Slow play equals bad golf for everyone.

This is a topic that gets everyone up in arms and of course, I have a few thoughts and of course #2, I have a story.

Right now I believe people are spending so much time on pre-shot routines and perfecting their swings, they have not learned proper pace of play and etiquette. IMO, a pre-shot routine is important, but like tempo, there is a misunderstanding going on here. Just like people misunderstand good tempo for a slow tempo, they misunderstand a pre-shot routine for a long routine. All a good pre-shot routine entails is doing the same thing every time. It doesn’t mean having a 10 step routine on lining up every body part to 12 different blades of grass you have picked out. Too many steps will be impossible to repeat without thinking and that is the point…something repeatable and thoughtless so it is a routine.

A long drawn out routine is very bad, as it requires too much thinking. In addition, having too many swing thoughts will cause you to stand over the ball going over your checklist. Not only is having too many thoughts impossible to execute, standing over the ball will cause you to freeze up your posture. You are risking a bird thinking you’re a statue and doing his business on you and you are going to lock up you turn.

On top of all this, you are being rude to everyone on the course. Doesn’t it bother you when someone is driving 45 MPH in the left lane on the freeway? Guess what, you are driving 45 mph on a one lane road and there is no passing lane.

BTW, if there are open holes in front of you, let the group behind you play through…then play faster to keep up with them. And please don’t give me any of this, “singles have no status on the course,” nonsense. That is an outdated concept that is now even addressed in the rules of golf. Not only should you let singles through with open holes, encourage it happily.

(If you get angry easily, don’t read the next paragraph. I am prone to hyperbole for effect, but I have witnesses that will verify this account as being true)

One day I was in the middle of a 6 hour round and I was angry. So was everyone in my group and the two groups in front of us and behind us that we saw often on the tees. 16,17 and 18 were all together on this course and when my group reached the 16th tee, I saw what was causing it all. There was a guy on 18 tee who was the slowest player I have ever seen. He would stand behind the ball and lineup for a good 30 seconds visualizing the shot. He walked into it and took another 30-45 seconds to grip, separate his feet and align all of his body parts. Then he took three practice swings. Then he stepped into the ball and took another 30-45 seconds, to align everything. Lastly, he parked over the ball, dead still, for another 30 seconds. When he finally pulled the trigger, he snapped hooked it out of bounds . Amazingly, he went through the same routine again and pushed it into the water. He went back to the cart, put his club back in the bag, walked back to the tee markers and stepped off the yardage to the lake…which was about 50 yards in front of him on a 400 yard par 4. He walked to the cart that had pulled up beside him, picked a club and started to go through his routine again. I got mad and yelled, “hit the ******** ball you ******* *******!!!!!!!!!!!” I flustered him and he rushed and hit a perfect shot down the fairway. Mr. Tortuga didn’t learn a thing. On his next shot he went through his routine again and topped his iron approach.

Let me be really clear. You want a short repeatable pre-shot routine and be ready to play when it is your turn. One practice swing, lineup, setup, one or two waggles and fire. Have one swing thought so you won’t get confused and park over the ball…and let faster groups play through. These simple rules will help everyone play better golf and more enjoyable golf…including you. Playing faster helps you get in a rhythm and that leads to lower scores.




  1. TonyK

    “I got mad and yelled, “hit the ******** ball you ******* *******!!!!!!!!!!!” I flustered him and he rushed and hit a perfect shot down the fairway. Mr. Tortuga didn’t learn a thing. On his next shot he went through his routine again and topped his iron approach.”

    LOL, classic!

    Slow people have no place on the golf course. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an aspiring tour pro. Playing at the proper pace should be one of the first rules of etiquette anyone should learn. It should be as basic as knowing to shake hands during introductions. Anyone who thinks playing slow is OK should keep their *&#$$&%&$*%-ing fat-#$*@$$ away from the golf course. End of story.

  2. meateater

    Monte, Please keep harping on this subject. Maybe, just maybe, someone will recognize themselves and realize they have a problem. Of course, the real problem comes from the Tour, where they think 4 1/2 hours for a twosome shooting in the 60’s is reasonable. That guy you yelled at sounds an awful lot like Jim Furyk, with his ridiculous putting routine.

    One cause of slow play that is not so easy to deal with is high end courses that are too tough for the people who play them. I used to belong to a local resort course that was just great, but it was tight and had a lot of trouble. The typical resort guest on a golf package who played three times a year just could not handle it, even from the up tees. Long rounds were a given. Don’t even ask about the horror of getting trapped behind a weekday corporate outing. Finally, I couldn’t take it any more and quit.

  3. Ted

    Our private course encouraged and supported a girls high school golf team. They were not a problem. They played fast and let us through when we caught them. They then began letting middle schoolers on the course in the late afternoon when most of us working stiffs wanted to play. I stood on the tee box and watched a middle schooler take her stance and then another 21 seconds to just swing the club, hit a worm burner, and then take another 20+ seconds to do it all over again. They had no adult supervision with them. Complaints to the board went unheeded because some were their daughters. I’m no longer a member at that club!

    • Monte Scheinblum

      Ted, I am sorry to say that is becoming the norm. To much grinding on routines and mechanics and not enough on etiquette and actually playing the game.


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