Four Slow Play Rules For The Rest Of Us

If Tour Pros Can Be Fined, So Should We

One-length irons player Bryson DeChambeau

Looking at the golf landscape as summer slides into fall 2019, I can see that this whole slow play thing is still, well, a thing.

In fact, it’s enough of a thing that the European Tour is taking direct and decisive action to stem the molasses-like flow of many players in the throes of competition. Their new four-point plan includes steeper fines for serial offenders, a one-stroke penalty after two warnings within a round, a new tracking system to make sure guys keep up with the group in front of them, and more.

I applaud it. We all should, and the PGA Tour on this side of the pond should adopt these rules ASAP, and others if they can agree on them. If the two top players of the year, Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka, can rack up the wins without dragging their feet from shot to shot, why can’t everybody? Sorry, J.B. and Bryson: Get with the “while we’re young” program, will ya?

Still, we’re talking about a tiny sliver of the golfing population here. What about the average Joe and Jane out there in the bogey-bound trenches?

Here’s my idea: Fines for every obvious infraction against time, nature and the rest of us trying to get home before midnight. Here you go:

  • $5 per infraction for looking for balls that are either wet or obviously lost in the trees, weeds or worse. Forget the new time limit. Just leave it and dig for a new pill. If you carry a ball retriever, you pay an automatic $10 fine.
  • $10 per second for every second over 15, once a club is selected and a shot process is underway. Nicklaus took forever, you say? True, but I think he would agree with me on this one. Just step up, get your pre-shot routine dialed to a few seconds, and go.
  • $10 for each instance of lollygagging at your cart after hitting a shot, if you’re using a cart. If you’re walking, which is, on balance, way faster than riding, good for you. You’re exempt.
  • $20 for actually following the “stroke and distance” rule after failing to find a lost ball. Don’t go back to the tee. Just drop and move on. Sorry, USGA, but unless we’re in serious competition, we’re blowing this one off.

That’s it for now. I’m sure I’ll think of more. Oh, and for all of the above, you get a $5 credit for every ball mark you fix. Take your time.


One thought on “Four Slow Play Rules For The Rest Of Us

  1. In regards to fines for obvious infractions against time I think, “you can’t be serious”. Golf is already expensive enough without piling on. I see that the golf courses didn’t get any grief for overbooking in your article. Or lack of course rangers to keep the slugs and first timers moving along. With green fees at $45 and up, unless you’re playing a cow pasture, balls pushing $50 a dozen, the cost of the newest driver at $500 and now fines for slow play? Here’s an idea that will speed up play…instead of fining the average golfer for slow play how about some “free” golf lessons. If we could hit the ball straighter we wouldn’t have to be looking in the weeds and fishing balls out of ponds. I think your article on slow play was tongue in cheek but my reply wasn’t.

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