What a great idea. The USGA took an iconic line (‘While we’re young’) from one of the great, goofball sports movies of all time (‘Caddyshack’), had a bunch of well-known golfers recite the line during a typical round played by amateur golfers and built a campaign around it to speed up play in golf. Like I said, great idea. The only problem is that it will never work.
See, the problem isn’t that golf, per se, is a slow game (although there are circumstances that can slow play down such as lost balls, trying to find the cart girl, etc.), but, that some people who play golf are inherently slow people. They are usually slow walking, deliberate individuals who have, for the most part, no idea that they are slow. They are playing at a pace that perfectly replicates the pace of their everyday lives. In fact, these people can often be heard telling faster players to ‘slow down, this isn’t a race’. Slow play is comfortable for them and they neither feel like they are slow or are inclined even in the slightest to speed up their pace.
Stick just one of these slow walkers anywhere in a tournament or even a casual round at the local muni and the entire course slows down to a snail’s pace.
So what is the answer? Science! Yes, science! Just recently, I read an interesting article in the newspaper about walking speed and longevity. In a study at the University of Pittsburgh, researchers found that women on their 75th birthday who were considered fast walkers had a 90% chance of living to 85 years old, while fast walking men had a 85% chance of seeing 85. For slow walkers, the percentages dropped from 25% of women to 20% of men. If anything can snap the amblers and strollers out of their doldrums, I think this kind of info should do the trick.
So, if the USGA really wanted to speed up play, they may want to change their slogan from ‘While we’re young’ to ‘While we’re still alive’. Hey, it works for me.