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How to play a faster round of golf - tips to eliminate slow play

It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional or just picking up the game, a round of golf takes a long time. Here are some tips to speed up your pace of play.

Bedminster (United States), 01/08/2022.- Golfer Henrik Stenson of Sweden tees off on the 8th hole on his way to winning the LIV Golf Bedminster invitational, part of the new LIV Golf Invitational Series, at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, USA, 31 July 2022. (Suecia, Estados Unidos) EFE/EPA/JUSTIN LANE

It’s summer time, and the livin’s easy. For many, there is no better way to spend a summer day than out on the course for a round of 18 holes. Golf is a great way to escape, disconnect from work, get out of the house, maybe spend a few hours away from your spouse and the kids.

Always a good time for a tee time

There should never be a rush when you’re on the course. Golf is a game that takes time, patience and focus. But it’s true that playing 18 holes takes up a big chunk of your day, and so every now and then you may need to speed up the pace of play.

If you booked an early tee time to beat the summer heat, you might want to think about getting out early, and wrapping up before noon when the sun has a chance take it’s toll from high in the sky. Or maybe you get out of work around 4 or 5 p.m. and you’re trying to squeeze in a round before the sun sets. Whatever the reason, it’s never a bad idea to try to speed up a round of golf.

The average time it takes to complete a round of golf is about four and a half hours. That means that on average each hole takes about 15 minutes to complete. If you love to golf, but don’t love how long it takes then here are some tips on how to speed up your pace of play.

Early tee time

You may not be an early worm, but if you’re looking to beat the rest of the traffic that can pile up on the course you may want to start getting into the habit of setting that early alarm. The more people you allow to tee off in front of you, the more chance of getting held up by slower groups. If you’re the first one on the course, there’s no way anyone can get in your way and slow your pace.

Golf cart

This is probably the biggest no brainer, but it’s undeniable that zipping around in a cart is infinitely faster that dragging your clubs from shot to shot. On day’s where the course obliges, you can bring the cart and your clubs to basically anywhere on the course except the green. Golf carts may be faster, but don’t tell that to Jürg Randegger who played 252 holes in 12 hours, without a cart!

Grip and rip

While golf does require a tremendous amount of concentration and focus, sometimes it’s easy to get to caught up in pre shot routines and visualizing where the ball is going. Setting a 20 second shot clock, like in basketball, can be useful to keep from overdosing on swing prep.

Sometimes the best thing to do is step up and swing. The more you practice, and the more time you give yourself to think and overthinking when your are on the links is never a good thing. There are times where the best solution is just grip it and rip it.

Take clubs to ball

Let’s say you’re in a cart with a buddy and you two are on opposite sides of the fairway. Instead of staying together to watch each other hit, either drop your buddy off, or have him or her walk to their ball with a few clubs. Once at their ball they can measure the distance and choose which club they will hit. By the time you hit they should be ready to have a go, and boom you’ll be right there waiting to pick them up.

Skip hot dogs at the turn

This would probably be the most difficult thing for me to do. The turn is a staple of my golf game. If I’m having a bad round a hot dog, some chips and a refreshment can be all I need to turn things around on the back nine. If I’m having a good round then that refuel at the club house will give me what I need to finish strong. Four and a half hours, or however long it takes, is a long time and it’s human nature to get hungry and thirsty. But if you’re looking to speed up your round this is one of the best ways to do so.

Wait until the 19th hole for drinks

I take back my statement from above. This would be the hardest thing for me to do. Listen, I’m not a professional. I don’t take things too seriously on the course. When I’m out under the summer sun, it’s good to stay hydrated but sometimes the ice cold coolers of what at the start of every hole just don’t cut it. Sometimes you need a frosty beer, or a stiff Jack and Coke to take your round from bad to good, or from good to great. There’s no doubt that after a certain number of drinks, the booze will take it’s toll and effect your game. If you’re looking to speed up play, it may be worth it to wait until the 19th hole to crack your first cold one.


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