With slow play unarguably the biggest blight on the game of golf, pros and amateurs were set against the clock.
A recent study by Peter Kostis at Golf.com timed a sample of pro golfers in a recent PGA Tour event to determine how long they took to play a shot. They also timed a whole bunch of amateur golfers at a local golf course and did the same thing. The results are fascinating.
The somewhat short and not particularly random study, timed every shot 45 professional golfers took over nine holes during the second round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. They picked some golfers at random but also some golfers who are known to be either a slow or fast golfers.
The stop-clock started as soon as they were at their golf ball and it was their turn to hit, excluding tap-in putts.
Who are the slow pros?
Well some Aussies on the PGA Tour look mighty slow. Surprisingly, the PGA Tour has a 45-second time limit to play shots (rarely enforced) and Nick O’Hern and John Senden are culprits to exceed this around 50% of the time. Nick O’Hern in fact, topped the “most time per shot” list, spending on average 55 seconds to play a golf shot.
Across all the pros timed they took an average of 25.5 seconds to play a golf shot. The player who took the shortest time per shot: Rickie Fowler, 16 seconds.
And the amateurs?
The study also looked at 91 amateur players on the 1st and 18th holes at a North Carolina University golf course and they took an average of 19.0 seconds to play a golf shot.
One of the most interesting statistics to come out the study was that the time taken to play a golf shot for amateurs decreases dramatically was each successive shot. Obviously losing focus with frustration creeping in.
For the professionals, the time taken to play a shot is highest when there is a birdie opportunity.
What can we learn?
Well firstly, don’t mimic Nick O’Hern’s pre-shot routine. It is very deliberate and methodical but frustratingly slow. You won’t win friends with this sort of golf game.
Secondly, keep in mind the stat about amateurs spending less time with each successive golf shot. This should more consistent in your own game. Because as we all know, a putt for bogey costs the same as a putt for birdie; one.
Head to Golf.com for the full story.