Was I reasonable...?

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I've just (literally) got back from 9 holes at my local. Not very nice weather, but on the plus side, the course was pretty empty, hence why I managed to squeeze on as a single.

I don't normally play as a single, because I know it can cause problems there, but today the course was pretty much deserted. In any event, I played 2 or 3 balls pretty much the whole way round.

On the second hole I'd caught up with a couple of older ladies and they kindly let me through.

On the fourth hole I'd caught a couple of gents in front. There were in their 60s, but neither of them could hit a ball, it seemed. There was absolutely no-one on the course in front of them.

They did ask if I wanted to play through, but I declined at the time and said that I was happy to hang back and play a few balls at once. Both myself and the gents in front were accelerating away from the ladies behind, so there was no issue.

From that point onwards, however, they slowed to pretty much a halt, such that the ladies behind caught up and it was a traffic jam on every hole.

I wasn't that bothered - nor were the group behind - by by the 7th I felt like saying something.

Our 7th is a Par 5. I was playing my second shot into the green (a decent length hybrid, which I probably wouldn't reach), and waited for the gents in front to clear the green and move onto the next par 3.

By the time I had putted on the 7th and gathered my bag, I made my way to the tee box for the 8th to find that neither of them had hit their tee shots yet. This despite maybe 5 - 7 minutes passing.

I didn't say anything, but I did observe their play for the final two holes.

Pretty much every shot travelled less than 50 yards. It was an absolute disaster. One of the guys spent more time in bunkers than Saddam Hussein. Yet - on every shot - the same chap would take 4 practice swings, only to duff it anyway.

He took the 4 practice swings even if he was playing a shot 10 yards from where he had previously duffed it.

At the end of the round I walked past them and he asked me how I did. When I asked him the same he chuffed that he'd gone round in 162.

At that point, I was very very polite to him and said that - just for future reference - he really ought to think more carefully about how he could speed up play. I told him - all very politely and amicably - that every time I saw him reach a green, he'd leave his trolley in the wrong place and so would waste 30 seconds walking back to grab it.

He would never have his club ready for the next tee shot - he'd spend 30 seconds appraising every lie before considering club selection.

I told him that he doesn't need to take 4 practice swings each time.

All of this was said very sensitively and very politely - and he was quite sheepish in response. I wasn't meaning to be rude, but there comes a limit to what you can tolerate.

In hindsight, I know I should have let them play me through, but is it now time - finally - for the R&A to agree some kind of rules enforcement to do something about slow play.

This guy went round in 162. He really couldn't hit a golf ball to save his life (nor could his partner).

So, three things:

1) Was I right to have said what I said to him, or was I rude?

2) Should there be a minimum standard for players to play on a golf course? Obviously it's not strictly enforceable, but going round in 162 is a bit of a joke, no?

3) Should golf instructors be obliged - or encouraged - to offer lessons on golf etiquette to their students? My assumption is that it's something you just pick up as you go along, but more could be done to educate people as to what causes slow play and what they should do to avoid it?

The result? 9 holes of golf in 2:35hrs as a single.

Bit of an unfunny joke really.
 

FaldosJumper

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I've been asked to play through before and refused it but when I caught them up on the tee after it became obvious they were very slow I said, I think I'll take you up on the offer if you don't mind and away you go. No upseting an old guy who'd obvioulsy enjoyed his round and seemed quite friendly and chatty only to be corrected on his game ;)

Learn from this and bite his hand off next time :)
 
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Just following up on my second point.

What I meant was, should beginners be encouraged to stick to a driving range until they reach a certain standard?

E.g. if you can't hit a driver 100 yards, for example. Or you can't actually get a ball up into the air?

Would it be devastating to the game to require someone to obtain 'sign-off' from a PGA instructor before going onto a course - almost like an informal assessment that someone is good enough to play?

Not only would this encourage more people to take lessons (to get certified), but it would keep muppets off the course (unless courses intentionally opened themselves up to non-certified players)?

Bit elitist I know, but I just struggle to see what benefit someone could possibly get duffing it 20 yards every time.
 

6inchcup

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i could comment about high h/c players (say 18 and above) holding up single figure players on the course but the torrent of abuse would be intolerable,firstly you should have gone through when given the chance,secondly no one has the wright to tell anybody they are not good enough to enjoy a game of golf and that's what it seemed they were doing,would it have been different if the were 20 year olds who had just bought the gear that morning and started to play the same day.
 

GreiginFife

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I think you were reasonable as long as you were calm and polite as stated.
Golf is a game for all levels and as the course was deserted they maybe didn't think about the effect they were having. 162 is a lot of shots but then to a Cat 1 golfer 90+ shots might feel the same to them. But we have to accept that people play golf because they love the game (social as well) and sometimes people don't mind that they aren't good at it.
I think you handled the situation well and that this gent might think in future now so you have potentially improved the game for him unknowingly.
I'm not so sure about the slow play rule enforcement, how do you enforce that outside of competition play? If I'm playing a bounce game how am I punished/penalised for slow play? Would that penalty cause any concern to me outside of competitive play?

Well done though on keeping your cool.
 

DaveM

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No joke really. You were invited to play though. So your fault not theirs. So keep your mouth tightly shut next time. Play though when invited to. One day you will play like them. By the way are you allowed to play more than one ball around your course! We are not at ours.
 
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Next time you will remember to play through, the only thing i would have took offence to would be you telling me i do not need to take 4 practise swings, the bit about the trolley seems fine and saying about speeding it up a bit is fine, but not saying to him he needs to practise his swing less.
 

FaldosJumper

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Just following up on my second point.

What I meant was, should beginners be encouraged to stick to a driving range until they reach a certain standard?

E.g. if you can't hit a driver 100 yards, for example. Or you can't actually get a ball up into the air?

Would it be devastating to the game to require someone to obtain 'sign-off' from a PGA instructor before going onto a course - almost like an informal assessment that someone is good enough to play?

Not only would this encourage more people to take lessons (to get certified), but it would keep muppets off the course (unless courses intentionally opened themselves up to non-certified players)?

Bit elitist I know, but I just struggle to see what benefit someone could possibly get duffing it 20 yards every time.
You really are trying to upset a lot of the forums readership with this one :) ... anyone who pays are entitled to do what they wish so answer your questions; no! and to turn it round to you, did you do all the above?? :)
 
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No joke really. You were invited to play though. So your fault not theirs. So keep your mouth tightly shut next time. Play though when invited to. One day you will play like them. By the way are you allowed to play more than one ball around your course! We are not at ours.
We are allowed to play more than one ball round ours.

Bit harsh to suggest I keep my mouth shut? I was offering very polite constructive advice.

I do get that golf is a social hobby as much as a sport, but coming at it from towards the younger age bracket, I've tried very hard not to speak too starkly - up to now.

Specifically - now that you've got me onto it - I DO think that something should be done to separate the 'social' golfers from the 'sporty' golfers.

The reason I didn't play through was because - up to then - the older guys were playing at the same pace as me (roughly). After I declined, they started playing much slower, and finding pretty much every hazard on the course.
 

USER1999

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Next time you will remember to play through, the only thing i would have took offence to would be you telling me i do not need to take 4 practise swings, the bit about the trolley seems fine and saying about speeding it up a bit is fine, but not saying to him he needs to practise his swing less.
Junk.

162 shots, 648 practice swings (assuming he does it with putts). This is equivalent to 10 rounds of golf for me, roughly. No one should be allowed to faff about like this. How much worse would he have played without any practice swings? When he gets home he must be crackered.
 
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You really are trying to upset a lot of the forums readership with this one :) ... anyone who pays are entitled to do what they wish so answer your questions; no! and to turn it round to you, did you do all the above?? :)
Yes, I did do ALL of the above. Every single one. As I do every time I play, because it's called good etiquette.

I'm not trying to offend anyone, but - like you (I hope) - I get a bit fed up of so much discussion around slow play with absolutely nothing ever done about it.
 
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Junk.

162 shots, 648 practice swings (assuming he does it with putts). This is equivalent to 10 rounds of golf for me, roughly. No one should be allowed to faff about like this. How much worse would he have played without any practice swings? When he gets home he must be crackered.
It was worse than this. He would take 4 practice swings, duff it around 10 yards then would re-appraise his lie again, change clubs and duff it, even though the shot was pretty much identical.

To illustrate how bad it was, I saw three shots where he clipped the ball a few inches forward (not off the tee), and 2 occasions where he didn't get the ball beyond the ladies tee.
 

Curls

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Tricky one. You should without question have played through when offered, from that point on those guys assumed you were happy to plod along behind them, so as far as they were concerned there was no issue with time-wasting. They could afford to spend all day out there and assumed you could too, so while not being harsh your comments on speeding up play probably took him by surprise. In his mind if you were that concerned you would have played through. I don't think its fair either to tell him he doesnt need 4 practise swings. We all have our routine however loose it may be and if he needs 4 swings then he takes them. The course-awareness stuff is valid. Not that I think this was rude, but its really not going to affect the next time he plays, its always going to take him ages, the only way they can play golf is to go out at quiet times and let people through, when you declined that was curtains, you'll know better next time! My gripe would be at the folk who play like this and never look behind them or offer you through, and theres plenty about. This guy is just useless, but there's nothing in the rules that says you should have a minimum competence level before going on a course and there never will be, it couldn't be enforced and I dont think it would be fair, everyone should be allowed enjoy golf no matter their level and as long as they dont hold folk up theres no problem.
What I would like is a system where if you are holding up play you are penalised for not letting people through, and good etiquette to be enforced. We don't have a marshal but I can't understand why the pro cant buggy out on the course every couple of hours and see where the congestion is and enforce playing-through on slow groups, repeat offenders asked to leave the course, or watch folk approaching a green and if they fail to even look for (let alone repair) a pitch mark as I have seen too many times they would be asked to end their round, that would end a lot of frustration and eventually cut out this behaviour. I feel for you chap I do cos its a long time around but unfortunately you were master of your own demise there.
On point 3 again thats a tricky one, people who have poor etiquette often don't know they have poor etiquette, and are too long in the tooth to be told by some whipper-snapper theyre doing something wrong. By far the worst proponents of the "this is my course and Im not letting anyone through no matter how much quicker they are then me" brigade are middle aged and older gentlemen, and short of some figure-head like the pro telling them to cop on and stop holding everyone up they will do as they please, its just the way it is Im afraid and more than a problem with rules or enforcement its a people-problem.
In summary you weren't rude, but you gave up your rights to complain by declining the gent, and though there unlikely to be rules in place to stop people playing slowly there should be something in place to make them aware of keeping a busy course flowing.
 

DaveM

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I do get that golf is a social hobby as much as a sport, but coming at it from towards the younger age
Specifically - now that you've got me onto it - I DO think that something should be done to separate the 'social' golfers from the 'sporty' golfers.
I'm sorry but that is just pure arrogance. Thank goodness we have no one like that at our club (if we do I have not met them yet).
 

FaldosJumper

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Yes, I did do ALL of the above. Every single one. As I do every time I play, because it's called good etiquette.

I'm not trying to offend anyone, but - like you (I hope) - I get a bit fed up of so much discussion around slow play with absolutely nothing ever done about it.
Barry, are you referring to your 1st posting or the 2nd one as I was and what I copied in?
 

GreiginFife

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The reason I didn't play through was because - up to then - the older guys were playing at the same pace as me (roughly). After I declined, they started playing much slower, and finding pretty much every hazard on the course.
Do you ever feel yourself starting to wane during a round? Getting a bit tired and your swing and game starts to suffer?
Imagine that but magnified several times, that's probably how these older guys were feeling - off to a good start but then fading as the round went on.
 
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I'm sorry but that is just pure arrogance. Thank goodness we have no one like that at our club (if we do I have not met them yet).
I don't mean to come across as arrogant, because I am not.

The simple truth - which might sting - is that golf to young people is more of a sport whereas golf to older players is more of a pasttime. You can argue all you like about that, but speak to anyone under 20 playing now and they'll tell you they view it as a sport above all else!

With that in mind, I refer you to:

http://www.randa.org/en/Rules-and-Amateur-Status/Pace-of-Play.aspx

Two-ball rounds should take no longer than 3:10hrs
Three-ball rounds should take no longer than 3:30hrs
Four-ball rounds should take no longer than 3:50hrs

The R&A would tend to agree with my view, which is that anyone playing that slowly is playing unacceptably slow.

I would argue very strongly that if it takes over 4 hours for a round of golf then many people are going to be put off from playing, given the time pressures on most people in the modern day and age.

I would also suggest that the sport of golf is a bit like cycling was in 1990. Cycling used to be an old man's sport (and for many cycling clubs, sadly still is). With the Brazil Olympics featuring it there's a huge opportunity to get more people playing - with the inevitable influx of young players this will bring - but many will be lost if they learn that to play a round of golf you'll need to allocate 5 hours.
 
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Barry, are you referring to your 1st posting or the 2nd one as I was and what I copied in?
Sorry - crossed wires! I was referring to me doing all the things I accused them of not doing (e.g. I ensure I have got my driver/3 wood/etc out before the next tee shot, I position my bag to make a quick getaway and so on).
 

6inchcup

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it has often got me thinking when people moan how long they spend on the course,who says it should be a race and the fastest wins,i put my golf into two categories social and competition if going for a social knock i will play few holes and if it gets slow normally jump onto the practice area for an hour or so,no problem as this is what i am doing anyway and just practicing,in comp. golf the pace is normally controlled by the group in front and very little i can do about it so get into a mind set for the pace,to state that NO ONE who isn't to your standard should not be allowed to be on the course when you are is just arrogant,what would you do if a single figure player was putting his drives past you on every hole when you had played 2 shots and told YOU to get off the course because you were slowing him down,golf is a social game that should be enjoyed by all abilities not just the young and agile.
 
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