September Poll Question: Have you ever walked off the golf course for pace of play issues?

There something elegant and timeless about the Rolex Golf Clock...until I get put on the clock.

There’s something elegant and timeless about the Rolex Golf Clock…until I get put on the clock.

Pace of Play issues are not a new phenomenon for the golfing masses.  It’s hard to find a recent edition of almost any major golf publication that doesn’t include an acknowledgment of and possible solutions for slow play.

The USGA and R&A websites are replete with “helpful” guidelines, course management resources, and results of scientific studies that attempt to address or remedy a constant and consistent annoyance for amateur golfers everywhere. One can find a new rant on slow play appearing seemingly weekly within the golfing blogosphere.

Everyone is aware of the problem.  But none of that seems to make any difference by about 10:30 a.m. on any given Saturday or Sunday morning on any moderately popular golf course.

Golfers that want to play “fast” or at what they consider “an appropriate pace” continue to be frustrated by golfers on the course that don’t meet or exceed their expectations.  Newer, less-skilled, or tragically not self-aware golfers will continue to be perturbed by faster players pushing them, bearing down on them at every turn, and the occasional “warning shot” hint to speed up.

Once golfers are on the golf course and they realize there is a pace of play issue, there are only a few options. Especially if it’s a packed course and skipping forward a few holes around a slow group isn’t a viable option.

Seriously, these things are gorgeous until you have to worry about what time they say it is.

Seriously, these things are gorgeous until you have to worry about what time they say it is.

Grit their teeth and bear it? Pray that they soon encounter a course ranger to deliver their ire to the offending group by proxy? Take matters into their own hands? Or simply bail out on the round and live to golf another day?

What can be done about it?  I have plenty of ideas, but really, I have no idea.

Which, most importantly, brings me to this month’s Blog Poll Question:  Have you ever walked off the course during a round of golf because of pace of play issues?  For the purposes of this question, driving off the course in a cart is walking off the course.

All stories and related anecdotes are welcomed in the comment section below.

5 thoughts on “September Poll Question: Have you ever walked off the golf course for pace of play issues?

  1. David,

    Only once and I’ll never forget it. My wife and I were a twosome at Blackhorse in the Monterey area, a very tough track. We both understand that as a twosome we might wait a bit, but we have a pretty good feel for how much waiting is a “reasonable” amount as a twosome and we usually try to relax and take our time in this situation. The course was not very busy, and we were behind a foursome of guys. They were playing the tips and on every hole there was at least one guy who would top his drive, or hit it sideways into the trees. They should have been playing the front tees, but instead they were playing at just over 7200 yards (further than what I was playing from as a 4 handicap). There were a lot of reloads and mulligans. There was a lot of tragic unawareness and shenanigans. Finally by the 15th tee, around the 5 hour mark, we had enough, and zoomed off the course and went out for happy hour to drown our frustrations. I imagine the last 3 holes took them an hour to play, at which point we were probably getting our second cocktail and starting to relax.

    In hindsight, we should have just skipped a hole earlier in the round and went ahead of them. In the moment, I kept giving them the benefit of the doubt as I didn’t think living humans could possibly keep up that charade and be that ignorant, and I didn’t think they could possibly keep ignoring us as we pulled up to tee boxes just as they pulled away after each reloading twice. Live and learn, but it’s scary that those people are among us.


  2. Dave, it happened once to me. Was playing The Legends Moorland in Myrtle Beach and was stuck behind an outing of hacks who for some reason were marking and putting everything. At the 6 hour mark we had completed 15 holes and had to come in to grab a bite and make our afternoon starting time! While frustrating, the story ended well. After our afternoon round, the course was empty and we went out and finished 16-18.



  3. Don’t remember specifics, but has happened a few times. Usually if something else was scheduled in the day and the round took longer than expected. If I’m on a trip I am playing every hole, regardless of how long. But the stories above are terrible. Slow play sucks, but at least let someone play through.

  4. Pingback: Voting with Your Feet: Results of the September Poll Question. | One Bearded Golfer

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