Many of my students struggle with rounds of golf that start off well, but then play poorly when their group falls behind. Inevitably, stress starts to build as these players rush through their routines in an attempt to keep up.
Here are some tips that can help you pick up the pace without rushing your routine.
What many golfers don’t realize is your group’s pace of play should be determined by the group in front of you, not the group behind you.
When you reach the tee box of a hole and notice that the group in front of you is not on the fairway and is no longer on the green, your group is ‘out of position,’ and is at least one hole behind.
If you ever notice there’s some space between your group and the group in front of you, don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed to let the rest of your group know.
I advise politely saying something like, ‘looks like we’re a bit behind now, let’s pick up the pace a bit.’
Be sure to say this as soon as possible in the round once you notice you’re group is falling back, as it will make it much easier to catch up. Again, don’t feel intimidated to speak up to your group to let them know its time to speed things up.
Next, don’t panic!
Many players start to feel stressed when they realize they are out of position. This distraction can often be a detriment to your game, and cause you to not only play worse, but also slower.
Make sure you do not feel rushed while actually taking your shot, as this can result in poor tempo and timing.
Remember there are several ways to speed up your play without ‘rushing’ your swing.
One way to easily pick up the pace is to start playing ‘Ready Golf.’ As the name implies, this means to go ahead and play when you’re ready, and to not worry about playing with ‘honours.’
You should always be ready to hit with your club, ball and tee in hand, and take your turn as soon as is safely possibly.
Make sure everyone in your group is watching where the shots are going and ending up. With everyone’s help in the group, you can save time looking for errant golf shots.
Once you get to the green, there are still a few ways you can shave off some time to your round.
First, as you approach the green, make sure you place your golf bag on the side of the green where you would walk to the tee box of the next hole. Also, be sure to get yourself ready for your shot, including marking and reading the green, when others are taking their turn.
Finishing short putts rather than marking them can also speed up your play.
If you’re still finding it difficult to keep up with the group in front of you, be sure to offer the group behind you the option ‘play through.’
And always remember that rushing through your shots can actually slow down your game.
Jennifer teaches golf to adults and juniors at the Chilliwack Golf Academy. She played professionally on tour for over 10 years, including two on the LPGA. She was named the 2010 CN Canadian Women’s Tour Low Teaching Pro of the Year, and is now lead instructor of the Sardis Golf Academy. She can be contacted at 604-798-9805, chilliwackgolfacademy.com, or at Jennifer@chilliwackgolf.com