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It’s Not Your Fault BY ALAN SHIPNUCK


PACE OF PLAY is a vexing issue. And while various pledges and awareness programs create meaningful dialogue, Sports Illustrated’s Alan Shipnuck argues that without substantive change from golf courses, lasting improvement will be diffi cult to achieve. Following Shipnuck’s piece, we present an update on USGA and NCGA pace initiatives. - SCOTT SEWARD


Golf in extreme locations is


dramatic, but it also can be very slow.


I


know what you’re thinking: Oh, jeez, not another screed about slow play. Who has the time? Everywhere you


look these days someone is yammering on about slow play. You’re assaulted by consciousness-raising campaigns on every telecast, forced to read about the latest symposium in every golf magazine, and sub- jected to lectures by every starter and course marshal. The underlying message to all of this is that you—the paying customer, the very person who is keeping this entire enterprise afl oat—is the problem. In fact, it’s


worse than that: you’re a cancer killing the game. All the causes of slow play are your fault. You’re playing from the wrong tees. Your pre-shot routine is glacial. You’re trying to be a hero on every par 5 and short par 4, causing endless logjams. In short, you are so slow you’re ruining the game for the rest of us. You know who we are. We are the guys who are trying to play fast. The ones you’re slowing down. That’s right, every other golfer on the planet plays as fast as they can, except for you. You’re slow. But here’s the dirty little secret behind all of the


slow-play hysteria: it’s not your fault. Really. Sure, a few of you could walk a bit quicker, or take one fewer practice swing, or


more thoroughly adopt the tenets of ready-golf. But even if you did all that, it would speed things up only a little. Because all the cur- rent hullabaloo surrounding slow-play has turned into a mass exercise in blaming the victim. The culprit here is not you, the guy who loves golf and is trying his damndest to break 90 once in a while. Golf is hard, and it’s not your fault you’re not very good. Most golfers aren’t—according to the National Golf Foundation,


32 / NCGA.ORG / WINTER 2014


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