Slow Play: Will It Ever Get Better

Will slow play ever get better on the pro and amateur level? We dive into our first roundtable discussion on the topic, joined by Paul Kruger of the PGA and Dan Mann from MyGolfSpy.

The 20 new rule changes were to specifically help in speeding up your round of golf. We asked if this was aimed at the PGA Tour (specifically) or was it geared more towards amateurs. If a tour pro has a caddie to tend a flag, does it really speed up their pace of play? If an amateur can ‘zap’ a flag stick while the group in front putts out, will it speed up play?

We look at how controversy has been swirling around the confusion of these new rules. Who’s confused? I know that some of the pros are and so are some of the commentators calling the action from the booth!

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13 Responses to Slow Play: Will It Ever Get Better

  1. Rick Smialek February 26, 2019 at 9:12 am #

    I am really tired of hearing the repeated hand wringing and concern over slow play .IF the USGA and PGA wanted to really stop it that could happen tomorrow. My suggest is multi-fold. 1) PEER PRESSURE- measure the problem and post weekly standings or best to worst- stats like are posted for distance, accuracy ,GIR, etc etc for times- total round times then break down average time to tee, second shot, and putts. THis can be done using the volunteers who already exist at events and the electronics that are forwarded to a command station for real time scoring. Add real time timing. THe next event players are positioned in field by their times-if you’re slow you play later. THe central station can communicate a group time to the next tee box immediately and if group lagging can advise them. If still lagging on the next hole then they are warned. This is instead of waiting till they are two holes behind to begin the process. 2) DISTANCE measuring devices to stop this endless back and forth between player and caddie doing hand math to get a flag, bunker, tree water etc. ZAP its done. 3) Graduated penalty from a hefty dollar fine for first, then stroke for second, then two strokes for third which costs them money and Fed Ex points. THe Euro’s showed success in the one and only event last year what timing can do and only two penalities assessed and all the players loved the pace of play.

    • Quite The Chap February 28, 2019 at 7:07 pm #

      Hey Rick, Dan and I had a long conversation about this exact thing…couldn’t agree more. We both found it funny that you get penalized if you now drop the ball from shoulder height (a specific rule) but you don’t get penalized for taking 90 seconds to play your shot (the specific rule is 40 seconds). The philosophy seems to be — ‘we’ll penalize you for this but not this’.

      • Don Loughney March 4, 2019 at 4:36 pm #

        Sorry, quite the chap but there is no 40 rule. Rule 5 recommends that you play in 40 seconds but then requires the committee to set the pace of play policy and penalties. Maybe you should ask the pga tour why they do not have nor enforce a pace of play policy. Also, if you would to drop your ball the pre 1984 way – ie behind your back, you would have received a penalty for that method from 1984 through the present. You get penalites for rule violations not suggestions.

        • Quite The Chap March 13, 2019 at 4:36 pm #

          You are absolutely correct, Don. It states the play SHOULD play in 40 seconds.

  2. jdshwing March 3, 2019 at 6:58 am #

    I don’t understand the confusion regarding Ricky’s ball rolling into the hazard – once placed the ball is in play – done. Ricky should have placed it deeper in the grass, he choose to place it lightly, making it easier to chip, but then it rolled away – sorry Charlie. That has always been the rule. Golf is like baseball that way, the ball is in play sometimes, and not in play other times. But it is in play. We are not at the range hitting balls and then adding up the shots to make our score, we are playing a game of 18 holes, and each hole puts the ball in play – play it where it lies, move it with your golf stroke, otherwise you get penalized. Pretty simple – lots of drama over nothing really.

    • RC March 3, 2019 at 10:47 pm #

      gee I never knew the ball was in play! LOL “don’t count that”, “winter rules”, foot wedge. People can talk about faster play when they can do this. I have played 18 holes on a 6800 yard course with another golfer in less than 2 hours. I shot 78 and EVERY putt was holed. My playing partner did not play every hole because she was not feeling that well from pain. We were trying to beat the coming T-storm!

  3. Tom E Missler March 3, 2019 at 9:03 am #

    protect the field is one of the continual justifications used by officials when they make a ruling that appears unfair.

    if 40 seconds is the rule, why are they not protecting the entire field. only the slow players benefit not the entire field

  4. gary March 3, 2019 at 12:13 pm #

    Very Simple: Two options:
    1- Make all the slow players tee off at least one hour before the “regular” times start. If they get caught by the
    regular field then they step aside untll every group has played through and then they can resume their play.
    2- 1st offense 10k fine.
    2nd offense 25k ontop of the 10
    3rd offense disqualified. Not able to play in next event.
    You have to make the punishment severe enough to get their attention and then enforce it. It is just like traffic
    tickets…..They want the revenue…. they don’t want to stop the problem….ie cell phones : 10k fine – loss of license – tow the vehicle on the spot – 30days – no plea bargains…..this woud stop the problem

  5. Don Loughney March 4, 2019 at 6:51 am #

    Lets look at in a different way. Golf is like basketball. Basketball has a set of rules that are used in organized play like high school, college, pro, etc. but the majority of play is in playgrounds etc that do not play by all the rules, like foul shots. People enjoy basketball and also enjoy watching the game. Remember, the majority of golfers do not have handicaps so those golfers can do whatever they agree to do to enjoy the game like breakfast ball, winter rules in fairway, etc. They are basically playing playground golf. Those that play serious golf and have handicaps for competition need to follow the rules. Again, less than 20% of golfers. Finally, the pros are embarrassing. There was a period that they could have been envolved in development of those rules but they paid no attention. Now they complain. Sound like the people that did not vote in 2016 complaining about who was elected. One more point, don’t blame the USGA for slow play on the PGA tour. That is the competition committee responsibility and they basically have no guts to do what is right.

  6. painter33 March 4, 2019 at 10:50 am #

    Wanna speed up play on Tour? Ban all measuring tools/devices/charts/yardage books. No caddies on the course before and after play. Amateurs do this all of the time. Just play the course and the hole in front of you; gauge distances, wind, and “trouble” in a timely way without calling a board meeting to determine if it’s 143 or 144 yards to the pin. See it then hit it. If they can’t do that, they can find a club position somewhere and talk wistfully about the “what ifs” and ”if onlys” in their miserable lives. What’s next? Designated shot makers? Can’t get it close enough from the sand, we’ll just get “Sand-shot Bob” to hit it for them… Slow play is death!

    • Quite The Chap March 13, 2019 at 4:37 pm #

      I would love to see the pros go out with nothing but their clubs. No caddies, no yardage books- just them and their tools. It would be an interesting perspective.

      • Bruce B March 31, 2019 at 12:26 pm #

        I totally agree. The pros are supposed to know how to read greens. The books they have are ridiculous.

  7. Las Vegas Duffer March 9, 2019 at 3:23 am #

    I know you are talking about tournament slow play but how about weekender’s slow play?
    I see on my favorite course all too often players playing off the black and they should be playing off the red or white tees on the tee box. I think the idea of which tee to tee off from is not a well understood idea among golfers of all ages. Can you do a presentation on this for us?
    My game has become more enjoyable and exciting once I learned that I should play off a certain color tee on the tee box. I might get a little guff from my partners but I tell them; golf is not the long game it is the short game where I beat you fellow all the time. So you can pound one out to 230 yards to my 170 yards. My drive does not match yours but by the end of the game I am three or four strokes less than you because the game really starts at 100 yards out

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