Growing The Game – USGA Launches “While We’re Young” Campaign

By Grant Shafranski

The USGA has recently launched a campaign aimed to help grow the game of golf by improving pace of play on the golf course. The campaign is called “While We’re Young” after the famous line from Rodney Dangerfield’s character in Caddyshack. While the title may be light-hearted, the message is clear: pick up the pace.

The campaign will air a series of public service announcements during this week’s U.S. Open that feature Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Clint Eastwood, Paula Creamer, Annika Sorenstam and Butch Harmon (watch Tiger’s in the video at the top of the page).

“Pace of play is a big issue,” Woods said in a statement. “Rounds of golf take too long and no one enjoys it. “While we’re young’ is part of the golfing vocabulary, and Caddyshack is iconic in our sport. This campaign is lighthearted, but it also shows that we need to pick up the pace of play.”

According to the USGA, 91 percent of serious golfers are bothered by slow paces of play and say it detracts from their golf experience.
There is no reason that a foursome that walks 18 holes should not be able to get around the course in less than four hours and ten minutes. I work at a club as a Club Professional, and we have a very strict pace of play in which each hole must be completed after a certain amount of time after the group’s starting time.Our members routinely get around the course in under four hours, which greatly increases their enjoyment of their day at the course.

The next time you play, please help everyone on the course enjoy their day by following a few of these easy guidelines for speeding up pace:

• Play READY golf; be ready to play when it is your turn.
• Read your putt while others are putting.
• Walk ahead as far as is safe. DO NOT move as a group from shot to shot.
• Play the set of tees that are appropriate for you, no matter what tees everyone else is playing.
• Limit your time at the turn to five minutes.
• Do all scorekeeping on the teeing ground of the next hole, NOT on the green of the current hole.
• If you are the first or second person to finish the hole, put your clubs away and be ready to go to the next hole, let the third person to finish put the flagstick back in.
• Set your clubs (or park your cart) between the flagstick and the next tee box to minimize time between holes.
• Golf is a social game, but limit socializing to times when it is appropriate such as the putting green and teeing ground (when the group is closer together), but do so in a manner so as to not slow down the progress of the group.
• Be an athlete, walk fast.
• When on carts, be willing to take many clubs and walk to your ball if your riding partner is not near you, do not wait for the partner to bring the cart to you.
• Remember that USGA handicapping allows you to pick up your ball if you are having a bad hole. You should never putt for more than an eight.
• Help the others in your group, watch everyone’s shots and track them so they can quickly find them.
• Remember that your place on the golf course is directly behind the group in front of you, NOT in front of the group behind you!

We are constantly losing golfers simply because pace of play takes away from their enjoyment of the game. Please visit http://www.usga.org/MicroSite.aspx?id=21474856307 for more information about the initiative and take the pledge today to become a USGA pace of play ambassador. The golf world will thank you!

Grant is a regular contributor on www.golfwrx.com golf forums where this article first appeared.

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