“Play Through” Etiquette

It’s the dog days of summer and with the heat and humidity come issues with pace of play.  Everyone moves slower this time of year, and the pace on the golf course is no exception to that reality.  Pace of play conversations can be as tricky as conversations about politics – just as heated and irrational, just as based in “I’m right and you’re wrong.”   The truth is, we ALL need to be conscious of pace of play because at times we are all guilty of slow play.

Golf was invented in Scotland and it is their national sport – everybody plays, regardless of age or ability level.  Everybody plays and they have absolutely no issues with pace of play.  Why is that?  Because just after being weaned from the bottle, Scots learn the magic of allowing others to “play through.”  Generally when I teach new golfers the importance of maintaining pace of play, I emphasize the need to stay connected with the group in front; as long as you are within one stroke of the group in front of you, you are doing your part to maintain the pace.

But should you fall behind, what are you supposed to do?  Especially for those players who want to submit a legitimate score, this poses a dilemma.  The solution?  Let people behind you play through.

What does that mean, and how is it done?  Simple.  If there’s a space in front of you, and a group nipping at your heels, choose a hole (par 3s work particularly well for this) where you hit your tee shot, then wait for the group behind to join you on the tee.  Allow them to play through—they hit their tee shot and then they finish the round in front of you.  Everyone is happy –the faster players are on their way, and the slower players can resume their more leisurely round, complete with legitimate 9-hole score at the end.

Remember – the pace of play at Nehoiden for 9-holes is projected by the USGA to be just under 2 hours.  Even in the dog days of summer, players should be finishing in 2:20.  Slow play can ruin a great day on the golf course – be sure to do your part, and learn to let faster groups PLAY THROUGH.