LPGA Stacy Lewis had to develop a strong mindset for slow play to win the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open August 17th. Lewis said, “the pace of play is dreadfully slow, and that doesn’t play into my favor. People I’m playing with are pretty slow.” She added, “You really kind of get out of rhythm and it’s hard to keep things going.” In 2019 Stacy also said, “I will never understand 5 hours and 50 minutes to play a round of golf! It’s not fun for us as players and can’t be fun to watch!”
In 1987 I watched the USGA Men’s Amateur Championship being played at Jupiter Hills, FL The men played in twosomes and the round took 5-1/2 hours. I waited on a par-3 for 20 minutes for the green to clear so the twosome could hit their shots, and then I left. Nothing has changed in the 33-year interim!
Professional golfers on average will play a hole in 10 minutes, and amateurs will play in 15 minutes. This adds up to an 18-hole round of golf taking anywhere from 3 to 4-1/2 hours.
Everyone knows who the slow players are. I remember playing in the USGA North-South Senior Women’s Amateur Championship where I was paired with a player so slow that even the women’s locker room attendant knew who she was. Yes, at the end of 9 holes we were warned that we were behind on our pace of play.
The PGA Tour also knows who the slow players are. At the start of the 2020 season, the Tour put together The Observation List of the slowest 20-25 players. These players are notified prior to a tournament that they must make every shot within 60 seconds. If they do not comply, they are put on the clock and then financially penalized.
The Type-C “Slow Player” Personality
Who is this “slow player” that frustrates other golfers?
The golfer who takes more than the allotted 40 seconds to hit their shot could have a Type C personality. This is a person who is very detail-oriented, interested in accuracy, is logical and totally prepared. They are very careful in their planning, resourceful and will look at all aspects of preparation for the shot. They require a lot of details and facts before they make a decision.
Accountants and lawyers have Type C personality traits that require patience, facts and accuracy. Although you may not appreciate this kind of meticulously slow golfer on the golf course, you will certainly appreciate their details, accuracy and preparation of your tax returns! They seek perfection!
Your peak performance is in large part determined by your personal management of your own behavior. The more you understand your own behavior patterns, the more you can adapt to the different situations that come up on the golf course. The less you understand the fewer options you have.
The Type-A Personality
Americans are doers. Seventy-five percent of our large urban population is made up of Type-A people. About half of the general population has Type-A tendencies.
Type-A people exhibit the following characteristics on the golf course:
• They are easily irritated by delays.
• They have a high degree of competitiveness.
• They have a low tolerance for frustration.
• They are in a hurry to finish the round.
• They get really annoyed at themselves when they mishit shots.
• They cannot relax without feeling guilty.
Golf requires that you change your impatient, intolerant, always-in-a-hurry behavior. While you can’t change your personality, you can learn to behave in a patient, tolerant and more easygoing manner as required by the USGA Etiquette and Rules of Golf.
- If you are a Type-A person, it is not enough to just learn how to relax. You must also change your thinking, behavior, and attitudes to avoid mental mistakes on the golf course.
- Under pressure such as slow play, fast players will speed up to make up for the delay. Their swings become fast and erratic. Slow players under pressure (like being told to speed up) will slow down and become even more deliberate.
- If you are a golfer who likes fast action, use the slow play as a red flag signal for you to change your hurried pace. Walk slower, breathe deeply to relax and use the extra time to plan your shots more carefully.
- Slow down your mind instead of letting it race into the future “what-if” scenarios. Type-As tend to think rapidly with two or three ideas going simultaneously. Don’t decide on a plan of action until you get to your ball.
- Most important is your attitude toward time and the sense of urgency. Decide that you will give every shot the same amount of time and attention making each one the most important shot/putt you will hit in that round.
- Changing your behavior begins in the mind. Improve your time management by planning to spend more than four hours on the course. Consider all your options when you have a problem. Smile at your missed shots instead of being in a hurry to correct them. It is impossible to be anxious and calm at the same time.
The number one problem on golf courses today is slow play! This 18-hole game that should take about four hours has slowed to a 5 1/2-hour weekend endurance test! When you are playing behind or with slow players, change your own attitude and behavior to enjoy your golf regardless of the pace of play.
Everyone can be included in four basic personality types. Everyone has some of each of the four basic styles, but you probably have more of one type than the others. When you understand your personality traits, you can then consider the strengths and weaknesses specific to your style and can then relate your behavior to your golf game. Under pressure your strengths could become your weaknesses because you will use the behavior that makes you feel most comfortable.
For further information about how your personality traits affect your golf performances, link on to www.pmi4.com, Archived Newsletters, January, February, March, April 2004, “Who Are You?” https://cutt.ly/lflXzYa
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“THE HEART OF GOLF, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances” explores and explains negative emotions such as fear and performance anxiety, the four Cs of mind blockage, the four progressive stages of learning the supreme intelligence of the heart, and the way to access the zone in competition. It is a player’s guide for developing your true inner self by returning to the joy and love of self instead of seeking praise and rewards from the outside world.
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