Posted on 26th January, 2016 Source: Brad Simpson, Arbutus Ridge

A consistent problem that the golf industry is continuously battling with is that the game takes too long to play. Many courses say that an 18-hole round of golf should take on average 15 minutes per hole, totaling 4.5 hours for the round. For some that is not enough time but for most that is too much. Golf is a great opportunity to spend our free time enjoying the outdoors, most likely with friends or at least with people who we know and share a passion for the game. However, in a lot of cases, a round of golf can exceed 5 hours. This definitely becomes a problem for most. Personally, being on the course for that long becomes a grueling and daunting task which I want to avoid and deters me from playing.

Due to a round of golf routinely taking too much time, many folks are now finding ways to shorten the game so they enjoy their experience on the course more. Some are only playing 9 holes which helps on a time commitment. Others are choosing to play at the quieter times of day such as early mornings or afternoons. A few courses are experimenting with larger cups on their greens so fewer putts are necessary. One of the better ideas I like are the Quick Tees, that we use here at the Arbutus Ridge Golf Club which help people that are new to the game or those that don’t hit the ball very far anymore, get to the green that much faster. As a PGA of Canada Golf Professional it is not only a belief of mine but a duty to grow the game of golf. In an attempt to help solve the mystery of how to help quicken the pace of golf and ultimately allow for more people to enjoy this wonderful sport I strongly promote two things. Firstly, how you learn the game and secondly, how you play the game.

When students of various skill levels come to me for a lesson package designed to improve their entire game, the main thing they want to work on is the driver and hey why not, it’s the fun club right, it makes the biggest noise and goes the furthest! The driver is the biggest time burglar in golf. How much time does this club add to a round when it usually leaves you going for a hike off the beaten trail, or fishing in that magnetic pond for either yours or your playing partner’s lost pearls? I’m not saying that we never work on driver accuracy during our lessons but the point of the story is this. Golf should be learned from the green back to the tee. If you become a good putter, then chipper, then pitcher and so on it makes you a better driver of the ball because you have a better understanding and control of your golf swing. This process, especially for beginners, results in: fewer strokes taken, more accurate shots and less time searching, all resulting in a quicker round.

Another important aspect of golf I recommend, for new players getting into the game, is to learn proper golf etiquette. Quite honestly even some of us that have been playing for a while should take a refresher course. Good etiquette helps everyone play quicker. If concentration is maintained and not distracted by others then the focus and commitment will prevent wayward golf shots. Although not a guarantee that being at peace when preparing to hit a shot will produce a perfect result, it definitely helps.

There are many things we can do when playing golf to make the round go by a little quicker. On the tee box the old “honour system” of letting the person who scored lowest on the previous hole go first should not apply in social golf, if you’re ready hit it! Just as importantly, a player should be doing as much preparation for their next shot while waiting for others to hit without being a distraction. Meaning that it is ok to use the time others are taking to hit their shot to get ready for your turn. Clean your grooves in you clubs, check your lie, check the wind, take quiet practice swings out of sight of whose turn it is, read the break in your putt, and so on. When it’s you turn not only are you ready physically but chances are you’re also prepared mentally. Not only are you saving yourself, your group and essentially everyone playing that day some time by maintaining the pace you’re increasing how many good shots you will have and most likely lowering your score. Finally, after you have finished the hole don’t stand there and have a chat or total up your score. Do that as you move towards the next tee so the group behind can play.

If you could incorporate any of the above tips to shave off an average of 15 seconds from every shot you would save 25 minutes for every 100 shots taken on the course.

As always, I am available if you would like to discuss this article or anything else about golf. I’d love to hear your insights and any questions you have.
All the best!

Brad Simpson
Associate Golf Professional and GBC Golf Academy Instructor
Arbutus Ridge Golf Club

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