Ever notice how many people complain about pace of play but nobody ever admits to being slow? Odds are, if you are a group leader, you’ve got a couple aspiring Patrick Cantlays traveling with you.
Given that change most often starts at home, here are five ways group leaders can ensure improved pace of play.
● Make pace of play part of pre-trip communications. You don’t have to be a scold; just remind people in advance what expectations are, and if you can do so with a bit of self-deprecating humor, it never hurts. Crazy as it sounds, there are players who don’t know why they are slow. For example, casually mentioning that you shouldn’t sit in the cart and wait for your partner to hit might prompt someone to break a bad habit.
● Most of us don’t want to be selfish, so remind your guys that pace of play isn’t about them; it’s about respect for everyone else on the course because slow play ripples through the tee sheet. Appeal to everyone’s better angels in encouraging them to play fast.
● If you are the group leader and responsible for pairings, don’t throw your hands in the air and put your slowest golfers together in the back of the pack (I’ve been on trips where this has happened). It might work out for everyone in front of them, but you are knowingly sticking it to the rest of the course and that’s not cool.
● Pair faster players with guys you expect to be a little slow and task them with being leaders by example. It works.
● When all else fails, don’t be afraid to confront someone. You don’t have to be angry and you can choose whether to do it in front of the group or in a one-on-one situation, but when it becomes obvious a problem isn’t going to solve itself, it’s the responsibility of the group leader to step in.
The best way to improve pace of play is to make sure your group is playing at the appropriate pace.