By Brendon Elliott, PGA
There has been a great deal of talk on pace of play of late. The reality is that this is by no means a new issue. In fact, there are stories of slow play issues going back to the 1950s and earlier. While there’s no clear answer to this very complex problem, there are many fronts to tackle the existing problems. For the sake of this particular article, I want to explore education, and more specifically the education of new youth golfers.
I have long been an advocate of developing golf education programs for beginning juniors that include far than golf swing mechanics. It is our duty as golf professionals to teach new golfers, regardless of age, of the nuances of the game. The education process for juniors should be made as simple as possible. Here are a few starters:
- Defining “golf course;”
- Defining “golf clubs” and the different variations (drivers, irons, wedges, putters, etc.);
- Labeling the parts of a course and a club;
- How to behave on a golf course;
- The Rules of Golf;
- Courtesy on the course;
- What is expected of golfers while playing;
- Care of the course;
- And your pace as you play the game.
Many golf professionals, despite the best of intentions, generally focus on the mechanical aspects of golf when introducing youth to the game. However, many times, the aforementioned aspects tend to be the things that cause potential issues once kids move to playing on the course – particularly pace of play.
Through proper education, slow play can be nipped in the bud at the very start of one’s journey with golf. Reversely, you can be contributing to slow play issues if you’re not including it within your early education programs.
Kids know what they know. If you teach them that pace of play is important, they won’t be slow players (most likely). It’s a pretty simple idea, but one that tends to be overlooked. Remember to do your part to combat the issue of slow play. As keepers of the game, this absolutely falls on us as PGA Professionals.