Course management: 'Let's Go! While We're Young!'

Woman with walking cart waiting for group ahead. Notice how she is ready to make her shot as soon as they leave the green.

Woman with walking cart waiting for group ahead. Notice how she is ready to make her shot as soon as they leave the green.

From Rodney Dangerfield's line in the movie Caddyshack, "Let's Go! While We're Young!" USGA drew the title for a program designed to combat slow play, a huge issue for the golf business today.

According to Dean Knuth, inventor of the slope system, we actually "play golf" for about 60 minutes and walk for 2 hours. The rest is waiting.

So, whose fault is it? The group ahead, right? Many experts have weighed in, and it seems there are a number of factors.

Sometimes it's modern course design. For example, some newer courses have long distances from green to tee, a feature which adds time to a round.

In 1744, the rules of golf said, "ye shall tee your ball no further than a club from the previous hole." Hazards also add time. The harder the course, the more lost balls, and we all know we're allowed 5 minutes to find each one.

Sometimes it's course management, mostly not long enough between tee times. It's the rush hour effect-if you send too many cars out on the freeway, everybody slows down.

And sometimes it's the golfers. If a chain is as strong as its weakest link, the field is as fast as its slowest group. And we all have some control over this.

Women are accused of being slower than men, but apparently research shows that women tend to move faster than men. High handicappers may also be considered slower, because they take more shots, but they can make up for that. But it's not about who you are, it's about whether you're ready to make your next shot!

Walkers are often considered slower than those who ride. On the other hand, many experts think the riding cart IS the problem, especially on days where it's "cart path only."

But it's not about how you get around, it's about whether you're ready to make your shot!

Rule No. 1 is to keep up with the group ahead, always.

For more on this, visit usga.org, click on the link "While We're Young", and become part of the solution.

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