Guide to the Six Hour Round

Added on September 19th, 2011 by
Posted in Slow play

Slower play; a user’s guide


Are other, fast-playing golfers irritating you? Tired of being rudely rushed round your golf course? Fear not, friend; help is at hand with FineGolf’s recently devised “Guide to the Six Hour Round”. Simply following these sensible pieces of advice will banish forever the nightmare of fast play.

Now, before even striking the ball off the first tee, it is vital to appreciate the role preparation plays in achieving your full six hours. So, in order to set off, slowly, on the right foot:

1. Be sure to have your mobile phone with you. Place it in the deepest recesses of your, preferably enormous, golf bag. Just consider, you may be rung by your wife who urgently will need to know if you want chips or mashed potato with your evening (and it will be evening) meal. Similarly, your teenage daughter may also need to book a lift from you to her party and you will not want to risk your not participating in her twice required 100-mile round trip. And just think; you are going to be outdoors for six hours and in that time, no business or household could conceivably survive unassisted, now could it?

2. Ensure your golf-bag contains a comprehensive wardrobe of clothing choices for the numerous weather changes to come. These should be jammed on top of the minor impedimenta you might otherwise need, such as golf balls, glove and tees. Next, apply liberal quantities of mineral water, chocolate bars and cigarettes as you deem fit. These should all be of a size and colour that slip gradually downwards away from easy finding and retrieval, thereby requiring intermittent and complete emptying of the bag on the tee or fairway.

3. Load the entire ensemble onto a powered trolley. The importance of the trolley cannot be overstated. Its battery can usefully become tired and weak (after all your bag is going to exceed its operational payload) so that the necessary speed for walking falls below what you would achieve with a pulled hand-trolley. The merit of the powered-trolley’s 3-wheel system, of course is that it should under no circumstances be used on a slope of more than 10 degrees. Yes, yes, I know golf courses do undulate but in this way you will park your trolley some distance from where your ball is, allowing you to inspect the lie, gaze at the view ahead, and comfortably amble to and fro to the trolley selecting and de-selecting clubs at will.

4. Do, if you can, choose a modern course, preferably one operated by a large hotel chain, advertised as a “championship” course. Do not trouble to enquire exactly what “championship” means in this context. Suffice to say, it will be 7,000 yards long, your drives will reassuringly have no roll-out on landing and the walk from green to tee will be a minimum of 75 yards. Notice, too that the greens here will all have three tiers, helpfully designed to ensure you achieve your vital three- and four-putt scores. Modern courses are enthusiastic in welcoming your 6-hour play, rest assured.


At the Golf Course

1. The next key to success is to ensure you arrive on the golf course on time. This means that if your tee-time is, say, 9-37 am, you should be pulling into the car-park, located 200 yards from the first tee, at 9-37. This will automatically mean that you arrive at the pro shop with a good 20 minutes in hand to discuss the weather, your daughter’s party, the curse of others’ rapid play and your having left your wallet back at the car. Never rush this phase; those other, oddly agitated, strangers hurriedly swishing their drivers outside the pro shop window are simply trying to distract you from your objective.

2. Once on the first tee, gather your three partners (…Oh, and if there are only two others, or, horror of horrors, only one other, then you must simply go home immediately) and take the next five minutes debating which format you will play.  Foursomes should never be contemplated as it is a quick way of playing.

On the first tee

1. Ensure that once you have tossed a coin to decide the first to play, that person chosen has neither glove, ball or tee in hand. It is then a simple matter to begin the search for these, located underneath that extra clothing you jammed into the bag.

2. Always choose the longest of tees, especially in inclement weather. One of biggest advantages of such tees will be the necessity to walk 75 yards backwards from each preceding green, thereby ensuring you have to wait for the same green to clear of following golfers before you tee-off.

3. Do talk. The importance of talking cannot be exaggerated. Talk before you swing, talk while swinging, talk after the swing and talk all the way to your next shot. The successful talker will achieve a six round with ease. It should be done loudly and excitedly and relate to anything at all and is best done instead of swinging the club at all. Talking is also best done when the listener is out of range and so has to demand you repeat everything until he finally hears you.

(Keen students note: a major spin-off from your talking is the impact it can have on players outside your playing group. While the scientific reasons for the effect still remain unclear, there is a mysterious slowing down in the other golfers’ play nearby. Soon after your talking they will begin to copy your own pace of play. This is especially noticeable among those golfers on the fairways behind you)

4. Prior to taking the swing, ensure you take as many practice swings as possible, trying as many of the clubs as you might need at the particular hole. Under no circumstances, hit a golf shot without calculating the exact yardage to the hole and to every hazard between you and the hole. Yes, there may be a 150-yard marker in view, but do not guess your yardage (what could be sillier?); pace it off properly once you have reached your ball, always remembering to forget it before taking a club from the bag.

5. Should you discover, after hitting your ball, that it is veering badly off line, make no accurate note of its destination. Simply throw your head in the air and stare at your divot. Do not play a provisional ball; the proper time for this is in fifteen minutes’ time. After you have crossed the fairway a few times to watch your opponents’ shots and lost your bearings entirely, you may begin the vitally important job of looking in the wrong place. This activity must be undertaken by all four of you, thereby ensuring that the other three can forget where their balls have gone. If, after fifteen minutes, the ball is not found, you may begin the leisurely walk back to where you last played. Incidentally, you might be tempted at this point to use a bizarre, antiquated tactic, with which almost nobody need concern themselves these days, called “playing through” (I think). You may safely ignore such needless nonsense.

6. Having played your shot, study the clubhead very closely, it may need cleaning. This should be done immediately and on the spot, without taking another step forwards. Ensure your club’s grooves are spotless by using a cloth and brush and, once done, begin the process of setting it back in the golf bag in exactly the place it was before, with its head aligned precisely with its two neighbours, in ascending order and height in the bag. If this should necessitate the lifting of half a dozen other clubs up and out of the bag and re-aligning them too, be certain that you to do so.

7. When deciding the order of play from the fairway, always offer the other three players priority, after which they should offer it back to you. Always politely decline any offer and continue in this vein until reaching the green. The idea of playing your shot merely because you happen to be ready is totally unacceptable. Although the player furthest from the hole should always play first, there is absolutely no need for you to choose your club, test the wind and choose your line of play until it is your turn to play.


On the green

1. Once on the green, ensure that your power-trolley is securely stationed at the very entrance to the green. Under no circumstances get ahead of yourself and start panicking about where the next tee is; it’s not going to disappear, now is it? The merit of this tactic is that the cloth to clean the ball, the pitchmark repairer and the ball marker can be carefully left in the bag until you require them, and no sooner. After politely offering priority to the other three, irrespective of who is closest to the hole, you may begin sizing up your putt. To do this, you must stand, holding your putter in the air, rather like the statue of liberty, and shutting one eye. Carefully ensure you never crouch down in an ungainly fashion to inspect the break the ball will take, or otherwise your chances of a successful three-putt (or more) will be seriously marred.

2. The good news on the green for you all is that, being now so much closer to each other, some really serious talking can be accomplished. After all, four putts will need three other commentaries as well as your own post-mortem. Thus, putting should be undertaken on the “committee” system, with copious bets, jokes, revisions and cursing. When all four balls have been holed, you may begin the recording of the scores. It is not important who does this (as long as they have left their pencil and scorecard in the golf bag at the entrance to the green), but it is important to not immediately know your score. While standing on the green, simply take your putter and, while staring back down the fairway, wave it at every place from which you think you played a shot. (note, to encourage you in this, some of the golfers back on the fairway may even give a friendly wave back at you with their clubs). When, and only when, all four scores have been entered on the scorecard should you exit from the green, via the entrance in order to retrieve our trolley. Never underestimate the role played by recording the score, particularly as the round progresses. Particularly, be alert to the opportunities for mis-recording your score, confusing the par with the stroke index and for completely misunderstanding that boon to the scorer, the handicap allowance. For advanced players of the six-hour round, the R&A, in a typically thoughtful gesture, publish annually a thick, superbly detailed, little book on handicaps which can easily be referred to dozens of times, while actually out on the course itself!


On the next tee

1. On the way to the next tee it is vital to talk (see stage 2 above) to each other about how you just played the entire hole, animatedly pointing out the misfortunes and luck that attended it. Allow yourself plenty of time to decide who should be teeing off. It might be the player standing nearest the tee, true, but is it necessarily his turn?, you must ask yourself. Once it is agreed who is to play away, be sure that (…if it is you…) you do not have your glove on or your driver unsheathed from its cover. These things can be done while your fellow players wait. More importantly, you may want to add or remove clothing and this will necessitate a walk back to your trolley anyway. Resist the temptation to offer the tee to another player at all costs, it will only make him feel rushed.

2. Scrupulously adhere to the above instructions for the entire round and a six hour round should be the safe consequence. It is tempting, I know, now and again, to “cut corners” by such irresponsible tactics as playing in a two-ball, or from forward tees or not filling in scorecards. Resist these ludicrous practices; you will only live to regret them bitterly.


Reader Comments

On November 24th, 2011 Nik Hrstic said:

Deliciously ironic! Should be mandatory reading for all golfers possessing even the slightest sense of humour.
Will be shared with my fellow golf club committee members.
From a brand new fan of the site who is completely in tune with your mission – please continue with the high standard of writing and whole website. Best, Nik

On December 2nd, 2011 No Rush said:

At last,someone talking some sense on this subject. I couldn’t agree more. I can’t stand those that seem to think the game is how quick can you go round in rather than how many shots, and yes if i’ve paid £30 to play there is no way I’m picking my ball up no matter what score I’m on! Thanks for your tips.

On April 24th, 2012 Edward Vale said:

Dictating how others ought to play is an unappealing characteristic. Consideration for all players ought be be sufficient, surely.

On May 12th, 2012 Svenerik Larsson said:

In Sweden we do not have to follow all the advice given above. We have for some time now managed 6 hours anyway by the simple invention of half way huts and a mandatory stop there. We have also banned the idea of letting faster groups play through, with the predictable outcome that we do not have faster groups any more.

Leave us a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FREE, every 2 months
The FineGolf Newsletter

It will keep you up to date with what new course reviews and articles have been published