I’ll get back to anatomizing my golf bag in a couple of days—I still haven’t told you what’s in the pockets—but I want to share an email I received from Kent Manning, a reader in North Carolina. He describes himself as “an ugly eighteen-handicap, trending upward due to the onset of chipping yips (or ‘chomits,’ as a buddy calls them—chipping vomits).” His personal credo, he says, is “If I can see the fringe, it’s putt-able.” His email:
A few things have led me to this letter:
1) having gone to Scotland in the last year—where they REALLY encourage a three-and-a-half-hour round, and you get the stink eye if you’re slowing things down;
2) having read your Two-Hour Eighteen™ missives;
3) having read about the Golf Digest Time for Nine campaign;
4) the constant drumbeats about slow play;
Why is it everyone THINKS they play fast when they really don’t? I’ve gotten so seized up on playing fast that the least dawdling by my playing partners drives me batty. When you play in some of your fivesomes at your blistering paces—how have you gotten everyone to buy into the idea of such fast play?
It’s funny—our club is always struggling to get members. I went so far as suggesting to our Manager that the club institute a 3:45 time limit on rounds and then aggressively market that fact. In a world in which you are trying to differentiate yourself in the marketplace—if I found a course that I KNEW I would get my round done in less than four hours it would be a win/win for everyone.
Do we just take every swing too seriously? When we played Crail Balcomie, in Scotland, it was awesome to watch all the local folks (including senior men and women) pulling their trolleys. They would just hustle up to their ball, yank out a club, hit, watch for about three seconds, stuff their club back into the bag, and get gone. That would be great to see here. Thanks for letting me vent.
Pace of play ought to be a burning issue for every golfer, because the slower golf gets the more golfers will quit, and the more golfers quit the more expensive and annoying the game will become. And if it’s the speedy players who give up and go away we’ll be left with nothing but slowpokes. I personally don’t think nine-hole rounds are the answer, since a two-and-a-half-hour nine is every bit as aggravating as a five-hour eighteen. Time’s a-wastin’!
Bonus photo, from Reese’s yard: