"We hear that officials have to take action, but what about players themselves taking responsibility, as that is the only way things are going to change".
With rounds of golf taking well over five hours to play all over the world, less and less people are taking up the game of golf as it takes too long to complete a round.
Administrators of clubs, golf associations and professional tours are trying to take action, but it's too-little-too-late and now it has filtered into junior golf.
It is common these days for rounds of eighteen holes to take more than five hours and no one seems to care, well almost!
This year at the US Masters teenager Guan Tianliang was penalised one shot in the 2nd round which almost cost him making the 36 hole cut.
Another teenager sensation from Asia Hedeki Matsuyama during the British Open this year also was given a one stroke penalty for slow play. Last time someone was docked a shot at the Open was in 2004.
Is this indicative that young golfers from Asia are being targeted, or is this slow play problem worse in Asia?
I don't believe they are being targeted, but more the case of these two youngsters not being familiar with the rules at professional golf tournaments, and simply got found out.
Mind you in recent times the qualifying rounds at a National Amateur Championship in South East Asia took close to seven hours (you read correctly) and regular junior stroke play events taking six hours is the norm.
So there is a serious problem that has to be corrected, not just in Asia but all around the world.
So what has caused this problem all around the globe? Is it the pace of play that golfers watch on TV caused by the amount of money on offer?
When Jack Nicklaus won his last British Open he won US $144,000.00 and this year the 11th place earned more than that?
Is it the golf ball that Jack Nicklaus is suggesting part of the problem?
He believes that the distance the modern golf ball travels is contributing to making normal golf courses obsolete with regards to effectively making them play shorter.
Or are the sports psychologists contributing to it by influencing golfers to "not hit a shot until they are fully ready and committed". So now we have players backing off their shots repeatably and taking forever to play.
I don't believe it's any one problem but a combination of all the above and more.
We hear that officials have to take action, but what about players themselves taking responsibility, as that is the only way things are going to change.
The game of golf has always prided itself on developing golfers that play by the rules, and maintaining the etiquette of the game for all golfers to enjoy.
Many veteran professionals once they get the first official warning and are on the clock speed up until the official moves on to time another competitor, and then they go back to playing as they call it "deliberately".
Colin Montgomery has suggested that as every group in a major has an official accompanying each flight that there should be a "shot clock" for each shot played by the competitors!
This is the same player that took nearly five minutes to hit a golf shot on the final hole of a US Open, and possibly caused Tom Lehman (who was playing behind him) to "dunk" his shot into the water and take a double bogey to lose!
It has to start from the top for this issue to rewind the clock so a round of golf takes 3 1/2 hours like it use to.
The starting point is the professional golf tours who have to take this seriously and encourage their members to set the standard. This as I have mentioned has to be self regulated for it to work.
The rest will follow, especially the junior golfers who are the next generation that will make five hour rounds a thing of the past.
Each year 3 million people around the world stop playing golf and the main culprit is slow play.
We owe it to them to change this slow play plague that is infiltrating the culture and driving people away from this great game instead of bringing them to it.
David Milne and Lawrie Montague - Pro Tour Golf College
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