As a beginning golfer, this may be one of the more important articles you will read and I will quickly explain why. The game of golf is difficult to learn and just like any other significant challenge there will be a certain amount of frustration during the learning process. So, if you wish to continue learning and become proficient at the game of golf, you will need to learn to keep pace with the golfers around you. I can assure you that your frustration level will increase if you have a foursome bearing down on you for 4 hours.
Beginning Golf Tips highly recommends that you utilize most, if not all, of the methods we will outline in this article. Doing so will most certainly help you to move along with the other players on the golf course and will result in a much more enjoyable learning experience.
How long should a Golf Round Take?
One of the first questions you should ask with respect to “keeping pace” is how fast should I be playing? This is a fair question because some golfing groups will play faster than what is normal and you should not be expected to hurry along just so the group behind you can race to the finish. The straight forward answer is 4 hours. Now, I will be honest with you and say that I cannot remember the last time I played a 4 hour round of golf, frankly, most of my rounds take at least 4.5 hours and some take as much as 5, but let’s use 4 as a benchmark.
So if we do the math on the 4-hour round, you will find that leaves you with a little over 13 minutes per hole. And if we will assume an average of 4 shots per hole, that’s just under 3.5 minutes to hit your shot and move on to the next. Three and one-half minutes, that doesn’t sound like a lot of time to me, but I can tell you that it should be plenty of time to get the job done. I can also tell you that there are a few things that will prevent you from accomplishing this 3.5-minute task and many of these obstacles can be avoided.
What Obstacles to Keeping Pace can be avoided?
Start on time – Make every effort to arrive at the golf course early. Give yourself enough time to get your golf equipment in order, pay for the round, and get ready to play. Be sure to have your golfing essentials like extra balls, tees, gloves and appropriate clothing for the day’s weather conditions.
Be prepared on the tee – Be at the first tee and ready to play at or before your allotted tee time. Once on the tee, it is usually acceptable for players to “hit when ready.” And it might be a good idea to always take a second ball with you to the tee, if you believe your first shot may be lost or “out-of-bounds”, them be ready to hit a “provisional” shot. A provisional shot, which is covered in Golf Rule number 27-2, is allowed when your first shot is either lost or out-of-bounds, there is a penalty though and you will be laying 3 when you use this option.
Searching for your ball – This is the top “time gobbler” for most beginning golfers. But it is also something that can be easily avoided. There are a few tricks for reducing the time spent searching for your golf ball, here are a few:
- Use cheap golf balls: Cheaper balls are easier to give up on, just drop another.
- Have someone watch your ball: Two sets of eyes will help in finding your ball.
- Bring a ball retriever: These handy little gadgets can make ball retrieval easy.
- Avoid having everyone looking for your ball: They have balls to find also.
We have mentioned in more than a few articles that you will lose golf balls when you are learning the game and you should be prepared for that reality. Buy golf balls as cheaply as possible and don’t hesitate to keep “found” golf balls that have been clearly abandoned (Remember don’t touch a golf ball that you think might be someone else’s). Golf balls can be found at flea markets or yard sales for next to nothing and you can buy them in bulk from Walmart for under 25 cents apiece, so buy’em cheap.
Waiting for Others to Hit Their Ball – This is another easily avoidable time waster. In general, people golf in groups of 4 called a foursome and most often that foursome is divided into two groups of 2 players riding in the same golf cart.
While you are learning it may be best to have your golf cart partner drop you off at your ball and then advance on to his or her golf ball. This will allow you the time to take a few practice swings and then make your way to their location on foot.
It may also be a good idea to take a couple of clubs with you, in case you have a bad shot then you will have the ability to take another shot while you are moving down the fairway.
Important Note: It is customary to wait for others to hit their ball before taking your turn. In golf, the player that is farthest from the hole shoots first. So if you are that person, be ready to hit and if you are not that person, be patient and don’t get in the way.
Be prepared to hit the ball when it’s your turn – Getting distracted while you are waiting to hit your ball can be quite easy to do, so have your club selection made and take a few practice swing, but be ready to hit the ball.
Keep your pre-shot routine short – A normal pre-shot routine should include one look down the fairway to get your aim correct, then a practice swing or two, that’s it. Keep in mind that your practice swings should be just like your normal swing. Don’t take half swings or fast practice swings, swing like you were hitting the ball, but take a couple and then swing away.
Be time-efficient and courteous on the putting green – Just like on the fairway, the golfer who is furthest from the hole putts first.