Golf’s shot clock: is it a solution to slow play in the sport?

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Did you hear that the European Tour recently implemented a shot clock in their tournaments?

To some, this may seem like a crazy idea. I, however, believe the shot clock is a terrific idea.

Slow play in golf has been a problem for quite some time. Golf courses throughout the world have their own policies on how to handle this problem.

I know of golf courses who track the times of their weekend morning players, and those who play too slowly have their names posted in the locker room. Other courses have golf carts that track your pace and inform you if you’ve fallen behind.

Both are decent ideas, but I’m not convinced that they work.

The European Tour has taken the slow play concept to a new level. Each group is followed by a cart that has a 40 second clock attached to it large enough for the players to see. If the 40 seconds expires before the shot is hit, that player is assessed a one-stroke penalty.

How do the players feel about this?

Most of them enjoyed it and explained they finally were playing at a pace similar to the way they originally learned to play the game. Based on the reactions of the players, I think it’s time for the PGA Tour to try out this policy.

The PGA Tour has always adhered to the rule that players are allowed 40 seconds to hit their shot.

Generally, a player can be warned a couple of times before ever being penalized for slow play. The problem is that players typically aren’t timed until their group is thought to have fallen behind the group ahead.

Has this been successful?

Since 1995, only two players have ever been penalized for slow play on the PGA Tour. Based on this number, I would say the current policy is not effective.

PGA officials have been known to be hesitant to penalize a player for slow play, and players feel no sense of urgency as a result.

Golf has always been a challenge because twhere is no shot clock.

This allows for players to over think the process and has more negative effects than positive. If the PGA Tour can implement a shot clock at their events, this could have a resounding effect on golf around the globe.

Once the tour players begin playing faster, all golfers would follow suit.

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