When I started learning to play golf there were many things that I had to think about when out on the golf course. There were bunkers, water hazards, tough lies, fast greens, yardages to consider, clubs selection and it was tough to think about much else. So when my husband talked about the golf pace I thought “why is pace important to my game of golf?”
Why is Pace Important
As a new golfer, I had no idea how important my golf pace was to ensure a good, enjoyable and consistent round of golf.
However, keeping a steady pace and moving forward on the golf course was one of the first things my husband emphasized. He would explain why standing there waiting for him to complete his shot without being ready to move to mine was not a good habit. He would often say, “start visualizing your next shot and planning your strategy as to which club you think you will need to ensure a good approach shot.”
The fact that I was learning on his home golf course, where he was a member and his friends all golfed, made it more important that I learn to move along quickly so that it was not his wife holding up the golfers behind us. Did I say that we used to go out on his day off (midweek) early in the morning when all the guys were teeing off? Mama Mia! Talk about pressure! Then again, I do enjoy a challenge.
So what does pace mean to me and how has focusing on it helped me?
You might wonder, “What difference does it make?” I am glad you asked.
Golf pace to me is golfing in such a way that my focus is not just:
- making sure my swing is correct,
- making sure the ball goes in the direction that you want it to go,
- how good my golf outfit matches (although, some days that is all that matters! I know you ladies totally get that! ) ⇒
- whether I have enough snacks and drinks,
- or who is playing behind us.
Having a good golf pace for me means:
- getting to my ball quickly, as long as I am not standing in the flight of another person’s golf ball. (I do not want to hear “FORE” because of an oncoming golf ball!)
- being ready to take a swing as soon as the other golfer has completed their shot (that means I have already planned my shot and know which club I am going to use.)
- keeping an eye on the others in your group and, if needed, help them find a ball to speed up the flow.
Learning to keep a good pace has benefited me in many ways. I have learned to focus and keep a steady tempo which in turn results in a more consistent golf swing. It has helped me guide new golfers to make sure our round is not too slow. The last thing I want is the ranger telling us we are holding people back! Having a good pace has removed the pressure for me when I play in front of other groups of golfers.
What is a slow pace?
You know you are golfing at a slow pace if:
- Those you are golfing with are having to keep telling you “you’re next”.
- You keep seeing the group in back of you waiting for you and your group to be done before they can play that hole and there is no group in front of you delaying you.
- You find yourself distracted by nature or other players and have no clue what club to use when it is your turn.
- Your round lasts longer than average.
How long does a round of golf last?
The amount of time it takes to play a round of golf depends on various factors, such as:
- size of your group (ie: twosome; threesome or a foursome
- whether the course is super busy with tee times back to back
- whether you are walking or riding a golf cart
- the type of course you are playing (ie: par 72; 9-18 hole par-3 course)
- the skill level of the golfers (ie: newbie; experienced).
On average you should be able to play an 18 hole par-72 course within 2 1/2 – 3 hrs if it is just you and another person. If you are playing in a foursome (a group of 4 golfers) then 4-5 hr rounds are pretty typical. If you ride a golf cart and can drive the cart on the fairways you can play faster because you can get to your ball quicker.
I personally love to walk but it is too hot in Florida in the warmer months to do that. The longest play time I have had has been 5-6 hrs on a very busy golf course where you sit and wait to tee off on every single hole. Talk about tempo going out the window. Might as well crack open a cold one and enjoy socializing at every tee box!
If you are new to golf you might think, “Oh my God! that is way too many hours on a golf course!” But I can assure you that if you experience what I do on the golf course: beautiful surroundings, nature, time with great friends AND totally forgetting pressures and issues left back at the house, you will understand why those hours can be very precious to you.
The balance between the social aspect of golf and keeping a good pace.
While playing golf is a social game there is a balance between the social aspect and the need to focus to ensure you keep your game at a good pace. It is a bit like multi-tasking on the golf course. You talk and you laugh and have fun yet always keep moving along to advance quickly to your next shot. I assure you this will add to the confidence and the level of fun you can have to golf.
I am glad that I learned early on that if I keep a good pace I remove some of the pressure I feel as I see others waiting to hit behind me because I understand that I am doing all I can and if they are waiting it is not due to my lack of moving things along. I start relaxing and hitting better shots and can walk off the course feeling that, not only did I have fun, but I practiced good etiquette acknowledging others were playing behind me.
I am sure that my perspective differs from others’ and we would love to hear your pace related comments or tips.
Remember! Keep it moving 🙂