One of the hotter topics in the world of online golf discussions is the pace of play, or to be more accurate, the scourge of the slow player, that ubiquitous but still anonymous miscreant who’s messing up everything for the rest of us. Don’t get me wrong. I like a fast round as much as the next guy, but I do have an issue with how this topic is addressed.
Basically the discussions are as one-sided as an AM radio talk show where every caller tries to outdo the other complaining about the Kenyan Socialist living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Strangely enough we have a topic that has people really worked up, which in and of itself implies that this is no minor or infrequent problem, and yet everybody appears to be a victim and nobody is a perpetrator. If this is such a huge problem, one that threatens the very future of the game as some claim, then where are all the slow players? Hell, it’s the internet. Make up a name and stick up for yourself and your posse! But no. Total radio silence.
So let me break this vow of silence. I’m going to stand up (virtually speaking of course) and say, “Hi, I’m Paul and I’m a slow player,” to which the rest of you out there (again in a strictly virtual sense) will respond, “Hi, Paul.”
So what’s my story? Hey, I don’t know, it just kind of happened that way. I don’t want to be slow, and I do try to follow the principles of ready play such as reading my putts before it’s my turn, or positioning myself behind my ball before it’s my turn to hit. As I have described in this blog and in my book (hey, did I mention that I’ve written a book?), I can have a hard time getting comfortable over a shot and since I know that a tense swing is a bad swing, sometimes I have to go through a series of minor epileptic convulsions before the takeaway can begin. I’m working on relaxing over the ball, and I do feel like I am making progress in this regard which is helping my pace of play, but the fact remains that I am apparently incapable of blithely strolling up to my ball, picking a target and just letting it rip. Does that mean I should have my clubs confiscated? Believe me, I’d like to be faster, if only because I know that would lead to better play as well.
So now that I’ve outed myself where do we go from here? Well, let’s do this. Let’s have a more extended and nuanced discussion about the pace of play than the typical “slow play sucks, therefore slow players suck” kind of stuff that usually gets tossed around in this sort of forum. We’ll do a little Nassau here: front, back and total, no presses and lots of junk. So let’s meet again here on the first tee. But I can’t tell you when exactly. I don’t always write that quickly.