It’s been a while, and between work and everything else that goes on, the migration out of the old blog into the new site is done.

So let’s talk about slow play. Really.  No, put the baseball bat down.  It won’t help.

I started my year with two of the slowest rounds I can remember, and for no good reason.  If you decide to play early, you’re committing to playing fast.  Seriously.  This means YOU.

I had the misfortune of playing a round at Laytonsville last month, where we were paired with your classic “well if Tiger does it then it must be great” rubes.  Million dollar wardrobes, Air Jordan golf shoes, top of the line equipment and these two clowns would have made Kevin Na scream “while we’re young!”  Playing early we got around in a tidy 4 hours and 40 minutes.  On a course that isn’t exactly on anyone’s toughest in the region list.

The list of particulars is an all-too-familiar refrain.  One of these two took 2 minutes 10 seconds to hit a putt.  20 seconds is more than sufficient.  But he had to walk every square centimeter of the green, and then proceed to hit the putt short and leave it on the amateur side (on greens that were punched).  They both were taking 3-5 practice swings on every shot.  I have to say that the marshal/ranger was of little help- when we got rightly confronted I explained what was going on…and he proceeded to ignore them.

So, for those of you new to the game, a few tips on how to speed things up-

1) Ready golf on the tee if you’re all hitting from the same set of tees.  This also means taking one practice swing. One. Not two.  Not three.  If you do the Sergio Garcia “waggle the club 10 times” bit…just stop.  It’s one practice swing. That’s it.

2) You do not “need to see all of it”…courses are doing a better job of listing handicap index recommendations by set of tees.  Take their advice.  Seriously. You’re not going to be castrated if you move up to the middle set of tees.  You might find that you’re hitting shorter irons to the green…when you’re bragging to your buddies about making 3 birdies in a round, do you think they’ll mock the fact that you played from the middle set of tees (hint- they’ll be jealous).  When you make a birdie, does the fact that you didn’t play from the tips cheapen it?  NO!  You still had to drain the putt.

3) Continuous putting. The Ohio Golf Association did a study that says you can chop 20 minutes off rounds by doing this.  Try it.  If you’re playing an official match you can’t do this (under match play rules) but how often does that happen?

4) In a casual round, if you spend more than 2 minutes looking for a ball then wear a sandwich board that says “I’m the reason your round takes forever.”  One stroke penalty and drop one.  Hint- stop using ProV1’s.  Oh, and if you have one of those ball retriever doo-hickeys and it gets used more than once in a round?  You also get the sandwich board.

5) Know your yardages (meaning how far you hit clubs). Easy hint told to me by a club pro. Go hit your 5-iron at the range until you know how far you hit it.  Subtract 10 yards for the 6, add 10 for the 4.  So if you hit your 5-iron 170 yards, you probably hit your 6-iron 160.  Will you occasionally nuke one?  Sure.

6) Figure 10 yards of distance gained/lost for 10mph of wind.

7) If you use a DMD (distance measuring device), use it while someone else is hitting. If it takes you more than 20-30 seconds to get a number, go find one that works faster.  The one I use measures distance to the pin. Takes 10-15 seconds.  I will, if asked, measure distance and give it to the other players in the group (i.e. “it’s 157 yards to the pin”) and go about my business (and distance is NOT considered giving advice per the rules of golf).

8) Put your mobile phone away.  If you must, take a peek to make sure there are no emergencies as you’re waiting to tee off (so let others go first). Updating facebook/twitter or making calls in earshot of other golfers?  Unless you’re dealing with an actual emergency, PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY.  YOU ARE NOT THAT IMPORTANT. IF YOU WERE (AND YOU’RE NOT) YOU WOULDN’T BE ON A MUNI COURSE ON A SATURDAY MORNING.

9) Have an extra ball in your pocket. Ideally it would be different number or have a different marking than the one you’re using.  Also, keep a few tees, a divot tool (and for the love of God and all that’s holy learn how to use one), and a ball marker in your pocket (hint- do this BEFORE you tee off so you aren’t scurrying about looking for a peg).

10) The goal is to keep up with the group in front of you. Are you more than a hole behind them and the people behind you are on your ass the whole time?  We have seen the slow players, and you’re it.