GolfStinks: Why I Love Taking 5 Hours to Play Golf

Do you know one of the reasons why I like playing close to Thanksgiving in New England? I usually have the whole course to myself, (save for a few wandering souls here and there). I enjoy my round just a little bit more when I don’t feel rushed (or, conversely, if I’m waiting 4 foursomes deep on the tee).

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Yep, this time of year, I can squeeze-out 18-holes in about 5 hours.

Now I know what some of you are thinking: “Five hours!? Are you crazy!? What are you, a tortoise? With no one in front of me, I could finish a round WAY faster than that!”


Yep, I surmise you could. But if you find yourself alone, on a perfect day, on the golf course, at the end of the season, and you blow through your round in 3 hours… I have news for you: You’re an idiot.

What is this fascination we have with haste? Why, when we set out to do something, must we do it in the fastest way humanly possible? How can this possibly make sense for everything we do? I mean, I understand haste when the situation warrants it: “Holy Sh*t! My sleeve’s on fire! Quick, splash me with that bucket of water as fast as humanly possible!” Completely understandable. Or: “Can you lift this boulder off my leg as fast as humanly possible?” Again, nothing strikes me as odd there.

How about this one: “What a beautiful day to be out on the golf course! There’s cool breeze, warm sun and it appears we’re the only group for several holes! Let’s play as fast as humanly possible.”

Sounds ridiculous, right? See? That’s my thought exactly. Yet, there are many, many golfers who are off to the races the second they step foot on the first tee – like it’s a challenge to finish in record time. You know, they have a golf variation for that – it’s called Speed Golf.

Think you’re not a speed golfer? Consider this: How do you feel about a 5-hour round? Do you cringe at the thought? Maybe you just think: “Gee, that’s an awful long time for a round of golf.” In either case, you’re doing yourself a disservice. After all, this is a game you love. You’ve waited all week to play, confirmed (three times) with your significant other that you’ll be on the course Saturday, and spent an outrageous sum of money on new golf balls. Face it, you love it. Soooooooo…WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU RUSHING FOR?

I blame the courses. Think about why 4 hours is the norm. It’s not because old Tom Morris had to rush home and mow the lawn! No, it started because golf course managers figured out they could make more money if they got people to play faster! It’s basic economics. There’s only so much daylight and the quicker they can shove people through the course, the more greens fees they can collect. So now the problem is everybody thinks golf was meant to be played in 4 hours!

Obviously courses can and do put you on the clock – I understand that – they have to make money to stay in business. But I don’t have to accept that as the norm – which is why I thoroughly enjoy it when no one is around me – because I can play at a comfortable pace. Have you ever timed what your foursome’s “comfortable pace” is on the course? You know – if you really take your time and appreciate where you are. Unless you’re a bunch of speed golfers, I bet it’s close to 5 hours.

Look, no one likes to wait on every hole, but there’s a difference between waiting and slowing down and enjoying. Next time you’ve got a few holes open behind you, slow it down and enjoy – you’ll find 5 hours isn’t so bad after all.

Penning articles that don’t necessarily focus on the PGA Tour, GolfStinks churns out content only a true weekend hack could appreciate – from funny golf stories; to product and book reviews; to hilarious (and sometimes serious) golf observations; the GolfStinks blog will keep you entertained throughout the week! Taking the frustration out of golf since 2009!


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