Some simple do's and don’ts on the golf course

The Masters is over, and Chicago is starting another golf season – well, at least the Chicago that doesn’t require a kayak to get from the fourth tee to the fourth green on their local course! Oak Brook received more than its fair share of precipitation last week and is slowly drying out right now. The back nine is open for play, and we are currently using driving range space close by, so come on out and play some golf. We are hoping to have all 18 open this weekend. Keep your fingers crossed.

Getting back to the subject, the biggest issue in golf today is speed of play. A few people have even given up playing the game because it takes too long. Most families do not have the six hours needed to go play golf unless they all play together. So here are a few tips to try to get things moving the next time you are on the course. The worst-case scenario is that you will always have more social interaction time available between holes.

Be ready to play when it is your turn: Assess your next shot before you get to it, and if possible have a club ready so that you aren’t the player walking around on the fairway looking for a yardage marker while the other members of your group are waiting. If that is too difficult, institute a group rule that you can play when you are ready even if it is not your turn. This is especially useful in putting if one player has just hit a bunker shot and is cleaning up the sand. He can take his or her putt after everyone else may have putted out.

Putt out if possible: I know Rory McIlroy will often mark a two-foot putt, but that generally happens when there are considerations with the other players in the group. Unless your foursome is playing for a million dollars, you can probably finish up rather than marking that two-footer. Newer golf shoes do not leave spike marks like the old cleats did and will generally not harm the line of your fellow competitor's putt.

Ignore honors: If you get to the tee first, play first. Have the appropriate club out and ready as soon as you arrive at the next tee. There is no need to wait if you agree within the group to do that. I have watched a lot of junior girls’ golf and they tend to ignore the honor system even in tournaments.

If we all did this, rounds of golf would take around three hours, and more of us could play. As a kid in Scotland, I remember playing 18 holes regularly during school holidays in 2½ hours, and if I played in the evening when the course was crowded, the round lasted three hours.

When you have a moment, send me your suggestions to speed up play. Best one can have a free lesson.

Ian Grant is a PGA teaching professional and a member of the teaching faculty of the PGA of America. He can be contacted at Oak Brook Golf Club 630-990-3032 in the summer and White Pines Golf Dome in Bensenville 630-422-1060 in the winter. You can contact Ian directly at 708-917-8951, or at Iansgolf@aol.com.