Playing through!

11 06 2013
"I've seen tectonic plates move quicker than you guys!"

“I’ve seen tectonic plates move quicker than you guys!” (Courtesy, G. Parsons)

I read an interesting article by Gord Montgomery in Inside Golf magazine last week. He was musing on the causes of slow play, one of which he deemed to be somewhat over-elaborate pre-shot routines. “The pre-shot routine used to be a sentence; now it’s a paragraph,” he quoted  former PGA star-turned-announcer Johnny Miller as saying. “Ultimately you play better if you play quicker and you enjoy the game more.”

It’s certainly pretty annoying when you’re waiting on the tee watching someone in the group ahead take  half a dozen practice swings in the middle of the fairway and then flub the ball twenty yards. And then repeat the entire process. Or when you think they must have played a hole really quickly because there’s no sign of them in the fairway and you’re just about to hit your tee shot when you see the entire foursome emerge from the bushes like a gaggle of (slow moving) geese. Just my bad luck that our foursome yesterday got stuck behind a group of players who are notorious at Glacier Greens for their, er, glacial pace of play and their unwillingness to call anyone through, however many holes have opened up between them and the group ahead. As Mr Montgomery said in his article, it’s ironic that we avid golfers can’t wait to get the course, and once there we can’t wait to get off again, but no one likes having to wait on every single tee box. We might be better off taking Walter Hagen’s advice to heart  (‘Don’t hurry, don’t worry. We’re only here for a short visit, so be sure to smell the flowers along the way’), but I’m afraid that it’s just physically impossible for me to remain cool, calm and collected when what I really want to do is smash the little white thing down the fairway, right over the dawdlers’ heads, rather than wait another sixty seconds until they’re safely out of range. Of course, the irony is that once I’ve waited those sixty seconds I’ll almost certainly top my tee shot anyway. Grr!

In the past, one of my more successful techniques for playing through consisted of yelling up the fairway, when the dawdlers were being particularly immobile, in my most exaggerated English accent. ” Would you gentlemen like us to play through?” That worked well until the day one of our foursome took SEVEN shots to reach the group we were supposed to be passing. His face flushed red with embarrassment, my buddy hissed at me as we avoided eye contact with the group, who were no doubt already regretting their decision to let us play through. “If you EVER do that to me again”, he said, ‘I’ll stick this six iron right up your…” Well, no doubt you get the picture.

Only once have I ever actually hit into the group ahead (which tells you something about my lack of length off the tee). The guy I nearly hit clearly took exception, as he took out his driver, teed my ball up and then whacked it MILES back over our heads. We kind of hung back a bit  after that and decided not to go into the clubhouse after the round in case Guy the Gorilla had still more to say on the matter. There was another time when I convinced a playing partner that there was no way he could reach the green from where he was with a five iron (I know I couldn’t have), only to see his ball roll right through the legs of a guy who was putting. When we got to the green the man was obviously still upset and my buddy, of course, offered profuse apologies. Thinking to lighten the atmosphere a little, I added my two penn’orth: “I TOLD you not to hit while they were still putting, Tim!”, at which point it all kicked off again and was only resolved by Tim offering to buy the guy a beer after the round. Funnily enough, Tim and I don’t play golf together any more. I wonder why?

So the main things I took from Gord Montgomery’s article were that a) it’s always a good idea to play ‘ready golf’ (and that includes always being ready to play when it’s your turn), b) don’t faff about with more than one practice swing unless you’ve got a really tricky lie) and c) hit a provisional whenever your ball strays from the straight and narrow – no one likes making the walk of shame back to the tee box or wherever and it keeps everybody waiting.

I would like to add a simple d). If your group can’t keep up with the group ahead and you’re being pressed by the group behind, please make like Walter Hagen and smell the flowers for a few minutes as you wave them through – they’ll love you for it! ( T*m F*sher and the rest of the guys in the group ahead of us yesterday – you know who I’m talking about).

As the great Julius Boros once said: ” If you don’t know what to do by the time you get to your ball – try another sport!”

All da best.

Dave B.




4 responses

11 06 2013
G the SBer

Rather accusatory, Mr Brooker. Now it is a just a coincidence that tomorrow you are leaving the country for an extended period of time, is it not?

11 06 2013
Bagger Dave

Absolutely coincidental, Mr P, I assure you. Our vacation will be a little less extended than hoped, due to a lack of funding brought about by the constant drip of toonies out of my pocket and into the pockets of all those sandbaggers we play with. See you in three weeks.

11 06 2013
Dave Laird

Mr. Brooker,

As Ron Black pointed out to Robin Houlgrave. a preposition is not to end a sentence with !! Not bad for a Tech Ed guy eh?


11 06 2013
Bagger Dave

Or, as Winston Churchill is alleged to have said, “Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put”.

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