The Slowest Players

It seems to be an accepted fact on the golf course that women are intolerably slow players. When I was coaching girls high school golf, I was lectured regularly by the course supervisor about making sure that they play quickly.

But I have found a species of golfer far slower than the women: men playing for money.

These last couple of weeks marked the last rounds of the my club’s summer men’s championships — and the big money players were out in force. And play slowed to a crawl.

On every tee box, I watched players taking four, five, six practice swings. On fairways, they repeated the lunacy — sometimes with two different clubs, as they decided the first wasn’t going to do the job. On every green, players were plumb bobbing their putts.

Normally, I can get through a round in just over three hours — walking. Three and a half when things are busy. In the last weeks of summer, though, four became the norm.

The funniest thing about all this is that it doesn’t do anyone any good. Slowing down your normal pace of play doesn’t do anything but get you out of your rhythm. I have yet to see any of those super-serious plumb bobbers sink a putt of any distance.

I don’t play for money — can’t afford to lose it — but if I did, you can be darn sure I would stay in rhythm. My speedy pace of play would put the pressure on the plumb bobbers.

My club pro once told me that during a tournament, most players’ scores are ten to twelve strokes higher than their handicap.

It could be that in normal rounds, people are not playing by the rules and artifically lowering their handicap. But I don’t think so. I think its the change in pace of play.

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