Golf tip: Pick up the pace

SOUTHAMPTON, NY - JUNE 27: USGA rules official Janet Lindsay speaks to a player about slow play during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Women's Open at Sebonack Golf Club on June 27, 2013 in Southampton, New York. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
USGA rules official Janet Lindsay spoke to a player about slow play.

If you watched any of last week’s US Open, no doubt you caught a few of the “While We’re Young” commercials, starring some of golf’s famous faces and targeting an improved pace of play, an initiative the US Golf Association is promoting.

Slow play is one of the biggest criticisms in golf, at times deservedly so. Are you a slow player?

Bill Flynn has written about golf (his novel “The Feathery” is a splendid read), but for the last four years, he also has been a starter and a ranger at Overlook Golf Club, a daily-fee course in Hollis, N.H.


In his position, Flynn sees plenty of slow players, knows why they take so much time to play, and can offer tips on how they can easily pick up the pace. Many of Flynn’s suggestions you probably already know; some you may not. It never hurts to be reminded, though, because a faster round of golf pleases everyone.

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Flynn’s 10 ways to improve pace of play:

 “Keep up with the players in front of you. Don’t gauge your pace of play on an empty tee behind you; they’re probably playing slow.

 “Danger signal: When a hole opens in front of you without a starting gap, pick up the pace. Or let the group behind you play through.

“If your group falls behind, be a leader and tell the other players in your group to pick up the pace.


“Lost your ball? Don’t exceed five minutes searching for it. Also, never hold up the course fishing the water ball(s) out of a hazard other than your own.

“Limit practice swings to three at the most. Practice swings take seconds that add to minutes over 18 holes of play.

“If you’ve already played eight or more shots on a par 4, put the ball in your pocket and tend the flag for the group.

“Play ready golf on the tee. Forget the honors. If someone who made double bogey on the last hole is ready, let him go.

“If you’re not in a cut-throat competition, those 8-inch putts should always be gimmes.


“If you’re riding in a golf cart, take a couple of clubs to your ball so you won’t have to return to the bag for the right one.

“If you can consistently hit drives 230 yards or more, play from the Tiger tees. If not, move up to the ones in front.”

Michael Whitmer can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.