By Janie C. Farina
“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” ~ Einstein
Does life can feel like we are racing in the Daytona 500, where time feels like everything is happening all at once — job, family, friends, and golf — while staying on the track going the speed of light?
So, who has time for golf these days?
Unless we can pull over in the pit stop and watch the other cars fly by, finding golf time in our hectic lives can be a luxury, not a necessity, like filling a flat tire and changing the oil would be.
Time averages for golf, including the beer in the clubhouse after, can take up to half of our day. (Not including practice time during the week.)
Positioning our schedules to include the “fast track to golf” can take maneuvering, but it can be done with help from your head pro and golfing buddies:
Consider playing nine holes. Enlist your local head pro to promote a nine hole league for not only ladies, but working, busy, and physically challenged people.
When playing with golf buddies, try a scramble format off the tee, where both hit, pick the best shot, then continue only hitting from the best shot.
Alternate shot, or Scotch 2-Ball, is another time-trimming golf format, where both hit from the tee, pick the best shot, then alternate hitting for the entire round, or just until the next hole, where both drive the ball once again.
Play from 200, 150, or 100 yards in, depending on skill and time required to finish your round in record time. Tee the ball up from the desired yardage and play in from there.
“Winter Rules” can also speed up play by rolling the ball a scorecard length up to one club length from the ball’s original position up to the green. This gives the player an advantage from bad lies, penalty situations, and severe slopes.
Cross Country Golf, or playing holes not in a consecutive order, with permission from the Pro Shop, of course, can downsize an 18 hole round to 15, 9, 6, or 3 holes depending on course layout and time restrictions.
Bingo, Bango, Bongo is a fun way for golfing buddies to change things up. Scoring is first on the green, first in the cup, and closest to the pin on the approach to the green. No need to finish putting if a player has already holed out before others. Trim off the time by using this format from the forward tees for men, 150 yards or 100 yards in for novice players.
Match Play vs. Stroke Play, where twosomes play each other hole-by-hole, while applying their handicap. This game can become a shorter version of a round, and can narrow the differences of skill levels of players playing together. Strokes are awarded on each hole of the players, and the goal is to play under the allotted strokes to beat the opponent by net score or handicap score vs. gross score.
Booking afternoon or twilight tee times also promise smooth sailing down the golfing freeway.
Pay attention! Sounds like a no brainer, but a player should be ready to hit when it’s her turn, place her bag or golf cart out of the way and read the green while walking on the way to the ball and back from the cart position.
Note that these time saving golf shortcuts cannot be counted towards your USGA handicap unless it’s a nine-hole round, or “winter rules” approved.
Janie C. Farina is a 26-year teaching professional recently who relocated to the St. Johns area. She is now available for golf instruction at two local golf courses. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or questions.