“Golf is a lot of walking, broken up by disappointment and bad arithmetic.” – Earl Wilson
By Ian Hardie
In the articles Are you a slow cart golfer? and Are you a slow cart golfer – part two? I talked about quite a few things that golfers seem to do every day, while playing on golf courses around the world, that contribute to slow cart golf being played.
Now that you are up to speed with those things, that can contribute to slow play while using golf carts, let’s look at some ideas that you can use to make sure that it definitely isn’t you that ends up being labelled ‘a slow cart golfer.’
First of all, if it’s possible – use the time you spend driving to your golf ball to think about the next shot that you have to play.
Obviously the yardage and the club selection can’t (and shouldn’t) be decided before you get to the exact spot but you can use the time to consider the spot you are going to aim at, what the wind is doing, what hazards are in your way that need to be negotiated and things like whether you are going to go for a shot or lay-up.
That way, when you do reach your ball – you’ll need less time to figure out the shot.
Next, if you are unsure whether the golf ball that you have just hit has gone out of bounds, may be lost in the trees or a hazard of some sort – hit a provisional ball before leaving to look for it, so that you won’t have to drive all the way back to play your next shot if your golf ball is actually lost.
If you aren’t sure about the procedure that you need to follow to do that – take a look at Rule 27 which explains what to do.
Another thing that you can do to speed things up while looking for a lost golf ball, is to allow the group behind you to play through – that way, whether you find your original golf ball or have to end up playing your provisional golf ball, you won’t have to rush to play the shot as obviously the group that is going through will take a few minutes to do so.
Take a minute here to think about how useful that actually is!
The last point to consider when searching for a lost ball – don’t get the other players in your group to help you unless there is a better than average chance of both being able to find and play the golf ball if it is found.
Having all of your group spending a few minutes looking for a golf ball that if found would be unable to be played is a waste of everyone’s time and a prime reason why a lot of cart golfers are slow.
Take a quick look on your own and if you haven’t seen it in a couple of minutes.
Play the provisional ball (that you should have hit) and move on!
The next idea is a really simple one that so few cart golfers actually do.
If you happen to be playing on a golf course that restricts the use of the cart to the paths around the course only or (more commonly) you are sharing a cart with another golfer.
Make sure that you take more than one club with you when you walk from the cart to your golf ball (I’d suggest at least three clubs).
Walking from the cart or the cart path to your golf ball only to find that you don’t have the right club is a huge time-waster on a lot of golf courses – don’t contribute to this problem.
Always take three clubs with you unless you are certain that you have the right one!
Another logical but often ignored idea happens while waiting on the tee of longer holes (par 4’s and par 5’s) and to be fair, it’s not only cart golfers who could improve on this.
Unless you are playing in a serious competition or a match-play event (which requires this to happen) ignore the theoretical order of play and let the shortest hitter in the group go ahead and hit first every time.
You can find out more about how this works in the rules of golf here.
Getting the shortest hitter up first each time is especially useful to speed up play when there is a large variation between the shortest and longest hitters in your group.
If someone can hit without reaching the group ahead – they should go ahead and hit!
This same mind-set can be carried through to the other end of the golf hole.
Begin reading the green and lining up your putts as soon as the cart gets near the green as opposed to waiting until it’s your turn to putt to start the process – with one caveat though.
Make sure that in doing that you are not interrupting your playing partner’s shots onto the green or preparations for putting in any way by standing on the line of their putt or moving around while they are playing a shot.
Speaking of moving, once everyone in your group has putted out – move off the green as soon as possible so that the group behind you can play into the green – instead of standing around on the green chatting, filling out your scorecard or having a few practice putts.
The final point I want to take a look at today, relates to this series of articles.
If you’re the type of golfer who likes to offer tips and advice to playing partners – save it for after the game when you won’t be slowing down the players behind you.
Better yet, rather than giving other golfers tips at all – just suggest that they go get golf lessons from a good golf teacher instead.