Sometimes you NEED to play through.
Playing Through Properly
By kickntrue on 6/7/10
By Matt Snyder, ClubSG Contributor

Matt is an opinionated* golf enthusiast from Pennsylvania. He coaches at the high school level, molding the minds and swings of our next generation. His column will appear each Monday on ClubSG. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts and opinions of Matt in the comments. Don't hold back- because Matt won't.

Last week, I wrote about how to properly handle the moments before the group in front of you invites you to play through. Now, I want to discuss how to successfully complete that process. This task can be much easier said than done for even the most experienced of players. Playing through another group is just one of those awkward moments that are hard to avoid. You don't want to rush your game and take a big number on the hole. But, at the same time, you don't want to take forever while the group, which was nice enough to wave you through, stands there watching and waiting. It takes a good balance of focus and time management to effectively play through another group so that the end result is a win for all parties involved.

The first trick to playing through effectively is keeping your tee shot in play. There is no worse feeling than teeing off into trouble and having to spend time looking for your ball while the group behind you regrets their decision to let you through. Unfortunately, I can't tell you exactly what to do to ensure that you will hit it down the middle every time. However, I can give you a couple suggestions that may help. First of all, do not rush your tee shot. Get ready to hit the shot quickly, but go through your normal pre-shot routine. Also, think about hitting a three wood instead of a driver. For most amateurs, I would recommend this choice in normal situations anyway. But, when keeping the ball in play is paramount, club down to a comfortable three or five wood. Hitting the ball down the middle 25 yards shorter is way better than smoking a driver 25 yards deeper into the trees. So, think about clubbing down and maintain your routine when hitting this crucial tee shot.

Get ready to hit the shot quickly, but go through your normal pre-shot routine. Also, think about hitting a three wood instead of a driver.
Ok, your group has teed off and you are on your way to your shots in the middle of the fairway. While you are in route, make sure to thank the group that has allowed you to play through. Even if you have waited behind them for longer than you felt appropriate, give them a kind wave and a “thanks” to show them that they are doing the right thing. If you choose to act angry and ignore them on your way by, you can bet that they’ll never let you or any other group through again. Remember, you want people to have a good taste in their mouth about letting groups play through. If it is something that players dread, they are not going to do it. So, do your part to make it as painless as possible with a kind thank you and a nod of approval.

As you play the rest of the hole, make sure you are playing ready golf while repeating the same process that you implemented on the tee box. Rush to get to the ball and to get ready to make your shot, but take your time as you work through your pre-shot routine. If you hurry your routine and hit bad shots, you are only going to take more time to play through. So, don’t fool around picking your club and studying the wind, but don’t rush your swing either. The group behind you will appreciate your urgency while you avoid making a snowman and ruining your round.

Hitting good shots is the quickest way to make the process short and painless.
Now that your group is on the green, you are almost finished with the event that is playing through. Because the green is often where the slowest play occurs, it is even more important that everyone in your group is paying attention and playing ready golf. This also not a bad time to be a little generous with the “gimmies” for your playing partners. Those of you that enjoy wagering while you play may want to consider pausing the bet for the hole that you are playing through. It is difficult to play quickly when there is money on the line, so I would recommend a friendly agreement on the tee box to lift the stakes for this hole. Nobody likes losing money, but losing money because you are in a hurry to play through is no fun at all. So, do your best to make that birdie putt, but don’t study it like your prepping for the Boards. Be ready and willing to suggest “that’s good” to your buddies. And, as you return the flag to the cup, make sure to send back one more friendly wave and a smile. Walk quickly to the cart and drive off. Once you get to the next tee, all things can return to normal again.

Playing through is never fun for the group that is in front. Whether they are playing slowly or simply have more players than the group behind them, the last thing anyone wants to do is to stop their game to watch others play. So, if you are fortunate enough to be waved through the group in front of you, acknowledge their generosity with some urgency and a friendly manner. Don’t ruin your round to hurry through the hole, but don’t add insult to injury by taking forever to make your way past. Hitting good shots is the quickest way to make the process short and painless. So, stick to your routine and make the hole go quickly by playing ready golf. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be on your way to a faster and more pleasant round in no time.

* Matt's views and opinions are his own do not necessarily reflect those of SkyGolf.

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[ comments ]
WayOverPar2 says:
I agree with your article, you left a little item out that I want to bring to your attention. We always have a foursome and play early afternoon on the weekends or if lucky enough to get a round in during the week. The problem is the golf courses not pairing up two somes to make a foursome and feel like we are going in reverse letting two some after two some through.
Our solution is to let the first two some get a full hole in front of us before letting the next twosome play through allowing us to normally complete at least 2 holes before waiting.
Sometimes the two some behind us will actually pair up on their own doing what the scheduler should have done in the first place.
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