In Summary

  • The Rules state that the player whose ball is farthest from the hole plays first.
  • The Rule does not prescribe any penalties if this is not followed unless the committee feels that playing out of turn was so that one golfer would get an advantage.

On Wednesday last week, I attended early morning mass at Holy Family Basilica. After mass, those of us that were leaving were jostled by congregations that were coming for the next mass. It would have seemed very logical for the ones who were outside to wait for us who were inside to leave first.

But no, that is not the way we do things in Kenya. We always seem to be in a hurry.

We will drive at 80 KPH in residential areas to get to our destinations a few seconds early. We will jump queues and even form our own because it does not suit us to wait.

Red traffic lights are a suggestion that we may consider stopping at very great inconvenience to those that are following us. This is until we get to the golf course.

The golfer who overtook you a few metres to the entry of the golf club while driving at supersonic speed, is suddenly very laid back. He and his mates will take five hours to complete one round of golf.

And no, the five hours don’t include the time spent on the 19th hole.

They will not consider calling those behind them through because they are “not slow”.

In the few years that I have been involved in administering this game that we love, I have never met a golfer who admitted that they are slow. Not even one. There was one interesting incidence at the Tannahill Shield tournament at Royal Nairobi Club two years ago. There was one group that was so slow that the team ahead of them was two clear holes away after the first nine holes.

As a referee in the tournament, I decided to put the entire group on the clock.

The first person to play had fifty seconds and the others forty. One of the players in the group walked up to me and expressed his pleasure at my intervention and he promptly pointed out the offending player.

After timing them on one hole, the player who had been reported to me and the one who reported, both had bad times. Their pre-shot routines were excessively long and they each took more than a minute to play their shots.

When I told them this, they were both swearing that they were not slow and that they have never been accused of slow play before.

Some people point out the slow players and they don’t realise that they are also slow.

One way of reducing the time that we spend on the golf course is playing “ready golf” especially when we are playing a stroke play round.

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