Everyone knows that just as in politics there are some very distinct and unambiguous dividing lines between golfers. For instance, there is the Jack or Arnie, the overlap or interlock, the one plane or two plane, the US Open or British Open, the ProV1 or ProV1x and the one we have the most experience with here at QOD Golf; walking or riding. When it comes to walking the golf course the top concern for those who are against it is generally pace of play. It’s a very common misconception that it takes longer to walk the course than it does to ride in a cart. Pace of Play is such a large subject in Golf that the USGA has dedicated tremendous amounts of time and money to conduct research and provide resources on how to help speed things up. We wanted to share a few examples of how walking the golf course can actually speed up the pace of play.
It’s not always the guy that shoots 120 its very often the guy that shoots 94. You don’t have to have a great swing and be a great golfer to know how to play the game fast. A large part of this is being ready to hit your shot when it is your turn. This includes being ready for your actual tee time as well. Obviously, you can be ready for your shot both while walking or riding. The one key advantage we see here for walking with an electric golf caddy is that when you are approaching your shot from a few hundred yards back the walk gives you the time needed to visualize your plan of attack. Very often when riding in a cart you drive over and approach your shot from the side and your brain didn’t have quite enough time to visualize your next shot, therefore you start that process when you arrive at your ball adding time to your round and to the group behind you!
Poor golf cart management is probably one of the most frustrating things to witness while playing a round of golf. We are golfers just like you and we know you have seen this. Larry is 55 yards from the green and Joe is 50 yards from the green, while Larry is hitting Joe is sitting in the cart. When Larry is done he gets in and they pull up five yards for Joe to hit. Joe hits and Larry parks the cart on the front left side of the green because that’s where his ball is, yet the hole is in the back right corner. Larry putts and then realizes that his ball marker is back over in the cart, so he walks from the back right of the green to the front left, gets the ball marker and heads back over to make his putt. Larry and Joe both three putt, put the flag in and walk back across the green again to where they originally parked their cart. SO much time wasted! In a study that the USGA did on Golf Carts and their impact on the game they stated the following in regards to pace of play and carts; The extra time needed to walk from the cart to a golf ball is significant and creates an unpleasant golf experience for many. This is particularly true when you are unsure of what club is needed prior to hitting your next shot.(USGA Golf Cart Study) So how does walking with an electric golf caddy speed this up? Your clubs, your ball marker, your towel, your divot repair tool is all right there with you, just a few feet from the hole if you so choose. Even better still, this can happen on cart path only days! Try to convince us that won’t save some time.
Remember that gripping routine that Sergio Garcia had when he would grip and regrip the club 17 times before he could pull the trigger. It was tough to watch and added another level of entertainment to the game of golf but these type of pre-shot routines are just not necessary for the average golfer. (We are not so sure it was ever necessary for Sergio either but that’s for another blog post) A solid pre-shot routine is absolutely recommended but the best of these call for some mental preparation and at most one practice swing. Anything past that is not really going to help your score and it’s certainly not going to help your pace of play. When you walk with an electric caddy you can walk directly to your shot without having to stop at your partner's ball first. This gives you time to take a practice swing before it’s even your turn while others are still preparing to hit their shots.
Another guaranteed way to save time on the golf course is to be honest with yourself. It’s not always fun to accept that it’s time to move up from the tips or time to move forward to the “senior” tees but it’s a reality we all must face at some point. The USGA and PGA of America got together and put the Tee it Forward campaign into action. The idea is that golf is a more enjoyable game when you are playing it at the right “level”. The results of the Tee it Forward campaign have been overwhelmingly positive. The website claims that for those that chose to Tee it Forward 56 percent played faster, 56 percent are likely to play golf more often, 83 percent hit more-lofted clubs into greens, 85 percent had more fun, 93 percent will TEE IT FORWARD Golf is a really hard game and that’s also why it’s so addictive but playing from the wrong tees can be like trying to run a marathon before you complete a 5k. Certainly, playing from the correct tee can be done from a cart or while walking but it’s a large part of speeding up pace of play.
Did we mention that the QOD comes standard with a USB Port to plug in your favorite GPS range finder? Another way to speed up pace is to become a better predictor of yardage/distance. Pro golfers have a general idea of how far away they are from the hole and what club they need long before their caddy tells them the yardage and the wind direction. They have a “feel” for these distances and over time it’s something that can be learned by the average golfer. We have all played with the guy that finds the 200-yardage marker and is walking backwards to his ball saying 215, 216, 217 and you know he hasn’t hit a ball more than 185 yards since 1997. If he had better feel for his yardages/clubs he could walk up to that shot see the 200 marker several yards in front of him and decide to hit his hybrid. Let’s face it he’s not getting to the green unless he thins it and then hits the cart path twice. So how does having an electric golf caddy help with this process? Walking the golf course actually does help you with developing feel. Have you ever seen a pro golfer get to their ball on the green and not walk to the hole and then back to their ball? They always walk to the hole because they are giving their brain a chance to feel the distance, the direction and the terrain. If you walk enough golf courses, especially your home course, especially not being completely exhausted from carrying your bag, you will start to have this feel and course knowledge that only walking can create. This is not only going to help your pace of play when it comes to quickly being able to choose a club but it will no doubt help your scores as well.
Pace of Play is a huge deterrent keeping young working professionals and families from playing golf. Finding solutions to the pace of play issue not only helps current golfers but it helps non-golfers become golfers ultimately protecting the future of the game we love. When we hear that people think walking has a negative effect on pace of play it really bothers us. We have seen the studies, we have tried it ourselves it truly adds no time and, in most situations, it actually saves quite a bit of time. Recreational Golf leagues at public and private courses across the country are starting to allow players to walk again because this misconception is just not justified. It’s a great for the game and great for golfers because it opens doors to some tremendous health benefits that have been pushed to the side for years while the golf cart became so popular (at courses who wanted to increase revenue).
We are golf purists who believe the game is meant to be walked, we also believe it makes more sense to take care of your body in the process and use an electric golf caddy. If you have stories or experiences that share our love of walking please feel free to share those with us and as always, please remember to enjoy the walk.
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