Golf’s Slow Play Problem is Personal

The number one problem on golf courses today is slow play!

Golfers get annoyed with players who delay the game. An average 18-hole round of golf takes four hours and twenty minutes. Golfers say their rhythm is impeded when they must stand and wait for their turn. 

Slow play is due to many factors

  • Looking for lost balls.
  • Players take too many strokes on a hole.
  • Players take too much time to plan their shot.
  • Players who are not ready when it is their turn.
  • Poor management of the order of play.
  • Too much talking between shots.

What is your attitude about slow play?

Are you ready for a slowdown on the course? Or, do you become annoyed when it isn’t moving at the pace you like?

Playing “start and stop” golf becomes a mental problem when it affects your attitude. Your attitude about the situation will affect your emotions. Your attitude belief can cause annoyance in the same way as waiting in a slow-moving grocery line, or in stop-and-go traffic. 

What are the thoughts that are revolving inside your head when you have to stand and wait? In the grocery line are you judging the people in front of you who are taking up too much of “your time?” Do you tell yourself you lose your rhythm when you ust wait? Do you feel guilty that you are holding up the players in the group behind you?

If you think this way, you will become frustrated and try to make up for the slow play by playing faster. This will surely sabotage your personal rhythm and performance.

Americans are doers. 75% of our large urban population is made up of Type-A people. About half of the general population is Type-A.

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.

Fast Players

Under pressure such as slow play, fast players will speed up to make up for the delay. Their swings become fast and erratic causing mishits.

If you are a golfer who likes fast action, use the slow pace of play as a red flag signal to change your hurried pace. Practice slowing down by breathing deeply to relax, moving slower, and using the extra time to plan your shots more carefully. Decide that you will give every shot the same amount of time and attention. Use the extra time to consider all your options when you have a problem.

Slow Players

If you live your life in a relaxed manner, take your time, are deliberate and check thoroughly before you make a decision, you are behaving more like Jack Nicklaus or Annika Sorenstam. You are probably the “slow player” that the Type-A players are complaining about. As a slower player your personality requires being cautious and analytical. Under pressure slow players will slow down and become even more deliberate.

To be ready to hit when it is your turn, you need to develop a consistent pre-shot routine that you can count on. This will consistently program your mind and eliminate the need to overthink by checking and double-checking your strategy. Learn to enjoy your good shots, and not to internalize and dwell on missed shots.


Your golf game doesn’t reflect upon you as a person, but your attitude and behavior toward your golf game does! No human quality is good or bad except as it is used. Used properly it indicates a strength of character; improperly used it causes problems.

Play “in the zone” with Joan

            Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances 

If these golf tips are of value to you and you would like to improve your mental golf game, call Joan for a complimentary 15-minute consultation. She can be reached by phone at 828-707-5478, by email at or through the Positive Mental Imagery website or blog.

P.S. Feel free to pass this monthly PMI blog of mental golf keys to any friends you may have. They may wish to know about it, and to subscribe at — which, as you know, costs nothing. Send it on to a friend!

To train your brain to play focused golf for accessing your peak performances, listen to Positive Mental Imagery self-empowering guided imagery self-hypnosis CDs/MP3s in the privacy of your own home. Eight different empowerment audios are available at



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