An issue that comes up constantly when the talking heads discuss the state of the game is slow play. I can understand when two professionals playing for millions of dollars take their time to complete a round of golf, but five to six hours for the rest of us seems a bit extreme. When I was a young lad caddying for my dad’s group, we always finished in 3 ½ hours. The last round I played with my regulars took 5 ½ hours. I’m not talking about guys who score in the 100s, either. The highest score was 83. So, what’s happened and who’s to blame?The knee-jerk reaction from most is always people are imitating the pros, taking numerous practice swings, or standing over a two-foot putt forever. In my observation over the years, however, rarely do I find the fault of slow play being caused by the players. When I play my local municipal course that has been in operation for close to 100 years, the 19th hole is always less than four hours away. The number one culprit responsible for slow play these days is course design. My local muni length is 6,214 yards. The average newer course now stretches well over 7,000. That right there probably adds half an hour. Add in the eight or ten bunkers each hole seems to have, green speeds of 12 on the Stimpmeter, and another hour can easily be go by. Don’t forget the 300-yard cart drive often from one green to the next tee and several more minutes will ensue.Don’t just blame golfers for slow play. Sure, there are always some that are the cause, but for the most part lay it squarely on the shoulders of an industry that got out of control and an organization (the USGA) that failed to do a good job regulating the issue.
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