Having coached for 39 years, 10 of which were at CCU from 1990 to 2000, I observe that lady golfers do play as fast with equal handicaps. This is especially true of private club women 18-holers’ play. To begin, obviously the primary reason is because women play a much shorter 18-hole total yardage course than do men. Typical women’s distance varies between 4,700 and 5,000 yards. Men’s total 18-hole yardage from the regular white tees varies from 6,000 yards to 6,700 and from the championship tees about 7,000 to 7,150 yards.
With maybe about 75 percent of the time to play 18 holes involved with walking or riding a golf cart from one shot to another, I’ve found women extremely conscious of abiding by all the course pace-of-play policies and course signage.
Further, I’ve noticed women play the game the way it should be played and that is:
1. More so than men, women play the ball as they find it, play whenever it’s their turn to play, hit it, hit it again, move quickly to each shot, hole-it-out, add it all up without undue delay and move on quickly to the next tee. Now that’s real golf and shows consideration for their playing partners as well as all those playing behind. Most importantly, it helps to maintain pace-of-play.
2. With their ball still lying in the fairway well over the par for the hole, they pick up and card a double bogey to help maintain pace-of-play, the game’s biggest malady plaguing golf today.
3. They don’t delay play by searching for fairway yard markers, throw grass into the air or study the gentle movement of 60-foot-high tree branches, 200 yards away gauging wind direction or read putts from all four sides.
4. I’ve noticed their club shot selection, pre-shot routine and actual shot execution are all much faster than men.
5. They faithfully repair all course damage caused by their play. That is: divots, bunkers, green ball marks and even damage caused by the neglect of other players as well. They also correctly share servicing the pin for each other while putting.
6. Never does their consciousness waiver, abiding by golf’s 34-set of rules, especially etiquette.
7. When not keeping pace with their group in front and lose a clear hole, they quickly wave the group behind to play through.
8. Women card every stroke taken by themselves and playing partners. You’re an immediate outcast when you fail to do so. And by no good graces can you be forgiven. Depending upon their need, men will purposely inflate their handicaps higher than that to which entitled, thereby favorably affecting their number of total strokes carded. They’re known as “sandbaggers.”
My final thought: For far too long women golfers have been wrongly accused of the scourge of slow play. And because of that very fact, they are more aware that time spent playing golf is entirely in the hands of all players.
One thing is for certain – the subject of recreational and professional slow play won’t go away any too soon. However, it’s overtime to admit women foursomes with equal handicaps as men do play as fast.
The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.