Tips To Play Better, Faster Golf

Tips To Play Better, Faster Golf

Let’s make slow play out on the golf course the outrage it should be. It is a never-ending problem nowadays and only seems to be getting worse.Here’s just an example of how painful it can be:

Whilst watching this guy hit, the grass grew that much the greenkeeper was on his way back to mow the grass.

It is also an example of how some golfers just think way too much. He would be better off just taking a swing at it like Happy Gilmore.

However, it never ceases to amaze me how often I go out to play, we are held up by the weekend warrior. The speed of play seems to get slower and slower. Technology has advanced through better equipment that allows us to play better golf, golf carts are supposed to make play faster, but why is it that with all these aids, speed of play is getting slower?

There is nothing more frustrating than going out on the golf course and taking 4- 5 hours to complete 18 holes, either in a Golf Cart or walking. Golf Clubs and Golf Courses are finding the need to use course marshals to get everyone around within a particular time.

As Director of Golf at Golf Club Gut Neuenhof ( A privately owned Golf Club in Germany), I was asked to address this particular problem. What we found was a course marshal was not enough. It came down to education. Educating the golfer on what was acceptable and what wasn’t.

This is the main problem today. Golfers are not educated on how to play smart or fast.

The first step we took was to erect signs on every third hole stipulating the time in which the group should have passed this point after their starting time. This was simply bringing awareness to this problem, however it was not enough.

At least with these signs in place, we could start to give warnings to groups in competitions that were out of place and therefore threaten them with a penalty if their position in the field didn’t improve. This had a greater effect but was not the solution and was labour intensive.

The next step was to educate our members. I started running evening seminars where I focused on the benefits of playing faster. As you can imagine if I advertised these seminars as “Come along and learn how to play faster”, I wouldn’t have had any participants. The seminar series called; “Play better, smarter and faster & more focused golf” was a huge hit.

The long and the short of it, most golfers don’t start thinking about their next shot until they arrive at their ball. Well that’s too late. Your concentration phase is about 2 minutes long where we switch on about 40 yards before we reach our ball. There are 4 phases to a great pre-shot routine, therefore better focus and concentration that will lead to playing smarter, more focused and better golf.

I talk more about these 4 phases in another article – developing a great pre-shot routine. However my point I want to make here, is that we only have a certain amount of time to hit the shot once we arrive at the ball. To get an idea of this time allowed, in Professional tournaments, as the first to play will have 45-60 seconds and the 2nd and 3rd player will have 30-40 seconds to play. Now you can see the importance of switching on before you get to your ball.

Most of your decision making or assessment of the upcoming shot should be done as you are walking up to your ball. Ie distance, lie, pin position etc. This is the greatest problem I see most slow players make. They don’t start thinking about their shot until they arrive at their ball and that’s too late.
By switching on before you arrive at the ball, it will mean that you will arrive at your ball with the shot in mind that you want to play, then all you need to do is take your club out have a practice swing, then set up to the ball and pull the trigger.

Steps To Playing Faster Golf

1. Start thinking about your shot at least 40m before you reach the ball. IN this time you should get your yardage, check out wind direction, pin position and all the other considerations required when assessing your golf shot.

2. Once you arrive at your ball, be clear about who’s shot it is with your playing partners.

3. Now is not the time to practice your golf swing, simply to get a feel for the shot at hand. 1 or 2 practice swings will usually be sufficient to get the feel.

4. Once you address the ball and get a picture in your mind where the target is, pull the trigger immediately. The target is not a moving one, so 1 or 2 looks will suffice.

5. After the shot, watch the ball til it has finished rolling and take note of a reference point if it has flown offline into the rough or trees.

Other simple tips to speed up play are;

  • mark your scorecard after you have hit if you have the honor on the tee.
  • once again I stress – watch your ball. It amazes me how many golfers drop their bundle and look away whilst the ball is still in flight
  • Hit a provisional ball if you are unsure of it’s whereabouts
  • Don’t stop and have a picnic on the bench seat located beside the tee box (sorry Daniel – couldn’t help myself)
  • Walk briskly in between shots, it’s not a stroll in the park
  • Stay behind the group in front of you – not ahead of the group behind (They too might be stragglers)

What we found by educating the weekend warrior golfer, the beginner golfer and even the junior golfer, we were able to dramatically increase the speed of competitions and even social play.

These may be simple ideas and just plain common sense, but for some reason it seems to get thrown away once they step onto the first tee. Not only have we been able to speed up play, but at the same time, these golfers have been able to play better golf and enjoy their golf even more.

With the majority of people time poor nowadays, this aspect is becoming more and more an issue when golfers need to take into consideration their families’ time as well.

If you would like to find out more on how to play better, faster golf or how Jim can personally help you with your game, then go to

I would be interested in hearing about your thoughts or experiences on this matter, or if you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

Goof Golfing.

Jim Kennedy

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