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Want to fix slow play?—slow down—and remember why you play golf in the first place.

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Mike Dowd is the author of the new novel COMING HOME and the Lessons from the Golf Guru: Wit, Wisdom, Mind-Tricks & Mysticism for Golf and Life series. He has been Head PGA Professional at Oakdale Golf & CC in Oakdale, California since 2001, and is serving his third term on the NCPGA Board of Directors and Chairs the Growth of the Game Committee. Mike has introduced thousands of people to the game and has coached players that have played golf collegiately at the University of Hawaii, San Francisco, U.C. Berkeley, U.C. Davis, University of the Pacific, C.S.U. Sacramento, C.S.U. Stanislaus, C.S.U. Chico, and Missouri Valley State, as men and women on the professional tours. Mike currently lives in Turlock, California with his wife and their two aspiring LPGA stars, where he serves on the Turlock Community Theatre Board, is the past Chairman of the Parks & Recreation Commission and is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Turlock. In his spare time (what's that?) he enjoys playing golf with his girls, writing, music, fishing and following the foibles of the Sacramento Kings, the San Francisco 49ers, the San Francisco Giants, and, of course, the PGA Tour. You can find Mike at mikedowdgolf.com.

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Dave r

    Sep 30, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    It all starts at the pro level just watched the Safeway open and fell asleep. Throwing up grass it hits caddie in face still can’t tell which way it’s blowing does this 3 times . Then the pro does it then they discuss the yardage and then the club selection then the wind changed and more talk now the moon has changed the effect of the ocean and it might not be blowing at the green so start again. No wonder it takes two people five hours to play.

  2. Jagged-S

    Sep 26, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    What is the most wasted time on the course? Looking for lost balls. No-one clocks the allowed 3 minutes and few play a provisional ball. Yes the new local rule, if adopted, helps a little but instead of yakking to your mates and fiddling with your bag, watch other players’ shots and try to fix the position.

  3. cory

    Sep 24, 2019 at 9:55 am

    If you think the pace of play for a 4 hour round is appropriate, you’re part of the problem.

    • kevin

      Sep 24, 2019 at 2:30 pm

      keep raking in those 4 and 1/2 foot gimmies….lol

  4. Matt Schulze

    Sep 23, 2019 at 9:44 pm

    Keeping a GHIN just to keep off the reds and whites seems excessive. I’m fully capable of shooting 80 from the tips of most courses in my area, but I think I’d be more likely to just stay in my garage with Skytrak than ever go to the course if the alternative was never hitting any longer than a 7i or 8i on a par 3.

    • 4h

      Sep 24, 2019 at 5:57 pm

      Matt, you’re not the guy anyone’s worried about. But the lack of a handicap is more interesting. Why not have one? What’s so bad about it?

  5. Under 4h

    Sep 23, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    There’s only one fix needed, and the rest of the world already does it. The US doesn’t need to implement Stableford, but a triple-bogey maximum score would be the single greatest fix to slow play.

    Par 4, not in within 6? Write down 7 and GTFO.

    If you have a real handicap and know your ESC, no problem. If you’re playing Stableford off your index, no problem. Players with that knowledge are less often a problem.

    Speaking of — No GHIN? Forward tees only.

    • JThunder

      Sep 24, 2019 at 1:43 pm

      If you think the majority of American golfers will pick their ball up at triple-bogey and walk off the hole, you’ve clearly never met an American in your life.

      “I paid good money for this round, and I’m going to get every penny’s worth. That’s my RIGHT! If you don’t like my pace of play, you can go play somewhere else!”

      • 4h

        Sep 24, 2019 at 6:01 pm

        Considering I am an American, living overseas, I’m fairly positive I’ve seen my share of d1ckheaded Americans getting their slow rounds on.

        You might still get those people, but if the scorecard itself has a “Max 7” on it, or whatever… the norms will change. It won’t be overnight, but if playing partners can tell *that guy* “you can’t score any higher; let’s go”, then you start getting pace going.

        Hell, they do it at putt-putts. Fairly certain this isn’t that hard. But everyone’s gotta play PGA style…

      • 4h

        Sep 24, 2019 at 11:56 pm

        As soon as you put on the card a max score, partners will make the point.

  6. JThunder

    Sep 23, 2019 at 6:15 pm

    A good point – on the one hand, you do have modern life’s expected pace creeping onto the golf course. The number of golfers talking on their cell phones – as if it couldn’t wait – is proof enough.

    On the other hand, you had a huge influx of new golfers in the Tiger era, many of whom never learned etiquette and pace… and the golf courses and OEMs were too busy raking in the cash to care.

    Courses around me regularly host 5-6 hour rounds, especially on weekends. There is only one root cause for this – not knowing how to keep pace. It starts with entire foursomes riding to each others’ golf balls and watching each others’ shots. It extends to ludicrous putting green behavior.

    Professional pace of play is party to blame. More to blame is the lack of instruction and rangers on the courses. On every first tee, rangers should be explaining – NICELY – how to play ready golf.

    Golf telecasts do not help – an inordinate amount of time is spent watching putts being lined up, players conversing with their caddies, etc. When there are 70+ playes on the course, a quicker pace of cutting to actual activity would be beneficial.

    I can’t help but wonder: those who complain about golf’s pace of play, how the hell do you watch football? Easily the worst ration of action:nothing in the world.

    • Pat S

      Sep 24, 2019 at 12:16 pm

      “There is only one root cause for this”
      This isn’t entirely true. There are many factors that come into poor pace of play and most of them are not actually controlled by the player. While I agree that players being educated on keeping pace can help… it won’t do any good if the course management sets players up to fail by packing players in at 7 or 8 minute intervals. Courses can be set up with shorter rough and properly marked penalty areas to reduce lost balls. Proper signage on difficult holes can reduce decision time for players.
      Rangers can be better educated on what proper group spacing looks like on their course (Proper spacing is different for each hole on each course). Picture this, you’re waiting on a group every shot for 4 holes. Now you have a par 3 followed by a long par 5. By the time you finish up the par 3 and go to tee off on the par 5, the group in front is already at the green. The range comes up and gives you the “your proper place is directly behind the group in front and you need to speed up”. You’ve been waiting on those guys all day but somehow you’re out of position. That’s not true on that hole and speeding you up will do nothing to speed up the round. You’ll just catch up to the group in front faster and wait on them longer. If the ranger knew the course spacing and the tee time intervals were set properly, he’d be able to determine which group was slowing play and help them move along.

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