I hope that this weekend has bought some quality golf to you all? After a busy week teaching Jane and I went to Jane's university city of Newcastle for a night. We took in the bustling city centre and a couple of markets that were there along with checking out the famous Fenwicks Chrsitmas window...I am not much of a Christmas person, but Jane certainly loves it! We ate out and had drinks along the Quayside which bought back happy memories of when we first met. On Sunday we dodged the rain and went to the Metrocentre to do some Christmas shopping... that's all I am going to say about that!
What is certain is that, if the first group on a golf course on a Saturday morning take 3.5 hours, then the rest of the field should do the same. We find it in shotgun competitions when everyone starts together, that everyone finishes together, so why doesn't this happen on a Saturday? In recent years clubs have taken to playing a stableford competition for their monthly competition. This is a great idea as long as people pick their ball up when they are no longer able to score, too many time have people said 'I am keeping my own card.'
There is nothing worse than getting to the tee first and then having to wait to tee off last because you have picked your ball up after no-scoring on the previous hole. Doing away with honours (in strokeplay only, I still think it adds something to matchplay) and playing when you are ready would speed the game up. This is only a rough estimate, but if you save 30 seconds on every tee, by playing when you are ready, then that is 9.5 minutes off your round already.
This is along the same lines as the above point, but more looking at the fairways and greens. Once you get to your ball, have a look to see if any of your playing partners are about to play. If none are ready, but you are, then play away. This saves time working out, from across the fairway, who is closest to the green! It also speeds the game up if people are in between clubs and may need a little bit more thinking time. Again this should be used for strokeplay only, as you are playing against the course rather than an opponent in matchplay, who may change their shot depending on what you do.
Normally in a round of golf, under rule 17-3c, a ball that strikes the flag stick when a stroke has been made on the putting green a player is penalised 2 shots. This means that players have to wait until someone is free to either attend or take out the flag. Surely it would be quicker to leave the flag in and let people putt when ready? I am sure that you are reading this thinking this is unfair as some peoples putts will hit the flag and go in and some will hit the flag and stay out? What about when your ball hits a tree and cannons off into the rough or into a pond? This is commonly called 'the rug of the green' and I think that this should apply to a ball hitting the flag stick.
If a group know that they have to finish their game of golf in a certain amount of time or they will recieve a penalty, then players are more likely to speed up. If you are having a good round and you feel like you are going to miss the time limit, you are more likely to encourage your partners to speed up . To make this change possible you would have to determine how long a game of golf for a 4 ball should take.
In some snooker matches players are given a shot clock of 30 seconds to play their shot. This could be applied to golf to stop players taking an extremely long pre shot routine or a long time over their ball. Questions such as, when does the clock start, who is going to start the clock are things to think about and it would be hard to govern at club level, but definitely something for the tour to think about.
Last week saw the end to another successful set of Friday morning group lessons and, in the 7 weeks they have been running, 40 players have attended. This Friday I am holding a special short game group session whereby you can come and work on what you want. I will be on hand to help you with any aspect of your short game, whether it is putting, chipping, pitching or bunker play. The timings are the same as previous sessions with the mens starting at 9am, followed by the ladies at 10.30. I hope to see you there.
My winter offer is already proving popular as people start getting themselves sorted with Christmas gifts. I have got three great packages that will suit all golfers and all budgets so that you can take your golf to the next level, improve your golf over the winter and play to your best when the weather is at its finest next year. Please click the picture for more information, or please do not hesitate to contact me through email at email@example.com or by telephone on 07745 543940.
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