Mailbag: Playing shots in 40 seconds or less

It’s Friday which means it’s time to hear from you, the readers.

This week we recived an e-mail from Mike, a rules official with the Florida State Golf Association. He offers some clarifications on a rule and some concerns about the pace-of-play problem college golf seems to have.

• • •

Asher,

As a FSGA Rules Official I have spent many days at FSGA, Junior events, USGA Qualifiers, and College events monitoring “pace of play” at all levels of competitive golf.

Under USGA Rule # 6-7 Undue Delay; Slow Play - Note 2, the guidelines are very clear.

If you are not in compliance with the rule you will “earn” a one stroke penalty, just like a ball in a hazard, or a ball lost out of bounds, or outside a water hazard. If you are late to your tee time, you will “earn” a 2 stroke penalty for undue delay of play.

The FSGA policy has reduced our competitive rounds about 40 minutes from the 2004 levels, based on my experience.

If the college player would be ready to play (take a stroke) when the group preceding them walks off the green we could get it down in 40 seconds or less. The typical college player  waits for the group to clear the green, then puts on his or her glove, determines the distance to the hole by often walking forward 50 to 75 yards to look at the green, selects his or her club, taking 3-7 practice swings, checking distance one more time, and then striking the ball.

That time frame is often 90-180 seconds.

They should have their glove on, determined the distance to the green and selected the appropriate club before the group leaves the green, and then take one final practice swing, and GO!!!! Now we are talking 40 seconds.

The FSGA has excellent pace of play and as a result we have happier players, spectators, and officials who are flexible in their judgement, and happy to discuss a pace-of-play penalty with any group, providing the group can present evidence that their pace was a victim of circumstances out of their control.

Take some time and come out to one of our many events in the Orlando area, and see how it should be done.

Thank you for listening.

– Mike, FSGA Rules Official

• • • 

If you want to take over Wildman’s Corner on a Friday be sure to send in your thoughts, emails, or questions to me at awildman@golfweek.com.

Have a great weekend everybody!

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