The subject is slow play.
Fine them, he says. Penalties. Two-shot penalties. A fine. A warning. A fine. And then a penalty. Thats the only way theyre going to stop it.
I dont know how theyre going to enforce it, but the only time any guy is going to pay attention is when you penalize him for slow play. Because its such a disease. And there is no way on this earth that three professional golfers should take more than four-fifteen, four-twenty to play 18 holes of golf.
Nick Price is right. And he is just fine.
Price just turned 50 and figures to be the next big thing on the Champions Tour. Just dont make him wait around to hit his next shot.
Its terrible, he says. The problem is that theres only maybe a handful of slow players, certainly on the PGA TOUR, who make everyone elses lives a misery. ... A fast player has to play at the pace of a slow player; a slow player doesnt have to play at the pace of a fast player. Thats whats so one-sided.
Nick Price has earned our undivided attention on this subject. He won three major championships on the regular TOUR and twice finished first on the money list. The 63 he shot on Saturday of the 1986 Masters remains tied for the competitive course record at Augusta National.
Nick Price swings with a brisk tempo, plays at a brisk pace and talks at a brisk clip.
And Nick Price is right.
Theres nothing more frustrating, he says, than playing with a guy who pulls the same club out three times, then puts his glove on, then looks at the yardage again, throws the grass up, and asks his caddie 15 questions and then suddenly decides to hit it. You know, theres nothing worse, and those guys should be fined.
The good news for Price is that the shop in which he now toils, the Champions Tour, features guys who mostly move slower than they used to but play faster.
Slow play is a little like the weather in that a lot of people talk about it and almost no one does anything about it. But that doesnt mean there arent simple remedies that regular players could follow if only they knew about them.
The whole key is keeping your group moving. It should be moving at all times. If the guy on the tee stops to tell a story when its his turn, the group stops. As in dead, screeching halt.
The answer: Tell your story walking, or tell it when your group is stopped and waiting for the group ahead of you -- which, by the way, is the only time you cant do anything about keeping your group moving.
If somebody in your foursome hits a ball in the bushes, make sure at least one of the members of the group goes ahead and hits his or her next shot while the other three are looking. After that players hits, he or she can join the search while one of the others hits next.
This way the group keeps moving. Get it? Keep moving.
If all four players are looking for the ball at the same time, the group has come to a dead, screeching halt.
Similarly, when its your turn, be ready. Almost more important, is knowing when its your turn.
How many times do you see all four players reach the green and grow silent? Talk. Somebody call out the order: Ray, your away, Jack your next, then Gene ...
If you are approximately 100 yards from the green on the left side of the fairway and Jack is the same distance on the other side of the fairway, make eye contact and determine which one is going to play next. If you assume hes away and he assumes youre away and you both stand around waiting and staring straight ahead -- yes, it makes a you-know-what out of you and Jack.
And how about this suggestion: No golfer, when it becomes his turn to putt, should be allowed to look at the line from both sides of the ball. If you want to check it out from both sides, get a look from one side BEFORE it becomes your turn.
This is not rocket science. Nor is it brain surgery. Nor is it, as one announcer once malapropped, Rocket surgery.
Its common sense. Its courtesy.
Its golf. And it is not meant to be a good walk spoiled by slow play.
Theres nothing, Nick Price said the other day, more selfish than a slow golfer.
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