If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em

This is a terrible confession to make, I know. But I started to play golf a bit slower the other day. Why?

I can’t explain that – maybe it’s because I’m getting old. But I’ll admit I have become a little tired of letting other slow players get to me.

Slow Play Tired of slow play?

I play with a group of guys who are, quite simply, no-nonsense, some would even say quick players.

They walk to their ball, and they hit it. Simple as that. If you’re ‘away’ and you’re not ready, it doesn’t matter, because they won’t wait for you – they hit.

But the other day I played in a nine-hole competition at a western Sydney course [not mine] that was simply too slow for words. It took nearly three hours to play nine holes.

Now I have no problem with people who are, for want of a better word, struggling, to get around the course.

Let’s face it, we all have our “off” days. I sure do. But the real reason people take this long for nine holes is simple – because they can.

And if everybody is happy – and most of the time they are, well nothing is going to change.

I have played with some slow golfers in my time too – and most of them are charming company.

Indeed I actually become quite oblivious to their go-slow antics after a while. But for a long time that wasn’t the case.

I found I was rushing my own shots and it was affecting my golf.

I’m not the type to ‘carry on’ and lecture my partners about slow play. In my opinion, that’s their business.

But I found I was inadvertently trying to play quicker myself to make up for them being so slow.

And if you are the low marker in the group, there’s no two ways about it – it’s your responsibility to keep the show moving.

It’s true that the whole day can be ruined – for everyone – if there is a slow player out there in an early group and he falls a couple of holes behind the group in front of him.

I remember years ago there was an old guy at one northern Sydney club, I think it was North Ryde, from memory, who used to sit out in his cart and give you a hurry-up, if he thought you might be “lagging” a bit.

At another course, Northbridge, you have to clock in when you finish.

“Watch these guys tear up the last hole and leave us behind,” lamented one member to me recently.

“They drag their heels all day and then do a bolt up the last. I gives me the pip.” [that wasn't really the word Billy used]‘

And that’s club’s effort probably doesn’t make that much difference in the long run – but at least these clubs are trying something.

Maybe we need a clock after every second hole. I know what you’re all thinking – how selfish is this guy?

Well, it’s not really me who is the selfish one. It’s the guys who want their money’s worth and refuse to play a few steps quicker.

You know, the guys that park their cart or buggy in front of the green and then wander back to get it while you are waiting to hit after they have finally finished the hole.

The guy that ‘plumb bobs’ every putt – even the one-metre ones.

Or the guy who you watch ‘smash’ it 140 metres off the tee but then stands around and waits 10 minutes until the green 280 metres away is clear so that he can hit.

Don’t worry folks, I’m not letting them get to me. I’m just going to play a bit slower myself.