Dealing with Slow Play

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bryan k
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Dealing with Slow Play

Post by bryan k » Fri Jun 12, 2015 9:48 pm

When I was a kid, I used to pitch baseball. I was a quick worker. I hated it when a batter stepped out of the box. To me, I pitched best when it was just a game of catch between me and the catcher.

This has carried over to my golf game a great deal.

It's 110 degrees outside, I just breezed through four holes in about 20 minutes, and I'm having a great round. I walk up to the first par 3, and I have to wait 5 minutes for the green to clear before I can shoot. I take about 20 practice swings to stay loose while I'm waiting, and then I step up and hit a good shot.

Same thing happens on the next hole, except now I'm starting to get a little bit tired from all of the practice swings. So I relax a bit and try to be patient. It comes time to me to hit, and I have to take 20 practice swings to loosen back up again.

Okay, the 20 practice swings to loosen back up again is a bit of an exaggeration. I usually just hit the ball after one or two, and a horrible shot results because my muscles have started to tighten up.

How do you guys deal with slow play not affecting your game? I've started keeping some data lately on how pace of play affects my scores, and it's a big difference. The problem is, it is so difficult to stay mentally focused for a full four hour round of golf especially when the weather is hot. To stay mentally focused and physically loose while waiting five minutes (or more) on each tee box seems impossible to me.

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Re: Dealing with Slow Play

Post by sjduffers » Fri Jun 12, 2015 9:55 pm

You don't have to stay focused while waiting for the group ahead. On the contrary, if you do, you'll tense up and may get really annoyed if you watch the antics of the slow group ahead of you...

I usually walk so I am on my feet all the time. When it's going to be a while, I sometimes sit down on the bench available on or near the tee box, and look up stuff on my phone, taking a break from golf altogether. If I feel that is tightening me up (some days it does and some days it doesn't, go figure), I get up and start practicing chipping around the tee box (for example, trying to get the closest possible to a tee marker): it keeps me loose, it's allowed by the Rules Of Golf, and over time my chipping improves. :thumbup:
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Re: Dealing with Slow Play

Post by Coda1850 » Fri Jun 12, 2015 11:21 pm

sjduffers is spot on. It has always gotten me. Slow play grabs me, beats the shit outta my game, laughs, & hands it back.

My last round people were slow in front of me but I had no one behind me. I always care too much about the people behind me... because it sucks so bad being in that spot - with selfish shitbags in front of you. You can never play fast enough to improve the group behnd because you're always waiting for the groups ahead.

Anyway, this let me stroll about a nice course. Re-putt my 1st, after a 3 putt. Chip around with the lob wedge. Piss in the woods (It was hot. I drank a lot of water.). I also talked shit with a friend via text. Texted my wife. Took some course photos. I was playing solo (needed the therapy time) & was determined to give the group in front enough space so they didn't even think about asking me to join.

This would have all gone to shit if I had people behind me tho. I'm not sure how you play fast but also don't hurry up & wait.

Maybe just buy a golf course.
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Re: Dealing with Slow Play

Post by bryan k » Sat Jun 13, 2015 5:35 pm

I do a lot of chipping around tee boxes. I think that's part of the reason why chipping is consistently the strongest part of my game. However, today I played a course where that wasn't really possible. The tee boxes were small little sod squares that were placed on top of the desert. I could have chipped from tee box to tee box, but missing one might have ended up in a lost ball.

I think I can handle the psychological aspect of it. It's the physical aspect that takes its toll. Today was another great point. I wasn't having a great round, but I was on pace to beat my handicap after 12 holes. We finally caught the group in front of us on 13, and we had to wait five minutes on the tee box. We waited on every shot on 13 and 14, and my back physically started to stiffen up to the point where it definitely altered my swing. The result was a triple bogey and a quadruple bogey (penalty strokes from terrible tee shots). Then, on 15, they got ahead of us again, and I finished strong.

Maybe I just need some exercises that will strengthen those back muscles that I don't really ever use unless I am swinging a golf club?

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Re: Dealing with Slow Play

Post by bkuehn1952 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:09 am

I have played in a senior group's tournament series for 7-8 years. We essentially take over a course and have a shotgun start. When we have less than a full field (114 is a full field) it is possible to finish a round as quickly as 4 hours or so, depending on where on the "slinky" one starts. Full fields guarantee 5 hours minimum and we had one recently that ran 6 hours for some of us. Ugh.

I like to think I have developed a mild immunity to slow play because of my participation. When waiting on the group in front, I chill out. I never pull a club or swing. I just sit in the cart chatting or wander along the edge of a hazard looking for golf balls. I will check the distance and clean off potential clubs but that is it. When the green (or fairway) clears and it is my turn, I pull the club and proceed. Same with my casual rounds when I walk. I might fix divot holes in the fairway or teeing area and think about the next shot but never pull a club or swing.

Of course I am only mildly immune. There are definitely situations where the snail pace gets to me. I have been know to walk forward and chew out a caddie who always stood at the furthest point from the path to the next hole or dispense advice to a cart driver that they might consider parking the cart up near the green rather than 50 yards short of the green in the fairway.
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Re: Dealing with Slow Play

Post by jasonfish11 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:01 am

Find a hot chick on the course and use your range finder to see how far she is?

But seriously I can only deal with it well when there is no one behind me. In these cases I will chip and putt on the prior green or on the tee box while waiting. I also spend time reading my putts from both sides.

I try not to take full swings.

Last time it happened I really worked on my flop shots. There was a tournament earlier that day and signs on each tee box for hole sponsors. So I wanted to see how close I could get to the sign and still hit it over. I got really good at it actually. I was surprised how well I could pop the ball almost straight up. At this point I'm pretty confident I could pull off the Phil Flop shot over someone's head from 1 pace away. Although I dont know anyone who would trust me enough to try it.
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Re: Dealing with Slow Play

Post by legitimategolf » Mon Jun 15, 2015 2:16 pm

These days I turn to the new opiate for the masses aka the smartphone. World news, sports news, local news. Random time-wasting bullshit. Forum.legitimategolf.com. A literal world of information at the literal swipe of a literal finger. It does nothing to remedy the problem, and probably makes it worse in the long run, but it sure does distract one from the misery at hand. And thank god for that. Because the slow play problem isn't going anywhere.
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Re: Dealing with Slow Play

Post by bryan k » Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:47 pm

I appreciate all of your input on how you deal with the frustration of slow play. The problem is, how do you stay loose when it's 5+ minutes between swings?

Of course, the situation is worse when it's 115 outside because then I'm dealing with dehydration along with a stiff back...and it might just be 115 before I'm done with my rounds this weekend.

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Re: Dealing with Slow Play

Post by bkuehn1952 » Thu Jun 25, 2015 4:39 pm

Possibly have a series of stretches, other than swinging, and slowly work through those. Sit on the fairway and do your thing. I used to have a series of shoulder moves for an inflamed rotator cuff and a bunch for sciatica. I'd find a dry soft spot and do my impression of yoga enthusiast.

Personally, I think swinging a club is not a good idea. Save those for when it counts.
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Re: Dealing with Slow Play

Post by legitimategolf » Thu Jun 25, 2015 5:21 pm

Next time out I'm gonna take a f'n pillow with me, plop down in the grass and have a nice rest. There's no longer any point to pretending like summer golf isn't a bunch of stand-around-do-nothing time. Plus people might get a chuckle out of me napping on my pillow and that would be good because what I saw yesterday on the course was a whole lot of miserable impatient people.
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Re: Dealing with Slow Play

Post by bryan k » Sat Jun 27, 2015 11:44 am

I think it's funny that what LG is describing is how winter golf works around here. All of those slow players from New York come down to Phoenix to clog up the courses in January.

I haven't taken a pillow to the golf course, per se, but I usually bring a dry towel to sit on when its 100+ outside. And yes, on a slow day during the summer, I have used it as a pillow.

I'll try to see what I can do to develop some stretching exercises, but now that we are into the heat of summer, there is a good chance that all of my time between shots will be spent sitting in the shade.

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Not Noticing Slow Play

Post by bkuehn1952 » Tue Jul 21, 2015 5:07 pm

I played in our 3 day City Championship last weekend (plus Friday). Traditionally we start as 3-somes and the tournament committee makes some effort to match up players of somewhat like abilities. The group is never perfectly matched but I have never played with a guy that appeared to be incapable of breaking 100.

This year for some reason they had me teeing off as a 2-some at 7:40am. Fine if that is the first tee time but the reality was we were following 5 3-somes. Plus the fellow I was paired with had no official handicap and, as near as I could tell, had never played in the tournament. I called "foul" with the committee and at least they reacted and made our group a 3-some, too.

As it turns out, the first guy of our group had never played in a tournament. He was unaware of most Rules and thus did not know he should hit a provisional when his first attempt flew into dense forest. The first day he shot 96. Our 3rd and I spent LOTS of time looking for his ball, often without success. We would be on the tail of the group in front and then fall behind as we sifted through the dense growth lining our course. Then we would catch up, only to fall behind again when he had a bad hole.

At the end of the day the round took 5 hours but I barely noticed the pace. I was so busy looking for golf balls, teaching him what not to do or what to do as far as Rules, etc... I barely noticed our snail like pace. I played terribly (but quickly!). While I did not notice the slow pace, I do not recommend seeking out a novice to distract oneself. :evil:
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Re: Dealing with Slow Play

Post by jasonfish11 » Tue Jul 21, 2015 5:42 pm

I played 9 last Saturday. I couldn't believe what happened.

I went off the first tee with a 3-some on the green of hole 2 and a single on the green of hole 1 (hole 1 is a par 5 and 2 is a par 3). I got caught up and had to wait on the tee box of #2. About 2 holes later I realize the single in front of me isn't keeping pace with a 3-some in front of him. Also he isn't waving me up to play with him. A couple more holes go along. Then it gets really bad.

Hole 7 is a par 5. I get to the tee box to see the single in front of me about 150 yards out into the fairway, about 350 yards to the hole. This guy hasn't hit the ball further than 150 yards the entire day. I have no clue what he was doing. He got in and out of his cart a couple times, he drove to the left side of the fairway, drove back to the right side where the cart path is, drove up the cart path, put the cart in reverse and drove back. Got in and out of his cart some more, then drove back to the left side of the FW. At this point I was pissed because the 3-some was on the green of hole 8.

So I just blasted a drive over the corner of the dog leg (my line is 50 yards right of the middle of the FW). I absolutely smoked it. I guess he got the picture and hit his second, and 3rd shots. I was walking and he was in a cart. He hits his 4th from about 15 yards in front of my drive with me standing there. He finishes the hole then just sits in his cart. I thought great he is going to let me play through. I hit my approach and get towards the green where I realize he isn't going to let me play through. So I just said "hey man this is terrible. You need to keep pace with the group in front specially given that you are playing as a single and they are playing as a 3-some."

He didn't respond he just took off to the next hole, skipped it and tee'd off on #9. Which given how slow he was playing was the right thing for him to do.

Also criticize my decision (I am not certain it was the best) but do know given the situation and where he was when I hit my tee shot, I did not put him in any more danger than he was with out me hitting it. I've seen someone go to the hospital because they got hit with a golf ball; and I would never put someone in the same possible situation.

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Re: Dealing with Slow Play

Post by sjduffers » Tue Jul 21, 2015 8:33 pm

I had an interesting experience yesterday. As I wait for my tee time, nobody tees off for quite some time (15-20 minutes), then 3 guys walking go off, then 2 ladies also walking and finally I am paired with a guy in his cart and I am in my cart: it was one of those deals where the cart is included, at a course that is quite difficult 70.2/137, par 70.

We start on #1, a par 5 and catch up with the ladies waiting for our 3rd shot while they finish putting. We wait again on our approach shot on the par 4 #2, and they offer to let us through in the middle of their putting, picking up their ball. They say they are practicing and it's all good. As we tee off on #3, they get some balls back on the #2 green and resume their putting and/or practice. By the time we get to #4, I see that in front of the 3 walkers, there are 2 fivesomes (in carts) and I am thinking: it's going to be a long one, since we already caught up with groups that have teed off 20 minutes ahead of the 2 groups we already caught up to...

As we arrive on #7, one of the 3 walkers is leaving, heading towards the parking lot, and the 2 remaining walkers tee off while we watch and the latter fivesome ahead is putting. On #8, a par 3, the 2 walkers have a little bit of a wait as the fivesome finishes putting and we ask whether they would like to join up to make the wait less painful. All good, they play from the whites, we play from the blues and the round goes on. There is a tiny bit of a wait on #10 par 5, since some people briefly stop to get a bite, a drink or what have you, and besides, #10 is a real bear of a hole. Anyway, the round continues with no major wait. Then I realize that one of 5 players ahead is a girl or young lady, and she's playing from the blue tees as well, along with her 4 partners. On the #18 hole, she's way down there in the middle of the fairway of a 450 yds hole (downhill), having driven something like 280-290! Holly crap, we think, she must be a college player or a pro or something... A local guy is walking down the fairway heading home, coming from maybe #14 or #15 and he says he has enough (golf in 93F weather, not waiting) and overhears our comment: he says "Yup, she's a pro!". Cool. :)

We finish up, I look at my watch and it's been 4 hours and 5 minutes since we teed off. Wow! Behind 2 fivesomes and playing as a foursome with a couple of walkers (older guys too), on a tough hilly course on a hot day, and we are done in just about 4 hours. I was impressed. Not used to that. Don't get me wrong: it's great, but it does not happen that often. There is hope, people!
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Re: Dealing with Slow Play

Post by bryan k » Tue Jul 21, 2015 11:54 pm

I'm usually the guy who seems like he's waiting all round long only to find that I'm done in four hours. Maybe I just need more patience?

But in reality, I usually try to keep track of my time, and I only let it get to me if the time elapsed gets out of hand.

That said, my own personal story from one of the rounds I played last weekend. I saw the slowest player ever. The guy would always hit last. After everyone was done hitting, he would walk to the tee box without a club. He would take a good half dozen slow puffs on his cigar while studying the hole. Then, he would walk back to his cart for a club. Upon returning to the tee box, he would put his cigar down and start scouring the ground for a tee. God forbid he use a new one. After finding a tee, he would put finally tee up his ball. And then he would go pick up his cigar, stand behind his ball, and then take a half dozen more puffs on his cigar before setting it back down and walking up to the ball to take his practice swings. After he was done hitting, he'd go pick up his cigar and stand on the tee box for at least another minute to a minute and a half staring down the fairway.

Ordinarily, I would say something. Except that his partners were openly mocking him because of how slow he was. We followed him for three holes before I went up and asked one of his partners if we could play through. He agreed, and the slow bloke had the nerve to say "you ain't going nowhere. There is a group right in front of us."

We played through on hole number 11. We caught the group in front of them on hole 17.

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Re: Dealing with Slow Play

Post by legitimategolf » Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:50 am

jasonfish11 wrote:I played 9 last Saturday. I couldn't believe what happened.
Did you ask to play through? That's how I deal with it these days. If I'm pissed I get all up in their grill and say it real forceful, more like a statement than a question. "HEY THERE. MIND IF I PLAY THROUGH." One time I did it and the dudes were total pricks about it and refused. BUT it did seem to get a message across, and they picked up their pace enough to catch up. I think when you insist on playing through, it's effective because I think the implication is that the offender isn't just offending you, an individual (which most people seem to be able to live with), he's also failing the system. By being forceful and not angry about it, I think actually sends a stronger, more damning message--i.e. this is not about my personal feelings about your slow play, this is standard protocol. If you want you could even invoke the USGA rulebook, in which playing through is officially sanctioned, I think.

Playing through absolutely sucks, but I'm getting more tolerant of it. Sometimes it feels like you throw away strokes in the rush to get through someone, but unless you are playing the round of your life, it's usually worth it. The feeling of finally breaking away from a slow group, finally getting to breathe again, is pretty nice.
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Re: Dealing with Slow Play

Post by legitimategolf » Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:54 am

Think Animal House, like huge black dudes going up to the scrawny white kids: "MIND IF WE DANCE WITH YO DATES?" That's the right approach.
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