British amateur golf is making a formal attempt to fight the scourge of slow play, which could point the way for the pros going forward.
Writing for The Scotsman, Martin Dempster indicates R&A Chief Martin Slumbers is continuing the organization’s advocacy for “ready golf,” which began with a paper last year. Slumbers and company have decided to formalize the practice of “hitting when you’re ready” rather than determining order of play by proximity to the hole at this year’s British Amateur Championship.
“Pace of play is something that we’ve been talking about extensively in the last 12 months,” Slumbers said at a media briefing in St Andrews. “The more evidence that I’ve seen this year, the more I’m going to continue talking about it because I think it is increasingly important to the development of the game.”
The 36-hole qualifier for the Championship at Royal St. George’s in June will be the first testing of the concept. And certainly, it’s not a stretch to think that if ready golf speeds up play substantially at this R&A event, it could make its way into others…like, say, The Open Championship.
Slumbers didn’t mince words in saying both the problem of and the solution to slow play exist at the professional level.
Talking about Tour pros, Slumbers said, “There is no doubt that younger generations take a steer from them. So I think I would just encourage the Tour pros to realize that pace of play is part of them being that role model, and it’s not helpful to growing the amateur game when the youngsters are slowing down.”
Also refreshing, Slumbers had no problem rightly identifying another dangerous bit of poor form from the pros: failing to yell “fore” on wayward drives.
“The safety of spectators is a key part of the etiquette of our game. I wouldn’t think twice about shouting “fore” if any ball was heading towards another player, and I think that’s a standard that should be adopted at all levels of the game…there’s something about the integrity and the values of of this game that is different to pretty much every other sport. I think the etiquette of the game is as important a matter as the individual 34 rules.”
Note: If you haven’t seen Pat Perez’s failure to yell “fore” (on multiple occasions) at the Genesis Open (which prompted the question to Slumbers) here’s one video.
Pat Perez just hit a guy square in the dome pic.twitter.com/E4YBxfaiBn
— Fore Play (@ForePlayPod) >