The Great Tee-Time Debates

My regular golf league is changing its starting time next week. Again. We’re going back to an 8:30 AM shotgun start after an experiment with a starting time window of 8:30 – 10:00, where players could show up at anytime during that window and everyone would tee off on number one. As might be expected, this attempt to make everyone happy didn’t work as well as hoped, so it’s back to the early shotgun start.

We have some players who have a “the earlier the better” mindset. They prefer to finish the round with plenty of time left in the day to do other things, even if those other things are getting in some more golf. They also like an early time because you tee off ahead of the heat of the day, and it can get pretty hot here in central Texas.

Others are of the “I don’t like to hurry to play golf; I get enough of that already” persuasion. They say starting at 9:30 or later makes for a nice, civilized morning, no hurrying required. And they ask “what’s the big thing you have to go do after golf, anyway?”

But the flexible start time took away from the camaraderie of the league. You had no real idea if there was a large or small group on any given day, and you didn’t get to mix and mingle as everyone waited for the hole assignments for the shotgun start. People had more trouble getting playing partners, and new folks had more trouble finding a place in the system. It’s not too hard to find a place to play golf, but finding a congenial group you like to play with can be tough.

Personally, I like the early time. It’s not that I have such important things to do, but starting too late cuts the heart out of the day. It can be tough to do anything before or after the round.

But I was really missing the time before the round, when everyone was milling about and you could connect with a lot of folks, even if only for a minute or two. I usually played with the same group of guys, but there was something about the large crowd at the beginning that added to the experience.

I used to complain about the shotgun start forcing me to start the round on tough holes. But after always starting on number 1 I’ve discovered that my scores are pretty much the same either way. So that’s one excuse down the tubes.

I guess I’ll be reduced to griping about feeling hurried to get to the early tee time and having trouble finding my tempo. That’s always a good one. And there’s frequently dew on the grass. And the sun can be in your eyes on those holes that run to the east.

I’m sure I can think of a few more excuses when I have a bad round. But a good round? That’s all me, bro. All me.

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