Mostly, the discussion has centred on reducing the amount of time required to complete a round, reviewing the rules and relaxing the standards required to walk onto the course and play the game.
After a bottle or two of Sauvignon Blanc and a bag of chipsticks, I have come up with four proposals, which I will try to explain over the next four blog posts.
The first proposal involves simple changes to the way the game is currently played, in order to cut the time requirement for golfers wanting to play an 18-hole round.
The others are variations on the game itself. I’d be interested to hear your comments on any or all of them and I’d like to hear any ideas of your own.
Anyway, here are my proposed changes to the way the game is currently played. Welcome to the Magnificent Seven!
- No honours on the tee. The first person ready to play gets the hole underway. I reckon this will save around 30 seconds a hole – or nine minutes a round.
- Make it compulsory to have a second ball in your pocket. If you’ve hit one out of bounds or if you need to play a provisional, you can then drop one and play it straightaway rather than having to wander over to wherever you left your bag and rooting around for another ball. I think this will save a couple of minutes over a round.
- Putt out when you’re on the green, as long as you’re not interfering with anyone else’s line by doing so. Estimated saving – a minute a hole or 18 minutes a round.
- Once you have putt out, don’t wait for everyone else to do so before retrieving your bag from the wrong side of the green. Go and get it, saving a couple of minutes a round.
- And if you’ve putt out and your bag is the right side of the green, then pick up the flag and be ready to replace it once everyone has finished the hole – again, saving a couple of minutes a round.
- Put your putter back in your bag when you’re at the next tee, not while standing at the previous green. The key should be to get away from the target area as quickly as possible – saving ten seconds a hole, or three minutes a round.
- The same goes for marking the scorecard – again, saving three minutes a round.
None of these are fundamental changes to the game of golf, although I will understand if die-hards have an issue with honours on the tee. Indeed, most are what we should be doing already.
However, I think if they were all adopted by everybody, we could be saving 30 to 40 minutes a round. And surely we’d all welcome that?