The PGA Tour has an issue that has been brewing for a long time: a very slow pace of play. Some professional players are incredibly slow golfers in competitive rounds, which is understandable to an extent given that they are playing for millions of dollars. But for golfers like Brooks Koepka, slow play can be extremely frustrating to deal with. In fact, Koepka was vocal about slow players during the 2019 British Open that included him playing with J.B. Holmes, one of golf’s most notorious slow players. Koepka’s frustration caused him to walk off the green while Holmes was taking his time on a short putt and then later gestured at a PGA official that they needed to warn Holmes for the slow pace of play.
Unfortunately, slow pace of play doesn’t only haunt the PGA Tour, but also affects us common golfers on a weekly basis. The average pace of play for a normal round of golf is four hours, but surely we have all been exposed to those dreaded five to six hours rounds that seem to last forever. If you have never dreaded a slow pace of play, then maybe you are a slow player yourself. If so, no worries because this article is here to provide five tips for all players that will help improve the pace of play. Don’t make Koepka mad . . . keep your pace of play quick with these tips:
1. Be Prepared When It’s Your Turn to Hit
One of Koepka’s biggest gripes is how so many players on the PGA Tour wait until it’s their turn before they start preparing to hit. Instead, Koepka already has his yardage, club selection and glove on by the time it’s his turn to play. Be like Koepka and be ready to play when it’s your turn to hit.
2. Play Ready Golf
The most common rule of pace of play for most golf courses is that you must play “ready golf.” Ready golf means that whoever is ready to hit may make the next play. If you’re ready to hit your drive, then hit your drive first. If you are first to your ball in the fairway, don’t feel obligated to wait to hit while your playing partner is searching for their ball. Instead, hit first and then offer to help find their ball.
3. Three Minute Ball Search
On the topic of searching for a lost ball, the USGA recently amended the rules to allow only three minutes to search for a ball before deeming it lost. So please keep to this rule and give yourself approximately 3 minutes to find a ball before playing it as a lateral hazard and taking a drop.
4. Keep the Flag Stick In
Another rule change the USGA made this year was to allow the flag stick to remain in the cup while putting out without a penalty. This was designed specifically to help improve the pace of play. If putting with the flag stick doesn’t bother you, leave it in!
Be Generous with Gimme Putts
Unless you are playing in a prestigious tournament or for extreme pride, be generous with the short putts. Allow the rule before the round starts that the group will concede any putt within two or three feet. This tip can be a fun addition to a friendly game and can really help keep the pace of play moving in a steady fashion.
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