Monday

Golf, Gender and a Pace of Play Predicament














OK. Pace of play. We all know it's an issue, right? There's lots to be said on the subject and I hope to address it in depth in the coming weeks.

But for now here's a personal pace of play predicament we encountered this weekend and I'd love to hear your take on it:

Nick and I played golf with my twin sister Cat, on an ultra crowded course yesterday - it was June 1st, a Sunday and the weather was perfect, so we weren't at all surprised by the throngs. The foursome in front of us were waiting at the first tee when we arrived. It was about 10 minutes before they could tee off due to a log jam of golfers that had already formed. While we were waiting our turn, a group of four curmudgeons men came up behind us. One of them asked about our tee time. We told them, and they reluctantly seemed to accept that everyone was where they should be, and they would be following us. I'm sure the sight of Cat and I chilling and sipping our Coronas didn't exactly delight these goading golf purists.

Well we started our round with a couple of great drives and one pathetic worm burner (never mind who was responsible for that). As we proceeded there were several occasions where we needed to stop and wait for the group in front of us, as they had had to wait for the group in front of them.

Not the perfect way to play but pretty much inevitable if you're playing on a relatively inexpensive public course on a perfect summer day. You just arm yourself with patience... and a beer or two...then you enjoy the gorgeous day and your less than perfect golf round.

Well the fearsome foursome behind us didn't seem to see it this way, and at each of the next tees, where they naturally encountered us waiting, a different one approached, grilling us about our tee time. At the third tee, I responded by suggesting that they might want to just go ahead and play through. Their initial response was a kind of self righteous superiority, but when they looked up and saw the foursome in front of us just a couple of hundred yards ahead, searching for an errant ball, the awkward realization finally set in that they'd be playing no faster ahead of us than behind. However, they did play through, and just avoided our glance when we joined them at the next tee, and the next, and the next.

So here's my predicament, while Cat and I were totally cool with the way this story turned out, Nick was not. He thought it was ridiculous for the men to be pestering us (which it was) AND he thought it was ridiculous for me to let them play through, because they would simply encounter what we had encountered and nothing about the pace would change. And it's true that the pace did not change, however I enjoyed the rest of the round, with a relaxed foursome of cigar smoking Sunday golfers behind us, far more than those first couple of holes with the speedy traditionalist on our tail.

Now here's what I want to know: is this just a gender thing?

I'm pretty sure most men would react the way Nick did and be angry for the remainder of the round at my having let the feisty four play through - while most women would be like Cat and I, and just be happy to get rid of the curmudgeons and enjoy our Sunday game. Are men and women really from Mars and Venus when it comes to keeping up the pace on a crowded Sunday course?