Pace of Play is this a problem?

Interested to hear about any views on this topic?

I never hear anyone complain about slow play when it’s their own ball we are looking for! Different matter when it’s the group in front, of course.

Ask yourself “where would I rather be?”. As I say to my playing partners when they get mad at themselves “one day you’ll wish you were back here playing bad golf”. Or waiting for the slow players in front.

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Hi, So true, the trouble is people hardly call the players being held up through. Can be tough when you are following a group that are oblivious of those behind or of the common courtesy to others. Golf is not a race but I don’t want to be waiting on every shot and taking 4 plus hours to get round.


It’s a tough one and glad we use the term ‘pace of play’ more now rather than ‘slow play’ - obviously everyone wants to play at their own speed and does play at different speeds.

The ‘letting people’ through is also a tough subject. I’ve been in a two-ball before, behind another two-ball, who had a four-ball in front of them who were oblivous to letting anyway through or even thinking about it! In their defense they did play their round in four hours which was what was marked on the course card as the target time but nonetheless quite frustrating for us and the other two-ball. Like @terryfw says I was pretty chilled that day because the course, views and weather was so good - @MattHolbrook - and company, I had all the time in the world.

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I play with a group of NOMADS - no of us belong to a club. Pace of play (too slow or too fast) is rarely a problem, but I feel that the causes include:

  • A lot have players have not heard of ready golf. Especially when putting they wait until it is their “turn”, bob and weave for ages, miss the putt, mark it and pick up while their partner gives a similar performance. Then it’s back to player one for another ballet dance.
  • Dreadful signage on courses. As NOMADS we play a lot of different courses. Directions from green to tee are often dire; Tees are not always numbered (or greens); direction posts should be installed on blind shots; directions are needed when the green is not visible; misdirection may be given by other players (one got angry when we refused to follow his directions to the wrong green).
  • Players behind can play excessively fast. We walk with trolleys. Players with buggies usually play faster than walkers. By the time we are playing our second shots, their drives are landing near us. As we play our third shots, their second shots are arriving. If we let the buggies through, they go on to harass the group ahead of us.
  • Not playing at an appropriate pace: if a course is full, then abandon a lost ball quickly. If there is nobody for a few holes behind, take more time searching if you wish.
  • Is it really necessary to take so long over each shot? In a competition maybe, in a championship Spieth took about 20 minutes. Very few rounds of golf are competitions. In most cases, I have observed no correllation between the time preparing for a shot and the quality of the shot.
  • We always invite players who catch us up to play thtrough. About 50% decline to do so. Some of the rest have probably got patience as well as ready golf to add to their learning list.
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Hi Zylpha, You make some good observations which cover many of the topics that cause issues with pace of play. Its good to hear that you invite quicker players to play through, regrettably in the professional game I have only seen this happen once in all my years. If this happened more often it would help to educate all golfers that this practice should be adopted by everyone.
When courses are full to capacity then if one group plays at a much slower pace then every behind them is held up and it becomes “the slowest common denominator”. Until recently we were all time poor which meant golf was becoming less popular, but now courses are rammed and a typical four ball round takes at least 4 1/2 hours??? As I have mentioned before golf is not a race and some people prefer to take more time than others. However, the common courtesy of inviting quicker players to go through rarely happens. Thankfully you are more respectful of those players who are following you so keep up the good work, it may catch on.

Key thing is respect like has been alluded to in the comments. If everyone is respectful there should never really be a problem. If only :slight_smile:

The best view on pace of play - and life - I’ve heard. Thanks.

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Much appreciated, Kev, thanks. We all get a bit frustrated when the guys in front waste time (putting out then having to go to the wrong side of the green for the trolley then walk across to the next tee is my personal least favourite) but, honestly, if it’s a nice day the only annoying thing is if you have something urgent to do. Just make sure you enjoy chatting about other things to the guys you play with!

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