Slow play on the golf course is usually a habit that a golfer acquires over time, as he or she acquires bad habits. Or it's the result of the golfer never having been taught proper golf etiquette. This means a slow golfer can usually be "cured" of his malady. Of course, that golfer has to be aware that he's slow, and that's where buddies come into play.
But as we often take a look at other golfers on the course and notice the things they do to slow down play, so should we take a look at ourselves.
Before we run down a list of suggestions for speeding up play, it's important to note that many of these tips have nothing to do with rushing your play, but rather with simply being ready to play, and with using common sense and good etiquette on the course.
Here are some tips for speeding up slow play on the golf course:
• Choose the correct set of tees from which to play.
• Members of a group should not travel as a pack, with all members walking together to the first ball, then the second, and so on. Each member of the group should walk directly to his own ball.
• When two players are riding in a cart, drive the cart to the first ball and drop off the first player with his choice of clubs. The second player should proceed in the cart to his ball.
After the first player hits his stroke, he should begin walking toward the cart as the second golfer is playing.
• Use the time you spend getting to your ball to think about the next shot - the yardage, the club selection. When you reach your ball you'll need less time to figure out the shot.
• If you are unsure whether your ball has come to rest out of bounds, or may be lost, immediately hit a provisional ball so that you won't have to return to the spot to replay the shot.
If you are playing a recreational match with, shall we say, a "loose interpretation" of the rules, then simply drop a new ball somewhere around the area where your ball was lost and keep playing (taking a penalty, of course).
• Begin reading the green and lining up putts as soon as you reach the green. Don't wait until it's your turn to putt to start the process of reading the green. Do it as soon as you reach the green so that when it's your turn you can step right up and putt.
• Never delay making a stroke because you're having a conversation with a playing partner. Put the conversation on hold, make your stroke, then pick up the conversation again.
• If using a cart on a cart-path-only day, take more than one club with you when you walk from the cart to your ball. Getting to the ball only to find out you don't have the right club is a huge time-waster on the golf course.