Slow play has been a hot topic in golf for as long as I can remember, but Morgan Pressel’s penalty and Kevin Na’s hesitations over the ball have reawakened the debate. I’m sure we can all agree on a few things, like 6 hour rounds are too long and some amateurs spend way too much time calculating all the variables in a shot before hitting a hosel rocket out of bounds, but I hope we don’t get so focused on speed of play that we forget that the game is supposed to be a form of relaxation for most of us.
I hear some people say things like “There’s no reason a round of golf should take more than 3 hours,” and I see marshals hassling foursomes that are playing well within the allotted time because there’s an open hole between them and a twosome on an otherwise empty part of the course. Talk about “growing the game” is all the rage these days, but I know few things that will chase new players away quicker than constantly feeling hurried and bird-dogged around a course. Topping that first drive in front of a crowd is bad enough, but the newbie should get a chance to escape the audience after getting off the first tee.
I’ve played 3 hour rounds, and they were nice. They were also on nearly empty courses and I was playing alone. I enjoyed the rounds, but I bet the golf course management would have liked a few more people out there slowing my round down.
My ideal round of golf is one where I get to play at my own pace, with no waiting. An empty course is nice. Of course, I also like no time to be wasted hunting for balls in the rough or hitting provisionals in case I didn’t get a lucky bounce off that guy’s house to the left of number 3. And a temperature around 70 degrees, with no more than a light breeze is good, too.
“And the rain must never fall till after sundown. By eight, the morning fog must disappear.” Oh yeah, that’s Camelot.
It’d be nice if every round of golf was perfect. But sometimes, you may have to wait on someone.
And it’s more fun to play with friends, even if they sometimes slow you down.