherwise a clubs length counts, right?
7. Speed up the turn. Most golf courses allow 10 minutes from the time you putt out on hole #9 until you are expected to tee off on number #10. Don't order items at the grill that you have to wait for. Grab something quick and get moving. Pack a sandwich.
8. Get off the phone and play. Cell phones are a necessity of business. If you must use the phone, pick up your ball and skip a shot or two. Your group and the players behind you will appreciate it. Now, how do I tactfully share this nugget of info with my father-in-law? He generally pays so what can I do?
9. Play the right tees. Don't be afraid to play a shorter set of tees. Most golfers would get more enjoyment if they wouldn't put so much pressure on their game. Don't let your ego get in the way. Playing longer sets of tees just cause your scores to rise and most times your temperature. I'd play the red tees if I wasn't afraid of my playing partners fitting me for a skirt.
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