The first rule of golf is to have fun! That's why we're on the course in the first place. A slow group in front of you takes a lot of fun out of the game, not only for you but for every group behind you. Recognize that your place on the golf course is directly behind the group in front of you, not directly in front of the group behind you. Your own slow play could not only cost you a 2 stoke penalty in our tournaments, but also result in the other members of your foursome receiving an undeserved penalty.
The following tips will not only help stamp out slow play, but you will find that these habits will improve your game and make it much more enjoyable.
- Be ready to hit by the time the group ahead moves out of the way. Keep moving and stay focused - start planning your next shot as soon as you see where the last one resides. Select your club while you wait for others to play.
- Read your putt while others are playing. Be ready when your turn arrives. If a fellow competitor needs extra time on or around the green, someone else should go ahead and putt while he or she gets ready.
- When you're sharing a cart, one player should walk to his or her ball and get ready while the other is playing. Take an extra club or two with you so you'll have the right club, especially if you're playing a cart paths only course.
- Line up your errant shots with a prominent landmark, to make finding your ball easier. Remember the 5-minute rule when searching for a lost ball. Hit a provisional if you think your ball is out-of-bounds or likely to be lost. Concentrate your search for a ball in bounds. A ball out-of-bounds is going to cost you a stoke-and-distance penalty anyway so consider it a sacrifice to the golf gods.
- Help your competitors keep up the pace. Memory may be the 2nd thing to go, but eyesight isn't far behind. Keep track of their errant shots too. Rake a trap for your competitor to give him or her some additional time to prepare for the next shot. Keep your eye out for left clubs. Golf is a game of courtesy.
- Park your cart between the green and the next tee. Make your trip to the next hole as short and quick as possible. Place extra clubs, towels, etc. next to the flagstick or on the exit side of the green while putting. This will keep you from forgetting them and make it easier to clear the green for the next group.
- When all else fails, play ready golf. Whoever is ready to hit should do so. Recognize honors on the tee, but don't let them slow you down.
If another member of your group is slow and causing you to fall behind tell the slow player(s) in your group "we are getting behind and we have to pick up the pace". If this does not catch the group up then faster players are welcome to play through their own group to get back in order. Any group that signs up as a foursome that does not make the 15 minute rule will receive a 2 stoke penalty per golfer and start at the back of the pack in the next tournament. If you are a "put-together" group you will get a little slack and get 20 minutes instead of 15 minutes and the slow players will start at the back of the pack in the next tournament.