In this edition of our Pace of Play PSAs, I am going to discuss the best things you can do when you are constantly waiting on the group in front of you. I have found that most of these tips can aid in improving the outcome of a round that feels like being stuck in a traffic jam.
First off, let’s start with what not to do:
- Don’t confront the group in front of you when you are unsure if they are the reason play is so slow. I consider myself a fast golfer, and I got pretty offended when this gentleman recently approached our group and told us to hurry up. He started the conversation with some choice foul language for us, even though we had been waiting on the several groups in front of us the entire round. It was an embarrassing move on his part, and it made every other interaction with him the rest of the day pretty awful. He just so happened to be a single, and one of the other members of the group he was playing with had to apologize for him a few holes after the run-in. Bottom line, don’t accuse the group in front of you of slow play unless you can clearly see an entire open hole in front of them. Also, don’t be the aggressive a-hole on the golf course. It is neither the time nor the place for that.
- Don’t hit into the group to get them to hurry up. Seems like common sense, right? This is especially true if the group in front of you has been waiting the entire day just like you. Don’t be the fool that has to apologize for nearly putting someone in a hospital.
- Don’t go out of your way to flag down the ranger to complain. We live in the age of cell phones. If you must anonymously rag on the group in front of you, use your phone to call the pro shop. Do not drive around the course like a mad man/woman looking for the ranger. Also, don’t be a tattletale. It wasn’t cool in the 3rd grade, and it still isn’t now. The best way to handle this situation is some actual, pleasant human conversation.
What you should do about making the rest of a crowded round enjoyable:
- Be courteous and ask the group in front of you if you can play through. If there are several groups in front of the group in front of you, often this solution will not work (see below for alternative choices). However, if there is some runway in front of the slow-playing group you should approach them, but don’t be a dick about it. If you start the conversation with, “Hey, maybe just pick up the next time you are on your 12th shot” you probably won’t get the green light to play through. If you simply ask nicely there is a good chance you will be able to go on through and finish your round without having to wait.
- Re-play a hole or two. Who doesn’t like playing extra holes? If there is no one behind you, re-playing a hole or two can allow the group in front of you to get out there a bit. I have done this several times over the years, and I have yet to have an issue with a ranger coming up to us and questioning what we are doing. If that actually happens, you can just explain yourself. I highly doubt this would be cause for ejection.
- Skip a hole. This is clearly the best choice when you are in a rush. If the group is hesitant to let you go through, just drive around them and skip the hole they are on. Plus, playing one less hole is a sure way to get closer to breaking 80.
If you are in a big hurry sometimes the only feasible solution is to leave the course. It’s unfortunate, yes, but coming up short on your 18 hole round isn’t the end of the world. Try to find courses with many open times on their online tee time pages. That’s usually a good bet for finding open courses to play near you.