California Golf

California Golf + Travel November 2017

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10 NOV/DEC 2017 O bservers are applauding the European Tour's renaming the 2018 Austrian Open as the Shot Clock Masters. Putting aside a potential piracy issue around borrowing the Masters tournament's name, the whole idea of professionals being on a shot clock is intriguing. Unfortunately it doesn't address the real world problem of slow play. By way of background, on every tour and at every amateur tournament, there are strong pace of play policy statements but, at least on the PGA Tour, penalties are almost unknown. The most recent was a one-stroke penalty handed out to Brian Campbell and Miguel Angel Carballo during the 2017 Zurich Classic, but the previous penalized infraction was in 1995. The European Tour, it seems, is going to be more aggressive in changing the ways of snail's pace players and willing to try something new. At their GolfSixes team event in May (an innovative format of team six-hole matches), a shot clock was tested and most players accepted it enthusiastically. During the Shot Clock Masters, an official will accompany each group and time players. Fifty seconds will be allowed for the player whose turn it is to hit first, while others in the group will have 40 seconds. If a player takes longer he will get a red card, just like in soccer, and more significantly, a one-stroke penalty. In case of real trouble, each player will get two "time outs" giving him double the time. It remains to be seen what will happen in an instance as when Jordan Spieth during the final round of the Open took 26 minutes for his second shot on the thirteenth hole from Royal Birkdale's driving range. The Shot Clock Masters will be interesting if for no other reason than to see what will be the ruling if one of the big name stars goes over the allowable time deciding on whether it's a 2-iron or 3-iron from the rough around a tree over water to a shallow green. But let's face it, some tour guys are fast and some are slow. Players and officials know who they are. You and I know the real problem is not with the professionals, nor even elite amateurs, it's that group of guys ahead of you Saturday morning. There has been lots of research done and opinion voiced about pace of play ranging from less skilled players taking shot after shot without getting closer to the pin, to the difficulty of course set up, not to mention the distance between a green and the next tee. Some opinions are even based on a combination of ignorance and prejudice and usually have to do with ladies on the course. Or, my personal favorite perfectly illustrating the idiocy of some course managements, seven minutes between tee times. There are a couple courses in my area that do this and I won't play there. These and other supposed reasons all miss the real cause of slow play, a lack of respect for others. If offending players respected those being tortured back in the fairway they would simply pick up and move ahead a hole or two. It's not a privilege to watch the complete circling of every putt twice or going to the bag for multiple club changes. The attitude demonstrated has nothing to do with, "I paid my money and I'm going to play the whole course," and everything to do with the deep-seated knowledge they deserve to play at any pace because they are more important than the guys leaning on their drivers back on the tee. Unfortunately, there probably isn't any way to get the message across to the worst offenders -- not even the "While We're Young" PSAs by Clint Eastwood and Arnold Palmer. Too bad, because though the course is not the only situation where the "me-only" attitude can be seen, as far as golf is concerned, it is surely killing the game slowly. Ed Travis Associate Editor California Golf+Travel KILLING THE GAME … SLOWLY E D I T O R ' S N O T E California Golf + Travel Publisher Eric Woods Editor Mark Spinn Art Director Long Tran Associate Editors Mike Stubbs, Suzy Evans, Ed Travis Senior Writers Jim Dover, Tom LaMarre, Feisal Patel Contributors Ian Leggatt, Ed Vyeda, Leonard Finkel, Tom Stankowski, Ken Lane, Chris Lynch, Ryan Noll Photographers Michael Weinstein, Tom Neas, Mark Susson Travel Editor Larry Feldman Equipment Editor Scott Kramer, Ed Travis Wine + Golf John Finney, Dan Weldy Contributing Instructors Eric Lohman, Kris Moe, Perry Parker, Ted Norby, Scott Heyn, John Ortega, John Burckle Accounting Jep Pickett California Golf + Travel is published by Golf Lab Media LLC 1224 Village Way, Ste. D, Santa Ana CA 92705 Phone: (714) 542-4653 website: California Golf + Travel is published bimonthly and distributed to California golf courses, country clubs, practice facilities, golf retailers, hotels, and resorts Entire contents of this publication is copyrighted Golf Lab Media LLC 2015, all rights reserved and may not be reproduced in any manner in whole or in part without the written permission from the publisher. For subscriptions, go to and sign up online or send your name, address, phone number, and $20 to Golf Lab Media at the Above address. For advertising opportunities and editorial information: Please call (714) 542-4653 or email to

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