Mental Golf Solutions


The Pace of Golf

Carmen Vasey • Pace of Play
The pace of play in golf is so important.

When I first took up golf, I found myself grappling with numerous challenges on the course, including navigating bunkers, water hazards, difficult lies, fast greens, yardages, and club selection. It was a lot to process, and I struggled to focus on anything beyond the technicalities of my swing.

That's why, when my husband first brought up the importance of the pace of golf, I was initially confused. Why did it matter how quickly I moved from shot to shot?

As a new golfer, I had no idea how important my golf pace was.


My husband, however, was quick to explain the value of maintaining a steady pace and keeping the game moving forward. He emphasized that standing around and waiting for him to complete his shot without being ready to take mine was a bad habit to develop.

Instead, he encouraged me to start thinking ahead and visualizing my next shot, planning out the club I would need to ensure a successful approach.

Of course, it was especially important for me to keep up the pace since I was learning on my husband's home course, where he and his friends all golfed. I didn't want to be the one slowing everyone down and causing a backup on the course! And to make matters even more nerve-wracking, we often went out early on weekday mornings when the course was busiest.

But I have to admit, I love a good challenge.

So what does pace mean to me and how has focusing on it helped me?


golfer walking on the course 


You may be asking yourself, "What's the big deal about golf pace?" Well, let me tell you, it's not just about having the correct swing or making sure the ball goes where you want it to go. And let's face it, matching golf outfits are nice, but that's not what it's all about (although, some days that's all that matters to us ladies!).

A good golf pace entails much more than just having enough snacks and drinks and checking who's playing behind you. It means getting to your ball quickly without getting in the flight path of another golfer's ball.

It means being ready to take your shot as soon as the other golfer finishes theirs, having already planned your next move and selected the right club. It also means keeping an eye on the others in your group and helping them locate their lost balls to keep the game flowing.

Learning to keep a good pace has had a profound impact on my golf game. It has taught me to remain focused and maintain a steady tempo, resulting in a more consistent swing. Plus, it has enabled me to guide new golfers to ensure we don't slow down the pace of play.

After all, the last thing we want is to have the ranger telling us we're holding people back! With a good golf pace, I no longer feel the pressure of playing in front of other groups of golfers.

What does a slow pace look like?


Listen up, golfers! It's time to face the music and admit that you're moving at a snail's pace if:

  • Your golf buddies have to keep reminding you that it's your turn to hit the ball.
  • You keep spotting the group behind you anxiously waiting for you to finish the hole, and there's no one in front of you delaying your progress.
  • You get sidetracked by nature's beauty or distracted by other players, leaving you clueless about which club to use when it's your turn to swing.
  • Your round drags on longer than the average bear.

Let's be real, nobody wants to be the slowpoke in the group, causing everyone behind you to lose their cool. So, let's pick up the pace, folks, and keep the game flowing!

How long should a round of golf last?


There are a number of factors that can affect how long it takes to play a round of golf. These include:

  • the size of your group (whether you're playing with a twosome, threesome, or a foursome),
  • the pace of the course, whether you're walking or riding a golf cart,
  • the type of course you're playing on (such as a par 72 or a 9-18 hole par-3 course), and
  • the skill level of the golfers in your group.

If it's just you and one other person playing an 18-hole par-72 course, you should be able to finish within 2 1/2 - 3 hours on average. However, if you're playing in a foursome, a round of 4-5 hours is pretty typical. Riding a golf cart can help speed things up, since you can get to your ball faster.

Personally, I love to walk the course, but it's just too hot here in Florida during the warmer months. The longest round of golf I've ever played was 5-6 hours on a super busy course where tee times were backed up on every single hole.

Talk about killing the tempo! At that point, you might as well crack open a cold one and enjoy socializing at every tee box.

If you're a new golfer, you might be intimidated by the thought of spending that much time on a golf course. But let me tell you, the experience is worth it.

The beautiful surroundings, nature, time with great friends, and the ability to forget about life's pressures and issues make those hours on the course absolutely precious. So don't let the time commitment scare you off - give it a try and see for yourself!


serene golf course view 


The balance between the social aspect of golf and keeping a good pace of play.


Golf is a social game, no doubt about it. But as with any activity that requires concentration and skill, there's a delicate balance between enjoying the social aspect and staying focused on the game to keep a good pace.

Think of it as multi-tasking on the golf course. You can chat, laugh, and have a great time with your friends, all while keeping an eye on the clock and moving along to your next shot. Trust me, this balance will do wonders for your confidence and enjoyment of the game.

By staying focused and keeping the game moving, you'll avoid the frustration of a slow pace and ensure that everyone in your group has a great time. So go ahead, and socialize to your heart's content, but always remember to keep the game moving along.


group of golfers walking


Playing golf can be a blast, but nothing kills the mood like holding up the group behind you. That's why I'm grateful I learned early on that keeping a good pace of play can relieve some of the pressure and make for a more enjoyable round. 

There's nothing worse than feeling the pressure of a group waiting behind you to tee off, am I right?  But when you're moving along at a good pace and keeping things flowing, it takes some of that stress off your shoulders.

When I see others waiting to tee off behind me, I remind myself that I'm doing my part to keep things moving along. And you know what? It works! I start to feel more relaxed and my shots improve. Plus, I feel good about practicing good golf etiquette by being mindful of others on the course.

Of course, everyone has their own pace-related strategies. What works for me may not work for you. That's why I'd love to hear your thoughts and tips on keeping up the pace during a round of golf. Let's share our ideas and make the game even more fun!


female golfer

Remember! Keep it moving.




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