TurtleIf you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I love golf as much as anyone.  And not just playing it – I love golf for its honor, traditions and sportsmanship.

But golf isn’t perfect.  The National Golf Foundation recently found two things:  1) the number of rounds played has dropped significantly from its heyday in the 90’s (some believe golf is in crisis), and 2) ninety percent of people surveyed said slow play is the biggest factor spoiling their enjoyment of the game.   While surely there are other reasons for golf’s decline, these two things must be connected.  Slow pace of play is negatively affecting the game.

When Mr. Egger took me out for my first round of golf (way back in the olden days), he was adamant that we keep up with the group in front of us.  He said pace of play was more important than anything else, including how well I played. To play slowly would be inconsiderate to the players behind us.

And he was right.  Playing golf is like driving on a one-lane highway with a 55 mph speed limit, but the car in front of you is only doing 30 mph.  Everyone behind the slow driver is forced to do 30 mph when the driving “pace” is much faster.  It’s not fun.

But soooooooo many players today don’t keep up with the group in front of them.  Are they all inconsiderate?  And if they are, are golfers the only people who’ve become inconsiderate or is it everyone?  I was sitting in my car literally pondering this question when a woman in a huge SUV parked next to me, flung open her door and dinged my car.  I’m inclined to think it’s not just golfers.

But we golfers need to take care of our sport.  My blog last week praised us for abiding by the rules even in the absence of rules officials.  It should be the same with pace of play.  It’s our responsibility to keep up with the group in front of us. Until we do this, golf may continue to suffer.