|Ready ... aim ... "hit the ball, already!" Slow players are the bane of the golfing world. (Concept art by Radu Negrean/WorldGolf.com)|
Slow play is the pimple on the ass of golf. Everyone hates it, but they don't know how to get rid of it.
It's a good thing golfers aren't armed, as it would prove too tempting to pick off the guy in the group in front as he retrieves his fifth ball out of the pond. Murder, of course, is wrong, but it may be justifiable homicide, especially if the judge plays golf.
Worst case scenario: A Saturday round of golf on a Pete Dye course, cart path only, with Ben Crane's foursome in front of you and Rory Sabatini's group behind you. Then you'd probably just use the gun on yourself.
Speaking of Pete Dye, why do golf architects have to design courses so long and difficult? You end up with four average golfers trying to land a three-wood second shot on a green that calls for the ball to stop and back up. I've never heard of anyone backing up a ball with a three wood except for (note to non-golfers, the rest of this sentence is a golf insider's joke) Kevin Costner.
Here's how you can tell if you're a slow player:
1. You are new to the game. If so, then you are part of the problem. Pick up the damn ball! What's the difference between a 10 and a 14 on a par 4?
2. You're a woman. Okay, I apologize. Very politically incorrect. I'll redact. I meant to write: You're a womyn.
3. You are on the first tee wearing one of the following: blue jeans/tennis shoes/hot pants/Atlanta Braves ball cap, backwards.
4. You're older than me. All right, that's stereotyping and wrong. Some of the fastest players on my home course are octogenarians. Moreover, they finish their rounds in under four hours, consistently. However, when they drive home from the club, they are usually in front of me clocking 30 miles per hour with their turn signals on.
5. You own a ball retriever.
6. You give lessons to your spouse or child on the course.
7. You take mulligans - lots of them. Dammit, Jim, this is golf, not tennis! You don't get two chances to hit it in play.
8. You're on the PGA Tour.
As long as I brought that up, let's talk about slow play on the tour. You know the players are slow when you can flip channels, watch a Charmin commercial and check the weather before Jesper Parnevik lines up his putt. All tour players should use Angel Cabrera as their role model. The guy plays fast.
1. A shot clock: The tour already uses electronic signs on the holes, so just slap a clock on the screen. Players will have 24 seconds from the time the caddie hands them a club until the time they're required to hit the ball. On the green, the clock starts when they lift their ball marker. Penalty: One stroke for going over the allotted time.
2. Segways: These scooters would eliminate talkative caddies without damaging the fairways. Strap that big 'ol Callaway or Titleist bag to the side and scoot like crazy. You'd look cool and could park it close to the green without a little yellow flag attached.
3. Japanese caddie-sans: These no-nonsense women use motorized carts to haul your clubs and can only communicate with Jumbo Ozaki, so the Western pros would talk less and hit more.
The best advice I can give the average golfer is to just hit into the group in front of you to keep them moving. But only if they're smaller than you, and they're not packing guns.
June 8, 2009
John J. White is not a bad golfer. He just plays one on the course. When he is not golfing, he is an engineer and freelance writer. He has won several awards for his short stories, and has been published in literary magazines. He is currently working on his fourth novel, "Nisei," and lives in Merritt Island, Florida with his understanding wife, editor and typist, Pamela.
We all love golf course rankings, but there's quite a bias involved, huh? Host a major championship and you're basically guaranteed a spot on the list. What about the average duffer who's more impressed with the beer list than the slope/rating - or prefers friendliness over the fine, imported lotion in the locker room? Where's our list, hackers? Answer: Right here.
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