Are You the Tortoise or the Hare?

Greg Ellis
Great Golf Academy
Goodyear, AZ

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Have you ever met a slow golfer? I am sure you know people that play slowly; but they will never admit to being a slow player. This is a huge challenge to overcome. However, with the pace of play in golf becoming a hot topic among the powers to be on the PGA Tour and the USGA again this year, something needs to be done. TALK IS CHEAP! Let’s do something this time. The biggest offenders of slow play are the PGA Tour players, (who all golfers try to emulate), and the U.S. Open Championship, run by the USGA. The answer is very clear. Start by enforcing the rules in place and educate golfers on the etiquette of the game. If golfers will follow these following steps, we can make a difference and keep the game moving at a very good pace.

1) Play from the proper tees for your ability. The game is supposed to be fun to play. When players bite off more golf course than their ability, the game becomes more like work. I like to tell golfers that want to play from 6,800 yards, “When you can shoot 68 consistently from 6,000 yards, you can move to 6,800.”

2) Play ready golf. For the most part in your golf match among your group this should be mandatory, but there are times in the match where the honors play into the game and that is okay, too. With this as the case, be ready to play when it is your turn. Keep up with the group ahead of you. That is in the rules of golf about slow play.

3) Exercise is not forbidden. When you go out to the fairway to hit your second shots, drop your cart riding partner off at their ball and you can either leave the cart and walk over to your ball, or drive to your ball and let the cart rider walk over to the cart after they are through hitting their shot. Walking is allowed on the golf course.

 4) Use distance measuring devices. Most golf courses have the sprinkler heads that are marked to the center of the green; GPS is available for most golf courses on a unit you can purchase, golf course supplied, or an APP on a smartphone, and Rangefinders work, as well.

5) When you get on the green, be ready to putt. Line your putt up while others are putting. As long as you are not in someone’s through line, read your putt. Do not mark you ball on the green.  Once again, if you are not in someone’s through line, leave your ball on the green and be ready when it is your turn.

6) Walk with purpose. It amazes me how golfers act like they are out for a leisurely stroll when exiting the green. Walk quickly off of the green back to your golf carts and proceed immediately to the next tee box. You can write scores down on the next tee, while you are waiting for your turn to hit.

7) Good timeline to meet for each round: Par 3’s in 10 minutes each; Par 4’s in 12 each; Par 5’s in 18 each. This would be a great pace of 4:06 hours, allowing for extra time at the turn for a snack.

8) Finally, leave the golf course better than you find it. Fix ball marks, replace divots and rake bunkers. This can all be done when you are not hitting and waiting for your fellow competitor to play.

Have fun and remember, if you need help with this tip or any other, feel free to email me at or call me for a lesson at 623.328.5107.

Be sure to tune in to the Bunker to Bunker Golf Show every Saturday morning from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. or on ArizonaSports620 or on the internet at for more tips and updates on all of the week’s golfing news in the Valley and around the world. Join Greg, Jim Hill, and Marty Monaghan for a comprehensive look at the golf world for the week.