Winter Update: Wearing Shorts, Trimming Trees, Rebuilding the Pump House, and Using Air Horns to Improve Pace of Play

20121214_135605Nobody wore shorts on Friday (see above), so nobody got extra handicap strokes. But Doug wore shorts on Saturday (see below) and therefore got two.

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He also wore his daughter’s hat and brought three swing aids. His team still lost, though.

During our round on Friday, some tree guys were trimming and cabling the two huge oaks in front of the clubhouse:

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During our round on Saturday, some construction guys were laying a concrete-block foundation for our new pump house, next to the pond on the fourth hole. (See photo below.) We played that hole from the women’s tees, because when we play from the men’s tees bad drives that miss the pond often hit the pump house.

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Friday’s round took more than four hours—an inexcusable pace, we agreed, even though we were playing as a sevensome. One reason we were slow is that one of the guys was a newcomer, and he still does things the rest of us stopped doing years ago, such as taking practice swings and not hitting or putting unless it’s his turn. But we’ll break him.

On Saturday, we played as two foursomes and finished in less than three hours. During that round, Tim, who was in my group, thought of a way to incorporate speed into our regular game, by allowing teams that finish early to replay holes until the slowest team has putted out on its final hole. Here’s how it would work: We would shot-gun all the groups, so that nobody had a head start, and each group would carry one of these:

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When your group finished its regulation round, you would blast your air horn to let the other groups know that you were now playing bonus holes and potentially improving your score. And you would get to keep playing bonus holes until the final group’s horn had sounded. Further study.

4 thoughts on “Winter Update: Wearing Shorts, Trimming Trees, Rebuilding the Pump House, and Using Air Horns to Improve Pace of Play

  1. Can post your friend Doug’s strategy on the clubs he carries? Seemed a limited, odd mix in the photo, but I haven’t played your course and maybe it fits. He needs a smaller bag.

  2. Doug didn’t show up today, so I don’t know for sure, but several guys I know carry fewer than fourteen clubs, especially during the winter. I always carry a full load, but Tony (for example) never has more than eight or nine, even when he’s playing in tournaments, and Hacker, at the moment, is down to about ten. We’ve had many one-, two-, and three-club competitions, and everybody seems to shoot about what they usually shoot. And don’t forget that Francis Ouimet won the U.S. Open with seven.

  3. Slow play… When you have your shotgun start one of your groups is in front of the others. How is it possible for the following groups to finish before the lead group if the lead group plays slow and holds up all of the others? I ask because we wrestle with this dilema at our club.Slow players in front prevent us from playing as fast as we otherwise might.

  4. Keep in mind that this idea is still in development. It definitely wouldn’t work on a crowded course, and it would really work only on a course where you could leave gaps between groups at the outset. Layout would matter, too. My home course is just nine holes, but because of the way the holes are routed you can sometimes bypass slowpokes rather than playing through them–for example, by cutting from the fifth green to the tenth/first tee and picking up six through nine later on, or cutting from the second to the fifth or eighth. And all this would work best (if at all) at times of the year when the course wasn’t crowded, or when bad weather had scared away all but the diehards. Such as now, come to think of it. Maybe we’ll try it next week, if the greens are still open.

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