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The Art of Playing Through in Golf



There is nothing worse than having to wait on slow play… okay, yes obviously war, famine, and sickness are all much worse but in golf, there is truly nothing worse.  I’ll take my worst scoring round any day over  having to stand waiting on every shot or having to spend three hours on a 9-hole round.  I’m not talking Altered Course sprinting, but I want to enjoy a normal pace round of golf!

It’s debatable on how to approach this but there is definitely an art of playing through in golf.

Here are my simple tips to defuse that temper and avoid the anguish of slow play:

1. The “Oh, I’m So Sorry!” Approach.  Nobody likes to get hit into but it happens during slow play.  Most of us aren’t intentionally trying to hit into the group ahead of us but sometimes you just hit the sweet spot of the ball and launch a championship drive.  Try to be overly apologetic from down the fairway (be sure to yell fore!) and once you catch up at the next tee box lay it on thick again.  Maybe throw in a little, “I’m so sorry for hitting into you!  Really got a hold of that one!  Any chance you mind if I/we play through?  It’s a bit slow out here.”  It makes people uncomfortable when people are SUPER nice… makes them feel sorry for being in the way.  Ladies, this works especially well for you!!  Charm and a little eye batting helps.

2. The “Pick Up Your Ball and Skip a Hole” Method.  Yes, it sucks to have to do this but to avoid slow play I’d do anything.  This method only really works if there is no one in front of the group in front of you slowing them down.  Give yourself a par (or if you’re feeling guilty, a bogey) and just move on.  There is no sense making yourself crazy mad over standing around all afternoon.

3. The “Stop at the Bathroom/Drink Cart” Technique. If the group in front of you is taking their dear sweet time (because we all know every round is the freakin’ tour championship
and how dare you rush them lining up every single GD putt) how does a nice bathroom break sound?  Actually wash your hands too.  Each second counts!  Maybe the drink cart is nearby… grab a drink and a snack and chat up the cart girl.  Seriously.  This just adds some separation between you and the players in front of you.  It might not necessarily do the trick but hey… at least you’ve had some relief now!

4. The “Extra Practice” Round.  Okay, so you have some time on your hands and the group in front of you is held up by the group in front of them, who is held up by the group in front of them.  Nowhere to go?  Throw down a second ball.  This gives you the chance to get an extra round in, extra practice, and can improve your game.  Three wins!  …or maybe even try out that tee off with a putter you’ve always wanted to attempt.  Trick shots welcome!

…and if all else fails…

5.  The “Hello… is this the pro shop?” Scheme.  Eh’… not the most noble of moves but if you’re stuck behind the slowest of slow a**holes who won’t let you play through to the seemingly open course in front of them it’s totally okay to dial up the pro shop.  That’s what the Marshall is for!  He probably gets excited to get a little action thrown his way!  Brighten his day and yours all in one simple little phone call.  Passive aggressive?  Yes.  Successful?  Always!

There is a true art to playing through in golf and you now have in your arsenal five tried and true approaches to utilize.

Am I missing anything?  What other methods do you use to play through?



2 thoughts on “The Art of Playing Through in Golf

  1. blank

    The art of playing through? I was expecting a humorous nugget on the trials and tribulations of playing through a group. This article is about dealing with slow play. #1 and #4 I do not recommend and hopefully doesn’t happen on my golf course. #5 should be your first option. Let the shop know they have a pace of play issue going on. Believe me no one on that golf staff wants slow play on their course either. #2, although a bummer can often save the day. If the group in front of you is the hold up I would #1 nicely point out to them that they are out of position.
    Joe Grohman, PGA
    Head Professional
    Navy Golf Course Seal Beach

    1. blank

      I have tried all the above,, but !!!!! unfortunately we play mostly American Golf run courses and they will not enforce the slow play rules and tell their Marshall’s, ” DO NOT UPSET THE PLAYERS !!” For instance, some courses post ” wave the group in back of you up if they are waiting on the tee” BUT they don’t enforce it !! or when we try to wave up the group in back of us, they reply ” go ahead ” which makes me believe they are in no hurry either and probably are out there to mainly get away from the wives as long as they can.
      I would have to say the best 3 courses we play for great pace of play and Marshall enforcement are the Navy, Goose Creek and Los Seranos !!!

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