A golfing New Year’s resolution

Skip Fumia with assistance from Frank Hewitt and PlayTroon.com

It’s the start of a new year – time to reset the clock, clean the slate, begin anew and on and on. So, what do your golfing resolutions look like for 2015? They might include: playing more, breaking 100 or 90 or 80, or just having more fun on the course! This article addresses this last goal – having more fun by smart course management, particularly by playing more efficiently and keeping up your pace of play.

Our target round for 18 holes of play here at Quail Creek is four hours/15 minutes; halve that for a nine hole round. Actually, our 18 hole associations target an even faster round at four hours. However, 4/15 is a pretty hot pace, especially for a 55 plus community! Though pace of play has improved overall during the last year, it’s the type of thing that doesn’t stay improved unless you work at it. So here are a few reminders – from tee to green.

Choose a set of tees that will provide you the most enjoyment during your round. Sometimes you just need to tee it forward. Be ready to play at the tee box. Mark your balls, get a tee, get your glove, before you arrive at the tee box. Don’t use your time at the tee box for a complete warm-up. If you haven’t warmed up, limit your prep to a couple of swings.

From the tee box to the green (using the 90 degree rule for entering/exiting the fairways from the cart path), drop off your cart partner at his/her ball (with whatever is needed to hit that shot – their GPS perhaps, and two or three clubs if needed), then drive to your ball. Take a maximum of two practice strokes before your hit. Beat the time limits imposed by the Rules of Golf. Although you are permitted five minutes to look for an errant ball that’s hit into the desert, use no more than three to look for the ball and take relief. Once you reach the greens, park your cart behind the greens so that you are ready to go once the hole is completed.

Typically, lots of time is soaked up on the putting green. Line up your putt while others are putting (without distracting the person putting, of course). Once everyone has holed out, gather clubs and proceed to your cart and move along. You can mark scores at the next tee box.

In addition to using time according to a 4/15 pace to gauge your progress, use your position on the course to see how you are doing. Are you keeping up with the foursome in front of you? Don’t let a gap develop and you’ll stay in position.

Finally, golf is a social game, but keep the chatter brief – save the stories for the 19th hole!

There are a slew of other tips for more efficient play – everyone probably has a favorite. The goal is not to turn this game into a speed race, but to move players along at a pace everyone can enjoy. It’s a new year; time to resolve to play more efficiently and have an even better golf experience.