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Common misconceptions about women and slow play

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OK, guys. On this I will concede: there are some things in life that women take more time doing than men. The obvious ones include dating (let’s just take things slowly), getting ready (I’ll be down in five minutes, I swear!) and telling a story (get to the point already, would ya?).

But when it comes to slow play on the golf course, this isn’t a matter of female vs. male. Slow players come in all shapes, sizes and sexes. Once we’re on the first tee, it matters not whether you’re in a skort or a pair of shorts, but rather, if you understand universal pace-of-play principles. With that being said, allow me to debunk a few commonly held misconceptions about females and slow play in golf.

1. Girls get their gab – not their golf – on

There’s the perception that women get on the golf course and become chatty Cathys, paying little to no attention to the actual task at hand or the speed at which they’re moving. And because women are talking too much, they’re taking too long in-between shots, inevitably becoming the source of slow play.

Hate to break it to you, boys, but it’s not exactly sullenness and serenity when you get together on the course, either. Drinking beers and yucking it up with your buddies – does that sound familiar? Or how about all the business meetings and client entertaining that takes place on the golf course? There are just as many instances of men telling stories, socializing and schmoozing on the course as there are of women. But that’s the point – golf is about sharing time with good company in beautiful surroundings. It’s OK – encouraged, even – to share stories and enjoy the day, but it’s important that women and men understand when to chat vs. when to chip.


2. Women are worse golfers than men

Yes, there are some not-so-great females who play golf. But there are also a lot of not-so-great males who tee it up. Point being that if a woman hits it sideways five times, takes three tries to get out of the bunker and then three-putts, she’s no worse – or slower – than the man who’s doing the same thing.

Besides, we all know that person – male or female – who shoots 110 but never holds up the group. And we also know that person who shoots 70 but takes five and a half hours to do it.


3. Women don’t hit it as far, so they have to hit more shots

For the overwhelming majority of females, this is factual – women don’t hit it as far as men do. But that’s why there are forward tees. And unlike men, women have no qualms – and no ego – about hitting from the forward tees. We know our limitations and we know it’s more enjoyable to hit driver, 8-iron into a green as opposed to driver, 3-wood, wedge. And even if the woman you’re playing with doesn’t hit it very far, she likely doesn’t hit it very crooked either. So what does another shot a hole from the fairway or just off it really matter when women are finding their ball quickly and not searching for it 40 yards left in the adjacent fairway? Women might not hit it as far, but they’re also not as likely to get into as much trouble as men often find themselves in.


4. Women are too slow to play through

It's common courtesy to let groups through who are playing faster than you. If there's no one in front of you, the universal code is to let the faster-paced group behind you play through, no hard feelings. 

But if and when the group behind you includes women, men are quick to assume that the women behind them can't possibly be faster than they are and thus, won't let the women behind them play through. 

Not only is this poor etiquette and poor reasoning, but it creates traffic behind you. If ladies are hot on your tail for a few holes and clearly keeping up, let them pass. You'll enjoy your round more because of it and the rest of the field behind you will thank you, as well.


5. Women don’t know the rules or etiquette of golf

It's often believed that women don't know the rules or etiquette of golf, so men may have to spend time and energy explaining the step-by-step process of when to hit, which club to hit and what to do if they lose their ball. Having to tell a woman when to hit and what club to hit shouldn't happen unless the female is a beginner. But save for etiquette on the green – i.e. not walking in someone's line – a woman's ignorance (and indifference) about the rules can be bliss.

Say the woman you're playing with – your wife or girlfriend, perhaps – hits a drive that goes straight but short. It's not at all unusual for a woman to scoop her ball up and go drop it up next to the man's and play the hole in from there, thus making the whole process advance smoother and quicker. Or if she hits it sideways into some bushes, she'll probably just drop another ball or wait and chip and putt when you get up to the green. Women aren't sticklers for the rules, but instead focus on the enjoyment of being outdoors, the company they're with and the exercise they're getting. So while women may not know all of the rules of golf, it's likely this can work to everyone's benefit.


Slow play affects women and men, equally, and we should work together to combat pace-of-play issues for everyone. This isn't a battle of the sexes, but it is a fight to get to the finish line more quickly.