Tee It While We’re Young

One of the biggest issues currently in the game, anyone from the casual golfer to the touring pro will agree, is slow play. In the last couple years, the golfs various governing bodies have devised their own attempts at resolving the slow play issue. The PGA of America came up with “Tee It Forward”, the USGA with “While We’re Young”, and the PGATOUR with “Its Not Our Fault”. I recently had the ‘opportunity’ to play golf with a coworker (lets call him Jim) who, in a good month plays once, and if he kept accurate score would shoot 120 under the best of circumstances. This experience made me acutely aware of one thing…. The average golfer has no clue what they are doing.

Let me explain why I, as of this round, am completely against all “initiatives” taken by golf’s governing bodies.

1 – I can count on one hand how often Jim, in all of his 116* shots that day, actually saw where his ball finished. He could have teed off from the 150 markers, and the only way that would have sped up the round was the fact we have 4 fewer shots per hole to look for. I cannot imagine how long that round would have taken had it been him and 3 similarly skilled golfers in the same group. I was raised on a golf course, and the ability to watch and find golf balls was instilled in me at a very young age. Had I not been there, he’d have either lost close to 30 balls that day, or he’d STILL be playing that round, 4 days later.

2 – The inability for Jim to understand efficiency around the course, especially the greens, astounded me. Without getting too wordy, let me give the most ridiculous example of an event when I considered a sand wedge to my forehead may be a better option than golf with Jim. 5th hole, Jim had chipped onto the green, about 60 feet from the hole (after subsequent 5 minute ball searches in the right rough). Jim brought his wedge and putter, like any golfer should do. After putting his 60 footer about 20 feet short, Jim walked up to his ball (it was still his turn), marked it, and promptly walked back to his wedge, which was sitting 40 feet away on the green between himself and the cart, retrieved it, and took it back with him to his mark that was comfortably resting 20 feet from the hole. WTF?!?! THE WEDGE WOULD HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU ON YOUR RETURN TO THE CART!!!

3 – At least once per hole after a poor shot, Jim would magically pull a ball from his pocket, drop it from where the previous ball was played, and make another horrific attempt at a golf shots (after yet another excessively long and unnecessary pre-shot routine).

4 – For someone who was very liberal with not counting tops, whiffs, chunks, etc… the time spent over 2 foot putts was absolutely ridiculous.

5 – This next point has virtually nothing to do with slow play, but it confuses me to no end, and no matter how many ways I asked the question, I could never get an answer. Jim was driving the cart, and when he pulled up to the green, every time, he’d pull the cart off the path completely before he stopped. Why?!? Parking a cart on concrete doesn’t kill grass. Parking a cart on grass does. Forget the agronomy of the parking issue, I don’t expect most people to understand that…when I park my car I don’t look for the nearest grassy area, I leave it on the concrete, which was obviously designed for the parking of my car. The same goes with the cart!!

Conclusion:

At no point did Jim consider himself to be a slow golfer, and when asked “hypothetically” about ways he could speed his round up, he could make no recommendations. Nor had Jim ever heard of the “Tee It Forward” or “While We’re Young” campaigns. This round of golf, and my discussions with him, made me realize one very important thing….

The average golfer has no interaction with golf other than their 5 hour, once per month rounds. The USGA and PGA can have all the initiatives they want, but promoting them solely on golf broadcasts or in golf publications only reaches the people who already know they are slow and who want to improve. The average golfer doesn’t watch golf telecasts, doesn’t watch The Golf Channel, doesn’t subscribe to golf periodicals, they smuggle a 6pack of beer onto their local muni once a month and smack a ball around in a game that loosely resembles golf.

Do I have an answer to this dilemma? Maybe. Does it involve anything less than physical torture and removal from golf courses? Potentially. I haven’t thought through it enough to post my solutions…however, I would love to hear your ideas and solutions as it relates to the slow play problem. Is there a solution? What do you think?

Published by Levi on July 6th, 2013 tagged Don't get me started, Guest Bloggers, Levi Slings


24 Responses to “Tee It While We’re Young”

  1. Courtney Says:

    Great post, Levi. You are so spot on. They just don’t get it. I, unfortunately, have no suggestions. When these one a month players are in front of me, I just yell obscenities at them. Does t help them but makes me feel better ;-)

  2. Janis Says:

    I will echo the same frustrations. I have put some thought into it, but after reading your post realized I didn’t take into consideration your key point that many of the people who slow down the pace of play are ignorant of the promotions to increase the pace of play and indeed golf etiquette.

    As I now think about, those people referenced in your post don’t bother me as much, yes, they are an irritation, however in all reality they are only out there periodically. The ones who irritate me most are the ones who do read the mags and blogs, watch the golf channel, even go to the range and perhaps even take lessons. But their egos, much like Jim get the better of them.

    For example, most men, with the exception of a very few with low handicaps should be playing from the white tees, even more based on their playing ability should be playing from the forward red/silver tees. Ha, their egos wouldn’t allow them to play anything but the blue and god forbid championship tees. Most women, albeit there are a few who don’t, are usually playing from the appropriate tees. I’ve even seen a few play from the orange, junior tees. And there are many times I’ve seen them pick up their ball.

    Many score cards have a recommendation of what tees to play from based on your established handicap. Everyone should ask themselves, are they following that recommendation? I would venture that many people following this blog don’t even follow the recommendations, because most everyone feels they hit longer and straighter than they do.

    So….. Why not start with the people who know better. Check your ego, play from the correct tees…..put your own vanity in check. Then the Jim’s of the world may be able to follow suit, and not feel they have to keep up.

    Golf courses…. Put some more marshals out there to monitor the place of play. So what if they tell you they won’t be coming back. They will.

    Tee It Forward. Ya, move the effing tees forward. Physically move the blue tees to the white tees, and put the white tees with the red and mark the rest of the tee box as ground under repair. People can’t police themselves with the ideology of Tee it Forward, but there is a good chance they will follow where the tee box is marked, and a marshal on each box can guarantee it.

    While We’re Young, while cute, is a waste.

    PGA….needs to start fining their players. They need to get their egos under controls as well. What are they going to tell you, they aren’t going to play the tour anymore? Doubtful.

  3. Shawn Says:

    LOVE THIS POST!!!!! I think they are trying to go about it the wrong way. I get what they are trying to do but like you said the once a month golfer doesn’t watch golf or has any contact with the golf world so they have no idea what they are doing. Golf has always taken 5 hrs plus to play when the course is crowded and 3-1/2 to 4 hrs when its not.

    It starts with the golf course. I agree with Janis the Marshals need to…..Marshal, and the men stop worrying about what tee they are playing on because most golfers cant break 90 from the front tees. Also the tee times shouldn’t be so close together. The course needs to check to see how long it takes to play the 1st hole on average and then adjust. The more people your cram on the course the longer it will take. Just some thoughts don’t know if it would work.

  4. Golf News: Miura Expands Options for Left Handed Golfers + MORE « Golf The Moon Says:

    [...] Tee It While We’re Young- thegolfchick.com One of the biggest issues currently in the game, anyone from the casual golfer to the touring pro will agree, is slow play. In the last couple years, the golfs various governing bodies have devised their own attempts at resolving the slow play issue. The PGA of America came up with “Tee It Forward”, the [… [...]

  5. Matt Says:

    The best thing the PGA and the USGA can do to speed up play is to hand out more penalties for slow play. The pros themselves complain about 5.5 to 6 hour rounds, but they are the ones causing it. But the reality is that the PGA Tour doesn’t care if it takes 6 hours to play a round. The tour pros make a living playing golf and they will take whatever time they can.

    The PGA (the organization of local golf pros) do care because slow play hurts their revenues, and when local course get hurt, the USGA hurts. The USGA could create a rule that defines slow play and the penalties, and — like the ban on anchored putting coming in 2016 — ask the PGA Tour to honor it.

  6. Play Through | Tracey Knits Says:

    [...] just read this great blog article from The Golf Chick. I had to quote her because I couldn’t have said it better myself: The average golfer has no [...]

  7. Lee Says:

    Unfortunately these people’s attitude is the same for whatever they are doing in life and they are oblivious to everyone else around them and will never change. At my local course I play odd hours to get a quiet game in away from the normal tee off times. Works a treat most of the time. Lee

  8. Greg Norman Collection Says:

    I share the same sentiments so you’re not alone. He must have acquired the habit of slow play and just like you, I always find it irritating. Perhaps, no one tried to teach him some golf etiquette. One solution that I can think of right now is to do some tricks. If you see both players in a cart, you can drive the cart to the first ball. In that way, you are dropping off the first player with his preferred clubs. The second player will proceed to his ball and as he plays the first player will go to the cart after hitting his stroke.

  9. George Says:

    Golf has been a slow play since it began. Thus, the organization must do something about it to speed up the play.

  10. Dunning Golf Says:

    I find it funny that we all share the same thoughts about slow playing. I have encountered a lot of these arrogant slow players. They probably missed the so-called, “golf etiquette”. Anyway, the least thing I can do is to wait for them to disappear.

  11. bob ayers Says:

    the average golf score in our country is 100. The goal of the pga is to make golf more enjoyable for everyone. Golf Chick, I have not seen you playing golf on television lately, you are not that good. Playing golf with my friends and shooting a 95 is alot more fun than going to the weekday grind. if every public golf course required each golfer to score a 85, the course would not survive. You are a creep!!!!!

  12. Gayle Says:

    I feel your pain Kristen :) Slow play has almost made me give up the game. Instead I rant and rave about it on my blog.

    I think the Marshals could be a big part of the solution if they actually did their jobs and marshaled the course and players.

    There is a course in Minnesota called Deer Run Golf Club that will kick you off the course if you haven’t finished 9 holes in 2 hrs or less. I love it and wish I lived near there so I could play there.

    Anyway…great post. Always lots of fun reading your rants :)

    Gayle

  13. Cody Says:

    In Singapore, there is almost no slow play at all. Singapore is a small island, with a huge population, so all the golf courses are really crowded, even on weekdays.

    So, there is a rule here that only men or women with a handicap of 24 and 36 respectively can play at the golf courses. Anyone who can’t play that well has to continue practicing at the driving range until they get their swing right.

  14. Erik Allbright Says:

    I totally agree with everyone’s thoughts! I personally feel that people like that need to be put on a driving range for at least a month or two with someone who has played in the past before hitting the links. They might not like it, but it sure helps all of the other golfers with low handicaps from waiting ten minutes per shot. I personally don’t think it is much of the USGA or the PGA’s fault as it is the “hackers” neglecting to be mindful of others on the course.

    Great post! Nice to know it isn’t just around where I golf!

    Check out my blog sometime: http://getsomegolf.blogspot.com

    Erik Allbright

  15. Anthony Says:

    Remarkable things you posted in here. I think the slow play of golf is bearable if done in the right way.

    It was very practical and well-thought of; and I would love to hear more of those soon. Anyway, I’m going to subscribe to this site on a regular basis, so keep us up to date. All the very best!

  16. Rich Says:

    Well put-slow players are for the most part oblivious to the rules and etiquette of golf and puts a damper on what could be a great day of golf. Thanks for it saying it out loud.

  17. HCGT Says:

    Great post! I think the key is to train golfers from a young age to avoid slow play. The Hurricane Golf Tours do this very well, with a strict pace of play they enforce. That pace of play is enforced for its Junior Tour, College Tour, and Amateur Tour.

    http://www.hurricanetour.com

  18. Shu Arvilla Says:

    Obviously a poor quality player is annoying, bot not nearly as annoying as foursome with playing for money and taking forever to analyze each shot.

  19. Zoli Says:

    The one thing that irks me more than anything when it comes to slow play is when golfers have to read the greens from every angle imaginable. Not necessary. The wedge example would make me go crazy too!

  20. Golf Geek Says:

    I hate playing with slow players, even if they’re my friends. Unfortunately, you can’t really do much about it unless the course marshall forces the players to speed up. I don’t see this ever changing in the near future

  21. 19th Hole Blog Says:

    Great article, it’s an important issue.
    a round of golf shouldn’t take 4-5 hours, which unfortunately sometimes is the case during weekends in our club…

  22. Allen Says:

    Great Read! Slow Play has forced me to leave a course early on many occasions. With kids and a wife at home waiting for me to finish a 5 hour plus hour round of golf I have had to resort to playing 9 more often than not. I know there has been a lot of talk about speeding the play of the game as well as how to make the game more enjoyable even for those “weekend warrior” type golfers. I believe there needs to be some changes and do not have the answer on how to successfully do this. Check out our website, we have developed a product that has really sped up our game and overall makes the game more fun. I know, its nonconforming but we have sold to corporate golf outings, charity events and people that just want to enjoy the game at a respectable pace of play. They all love it and could pays for itself in one round.

  23. Rebbeca Says:

    Greetings! I’ve been reading your weblog for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a
    shout out from Kingwood Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the good job!

  24. Kevin at LazerDrive.com Says:

    Hello
    Thanks for the feedback we are trying to accomplish a few things with our product. We want to bring fun and confidence to the recreational golfer with there Tee shot all while helping them improve their swing. Our product also improves the speed of play by helping golfers get into the fairway way more often, instilling confidence and less lost ball hunting which helps all golfers enjoy a quicker round. Our product is great for friendly competitions, buddy’s weekends, golf outings charity events and business people who have to travel and host. LazerDrive truly does assist as well on the golf practice range with ball identification
    Thanks again LazerDrive

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