By Jason Blanchard

The winter season is upon us and that means busier courses and slower rounds. As everyone is making their 2021 goals, maybe one should be to pick up that pace of play. Based on a previous survey by Golf Digest, ‘pace of play’ is a top complaint of golfers around the U.S.

The average round on a busy golf course can be as much as five hours for 18 holes, and no one wants to be out there that long. We have always strived for a four-hour round. The United States Golf Association (USGA) has some great suggestions on how to improve the pace of play while not feeling like you are rushing your game.

To start, make sure you play the correct tees. Playing a yardage that is way too long makes for a miserable day, lost golf balls and a score you’re embarrassed to admit. Why not ‘tee it forward’ and give yourself a chance to hit par 4s in two without having to hit driver 3-wood. Shooting a lower score and playing quicker is more fun than saying you played a course that was 7,300 yards.

You should plan your shot as you are approaching your ball by figuring out the yardage and what club you will be using before you get there. Keep your pre-shot routine down to a minimum by not taking more than one practice swing.

When sharing a cart, don’t wait in the cart for your cartmate to hit, grab a few clubs and safely walk towards your ball or drop your cartmate off and head to your ball so they can walk over to you after they hit.

Always try to keep up with the group in front of you. The rule of thumb is that your place on the course is behind the group in front of you, not in front of the group behind you.

Lastly, pick up. The USGA handicap system allows for maximum shots on any given hole or use the double-par and pick up rule.

Although everyone wants to enjoy the beautiful scenery that many of our local courses have to offer, we have to be mindful of the others behind us. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email me at golfguyosprey@gmail.com.