Call off the Call Up!

The process of calling up the group behind you on a par 3 should be forgotten. At some clubs there’s a sign telling you its mandatory while at others its good manners. I get the feeling some golfers love it and often give the signal before others have even marked their ball but does it really do anything to help speed up the game?

If one has a good hard think about it, the answer is no. It may appear like groups are moving faster, especially on the call up hole in question but it isn’t true. It seems as though you don’t have to wait as long on the tee to play your shot but all it does is “delay the delay” to the time you wait when its your turn to call the group behind or (if you decide not to call up the next group) the next tee.

So if it doesn’t speed up the game nor slow the game down one might be inclined to ask “so what’s the big deal in keeping it?”. There is some fun in watching players hit towards a par 3 green I’ll concede that, but the confusion it causes far outweighs the momentary joy. I’ve seen players come close to being hit as they lose sight of the ball and others not yet on the green before someone else decides the following group should begin to hit up. I was told of some players in a competition recently calling through the group behind. One player decided that the safest place to stand was right next to the hole. Usually not a bad idea but on this occasion he lost sight of the ball, the ball careered into the putter he was leaning against on the full and ricocheted towards the lake and stopped just short of it at the bottom of the hill.

The call-up hole does have good intentions as there’s nothing worse than a long round of golf, especially when playing badly but it doesn’t speed up the game and a course marshal will achieve much, much more.

2 thoughts on “Call off the Call Up!

  • I know this is an old post, but I thought I should play the devil’s advocate here.
    The time savings from calling up arise from the smoothing of the bottleneck. Yes, there is still a wait on the next hole but it is a shorter wait than there would of been without the call up.

    This article has some simple examples of the effects of calling up:

    The article suggest that whilst calling up slows down the speed of play for early groups, it speeds up play for later groups and allows more golfers to play the course in a given day

  • Hey thanks so much. I’ll look into that. I suppose it must be a little like the models I’ve seen of car accidents on major roads. Even once the accident has been swept away, the bottleneck persists for hours afterwards.


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